When heading out on a day trip or taking your dog on holiday by car, there are a wide range of products to smooth the journey. Here is our selection of some of the best…
Taking your dog on holiday is one of the most rewarding things you can do. He’ll return the favour by keeping you active – on all those lovely long walks – and thank you for not having him locked in a kennel most of the day. That said, taking your dog on holiday is also a bit like travelling with a baby – he has specific needs, so it pays to be prepared.
Try to get everything in place a few weeks before you head off on your travels. There’s nothing quite so annoying as discovering you’ve paid over the odds as a result of last-minute panic buying. And if you’re planning a holiday next summer, pick up a few bargains in the end-of-season sales this year.
Here are some suggestions to add to your ‘travelling with dog’ kit.
Before you go
Stores and shops in popular holiday destinations tend to put a premium on almost everything they sell, including everyday items. So, don’t forget to pack pooch’s favourite toy, or order him one you know he’ll love. Some of the dog toys we love can be found here.
You will also need a healthy supply of poo bags, both for refreshment breaks en route and the duration of your holiday. We prefer to buy in bulk, such as those by Scot-Petshop (£12.45 for 500) or Green N Pack ($9.99 for 200).
Dog food and treats are another necessity you might like to consider buying before you go, especially if your dog’s a fussy eater or has a special diet. The range of food available at your destination may not cater to those needs.
And how does your dog fare on long car journeys? If he doesn’t enjoy the ride, consider giving him a calming aid. Both Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com offer a wide range of dog calming aids. They come in a variety of forms, from biscuits and tablets, to gels, drops and sprays.
On the road
Make your car as dog friendly as you can. There are numerous items designed specifically for travelling with dogs by car, but it only takes a few to make your car safer and friendlier towards your loyal companion.
Top of your list should be a means of restraining or containing pooch, such as a travel crate, a car harness or a dog guard. The range on offer is mind-bogglingly huge, so we’ve shortlisted a few below.
Roma doesn’t need to travel in a crate, as she has a large, comfortable boot all to herself. But if she did, we’d opt for the soft-shell crate variety, such as the Sof-Krate ($88.88) by NozToNoz or Heritage’s dog crate (£27.95). Both are available in a range of sizes for small to large dogs.
A crate is ideal for dogs that ride in the boot, but backseat riders will need a dog car harness. Again, dog owners are spoilt for choice, but we like the RAC car harness (£10) and Solvit’s pet safety harness ($13.46), both of which allow freedom of movement while providing adequate restraint. And while you’re providing protection for your dog, it’s as good a time as any to think about protecting your car seats from muddy paws. Kurgo’s bench seat cover ($29.99) and Me and My Pet’s car rear seat protector (£11.95) offer just the kind of all-over protection you should be looking for.
When your dog sustains an injury you can’t deal with yourself, a trip to the vet is the only solution. But certain injuries, such as nicks, scrapes and stings can be tackled using a dog first aid kit and it’s always a good idea to have one in your car. The pet first aid kits by Vigilant Trails ($29.99) and Warwick (£12.99) are more than adequate for most situations.
Finally, it’s important to keep pooch hydrated while you’re on the move, and a collapsible dog bowl is one way to do that. Lightweight and fold down, they can be stuffed in a side pocket when not in use. Kyjen’s Outward Hound travel dog bowl ($3.99/£5.99) gets our vote. We carry one with us on short day trips, two if we’re going further afield and expect to have to feed Roma while we’re away.
At the beach, resort
Of course, many of the items mentioned above will also have their uses when you reach your destination.
A cooler mat is a great way to help your dog chill out on hot days. The Green Pet Shop’s self-cooling pet pad ($25.51) and Rosewood’s Chillax cool pad (£7.77) are both pressure activated and recharge as your dog moves around on them. Most dogs love their walks, but on hot days overheating can be a problem, which is when a cooler vest can come in handy. Ruffwear’s Swamp cooler jacket achieves cooling through evaporation and heat reflection, and the size range, XXS–XL, covers most dogs. The Swamp cooler jacket is available from Amazon.com ($54.95) and Amazon.co.uk (£56.48).
Shade is often difficult to find or nonexistent when you’re at the beach, so it’s a good idea to take your own. A dog beach tent is lightweight, and easy to carry and set up. The outdoor pop-up dog tent ($27.99) and Trixie’s dog beach shelter (£21.99) have many similar features, including coverable mesh inserts, a waterproof groundsheet and a practical carry bag.
Finally, don’t forget the paperwork…
Whether you’re going abroad or holidaying in your home country, make sure you take your dog’s health records. If travelling abroad, don’t forget his passport – in the same way you never forget your own, right?
It should go without saying, but, in that age-old tradition, we’re going to say it anyway. Make sure your dog has been microchipped, add the emergency call centre number to your contacts in case he’s lost, and if you’re planning to travel abroad make sure your dog’s jabs are up to date.