Summer is almost over, leaving you with only a few weeks to pack up the car and get in that hiking vacation or trip to the shore. Of course as all of us know, trips are even better when your four-legged friend comes along. Your overnight bag or suitcase is stuffed but what does your dog need? Here are our top tips to make the journey as much fun as the destination for both you and your dog.

The Essentials

Whether it’s a quick trip or a week long excursion, there are a few items your dog absolutely must have to be safe and comfortable while in the car or exploring.

Yellow_Dog_DesignsBring a leash and collar with their ID and rabies tags secured to it. If you’re dog is a difficult walker, make sure to bring a harness as well.

To satisfy a growling tummy, you’ll also want to pack enough food for your stay and fresh water along with bowls for both. There are some great, easy to pack, collapsible or waterproof fabric options available.

Make copies of your vaccine records, especially rabies, to keep in your glove box – just in case. (It’s also not a bad idea, if you’re going to be far away from your home turf, to find out if there is an emergency vet in the area so if something terrible happens to your pup, you’ll know right where to go.) Don’t forget! If your dog has any medical conditions, pack any medication your dog may need for the trip and a little extra incase you’re delayed.

Tuck away a few cleaning supplies. Car sickness and muddy paws are no joke! A multi purpose spray, fabric cleaner and lots (and lots!) of paper towels will come in handy. And don’t forget to pack plenty of plastic bags so you can pick up after your pooch for when nature calls.

ChickletsYou will likely want to your dog’s favorite toy or blanket in your pack as well. It can help keep her occupied in the back seat and make her feel comfortable if you will be staying someone she is unfamiliar with.

The Luxuries

There are a few items we’d like to suggest that aren’t strictly required to have a great trip, but you’ll appreciate having along.

A foldable crate is an excellent accessory to have handy. If can be used in the car if your impatient pup is causing a distraction for the driver and is an especially helpful tool if you are staying in a dog-friendly hotel. If you’d prefer to travel light, a dog seatbelt can also be used to control the car capers as well. Just dogs carries the Bergan Auto Harness in sizes that can accommodate dogs from 10 to 150 pounds, so regardless of size – we’ve got you covered.

Dirt_bagSeat covers and car are a great way to contain your dog in the back seat and protect your upholstery from dampness and dirt. They hang from the headrests of the front and back seats, kind of like a hammock, and make it nice and cozy for your pup and reduces the number of trips you’ll need to take to the car wash to use the vacuum! We find ours to be especially useful for trips to the beach – the sand shakes off in the driveway and not on the seats!

A dedicated doggy backpack is a fantastic addition to your travel arsenal. These tough packs, made to comfortably fit your active dog, with allow her to carry her own water, bowls, food and other accessories (within reason – don’t overload!) on trails and trips. The best part is you can keep it packed with your dog day trip gear so you’re prepared when ever the travel bug bites!

As you em-bark on your adventures, we hope these tips help you prepare you for a safe, fun and carefree experience!