Dog Travel Essentials (Printable Checklist) for A Pet Friendly Vacation

I travel a lot with my dogs. So much that I’ve been able to refine my list of dog travel essentials over time and for different scenarios.

To make taking a vacation with my dogs easier, and to make sure I don’t forget anything, I created this pet travel checklist for when I stay in a roofed accommodation like Airbnb or hotel (we also camp, road trip, backpack, and overland and I’ll be working on lists for those two).

This list will work whether you are packing for a weekend trip with your dog or will be gone for several weeks at a time.

What will vary most is how much of everything you bring.

What Are My Dog Travel Essentials?

When I think of my must-haves for traveling with a dog I, or course, think of essentials like food, treats, medications, supplements, collar, leash, etc.

But to me, “essentials” go way beyond that.

Things that will help take care of little messes, on my dogs or on the floor, are also essential.

It’s also very important to me that my dogs be comfortable and the hotel stay feels a bit like a second home to them so they stay relaxed and happy.

What to Put in a Dog Travel Bag

I organized my packing list into categories.

Food and medication goes into a locking bin so the dogs can’t accidentally gorge on food or eat medication that will make them sick.

I put the dog’s eating kit – bowls, slop mat, etc – into a tote bag.

Keeping your dog travel essentials in a bag is not possible for some of the bigger items but storing them in the same area of the house will help you pack quicker when it’s time to go.

The cleaning supplies and most of what is on the rest of the checklist goes inside a dog travel bag.

Exceptions are big, bulky items.

For example, the portable dog crate, if I bring it, just gets shoved somewhere in my car.

The dog blankets, crate, and crate pad/bed don’t make it inside a bag either.

But You have So Much on Your List. I Don’t Have That Much Room to Bring it All!

Yes, my checklist has a lot of stuff on it. My purpose was to include absolutely everything I bring.

Also, I’m a dog gear fanatic so we have a lot of stuff for a multitude of scenarios.

My primary mode of travel with my dogs is via vehicle. Specifically, my SUV.

I fully understand that this affords me the luxury of bringing pretty much anything I would need or want for my dogs.

Depending on your mode of travel, you may not be able to bring everything you would like to.

If I was flying with my dog, I would have to narrow this list down. A lot!

Cross things off the checklist that you opt not to bring, at least not on the current trip, after you print it out.

My Favorite Dog Travel Essentials

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For the most part, I mentioned generic items on the checklist.

However, because I travel with my dogs so much, I love testing out the latest and greatest products, and I have really high standards, people are often interested in what we use ourselves.

So here are some of the key products we bring with us when we travel and stay in hotels, Airbnbs, vacation cabins, or other accommodations with a roof over our head.

I grouped them as they appear on the checklist below.

I didn’t include every item here because either we don’t have any favorites or we have a lot we switch between.

Dog Food/Treats/Medication

Try to stick to the same food and treats you feed at home so your dog doesn’t get an upset tummy. Travel can already be stressful enough.

Dog Medical Needs

  • Dog Nail Clippers – These dog nail clippers from Millers Forge were recommended to me from a veterinarian.
  • Protecting paw balm – Our go-to for years has been Musher’s Secret Paw Wax. I’ve recently been experimenting with Tuff-Foot because it’s been highly recommended to me.
  • Dog Friendly Bug Repellant – If I want something totally natural knowing it won’t be as effective when the bugs are super bad, I use Wondercide Flea & Tick Spray. If I need to bring out the heavy stuff, I use Natrapel Insect Repellent Spray (note: the main ingredient – picaridin – is not approved by the FDA by use on dogs but studies have indicated it’s pretty safe).

Dog Cleaning/Cleanup Supplies

  • Air Freshener Spray – I don’t know how something that smells faintly of Play-Doh can get all of the stink out of the air but I think Pure Ayre Odor Eliminator is pretty amazing.

Having cleaning supplies on hand for your hotel stay – the same favorites you know will work – can help give you peace of mind you can handle any accidents.

Dog Travel Essentials

The checklist of dog travel essentials I created is specifically for hotel-type stays.

But, honestly, the list is mostly the same whether we are staying in a roofed accommodation, camping in a tent, or going on a road trip.

Pet Travel Checklist

Below is my list of must-haves when traveling with a dog.

Click on either of the pages to access a high-resolution, larger version you can print.


Final Thoughts

While some dog travel essentials will vary by activity and where you are staying, the majority of the gear and supplies list stays the same.

Referencing a checklist as you pack for each dog-friendly trip or vacation will help ensure you don’t forget something important.

If you are staying in a hotel, you are likely by a store where you can purchase anything you forgot, or discover that you need, but it’s more budget friendly to not buy duplicates of everything.

If you’re staying in a cabin or Airbnb it’s possible that you are in a more remote location and running down to the store, or finding what you need there, will be challenging.

If you are camping, there will be some things on this list you don’t need.

For example, the carpet cleaner and air freshener. You can cross those things off the checklist.

If you’re flying, you certainly won’t have room in your luggage, or carry on bag, to bring even a fraction of these things with you.

You can use this list as a reference though and just circle the things you want to bring depending on available space and destination type.

Hopefully you find this printable dog travel essentials checklist helpful.

Dog travel essentials for staying in a hotel with your dog

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


  1. This may be a goofy question, but for some of your smaller items, do you pack it all in a backpack or suitcase, or do you have a sort of doggy diaper bag? Do you use the packing cube bags to help organize the stuff you had listed by category?

    1. Hi Tina. Sorry it took me so long to reply. I’ve been super busy. As always! Ha, ha. I have a duffel bag that is made for dog (stuff) by Ruffwear that I put it all in. It’s great because there are a lot of small pockets inside. Besides using those pockets, I just throw it all in there though.

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