Traveling is always a chore when you carry things like an iPad, makeup, headphones… Well you get the point.
Traveling with a service dog changes everything. If my partner in crime is going with me, it’s important to have some essentials for the road. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a few hours away from home or we’re traveling for a week. Being prepared is key… And traveling in style is even better.
With Graham, I have a checklist of items that I always keep with me, rain or shine, no matter the occasion.
The checklist :
- Rabies papers
It’s always important to carry the right papers and rabies papers tend to be the most important. I have multiple copies, digital as well as printed and they’re easy to carry.
- Collapsible water dish
Sometimes getting water for my pup is complicated and after sharing liquid out of a drinking cup is never easy. The collapsible dishes are wonderful and I use a carribiner to attach it to the outside of his traveling bag so that nothing gets damp.
- Bully sticks and an antler
Graham loves to chew on things and having something like a bully stick or one of his antlers is fantastic for when I’m sitting for a long time (such as at an event or eating dinner at a restaurant)
- A favorite, *quiet*, toy
This is more useful for longer trips when I may be spending time in a hotel. Having something from home that smells familiar and can be played with is great after a long day or when we’re getting settled for an evening. Graham has a bone plushie that looks similar to a toy he had as a puppy and it’s definitely one of his favorites!
- Potty bags, treats, and more potty bags
Simply put… You can never have enough!
- Musher’s Secret and Ruffwear Dog Booties
Cement, salt, cold, and hot surfaces are never great for a dog’s paws and for a service dog who is on these surfaces on a daily basis, protection is key. If your bare feet hurt on a surface, a dog’s paws can hurt just as much. The Musher’s Secret is fantastic because it creates a protective layer, but I use it mainly in the winter months, when dangerous chemicals are constantly present. The booties are great for year round use and I love that they have a mesh top so that his paws can still breathe, even when it’s hot out. I highly recommend both products!
- A water-wicking blanket
This is pretty self explanatory… But it is also great for those surfaces that could be cold, hot, or possibly dirty. Teaching Graham a “place” command ensures that he knows it’s his spot to lay on and stay for however long necessary.
- A mini first aid kit
While I have a box of first aid supplies in my car, I don’t always have access to said car. I keep some essentials neatly tucked away in Graham’s bag (such as Gold Bond powder, vet wrap, and Benadryl) so that if I need anything, I don’t have a panic attack. It’s also good to keep your vet’s phone number and the numbers of possible animal hospitals, if you’re traveling, on hand if you have an emergency.
So… How do I carry all of these items? L.L. Bean makes an amazing traveling bag, in multiple sizes, that work absolutely perfectly. They are suited to the elements, have a non-slip bottom and a fantastic strap that doesn’t dig into your neck when you walk. If you buy new, you can even get your own embroidery done on it for that extra touch of personalization.
To save money, I purchased Graham’s bag from an Outlet and covered the old embroidery with a Service Dog patch that I ordered from Etsy.
Whether you are traveling with an assistance animal, a dog you’re competing with or just your best friend, these bags are the best!
Graham and I want to know what your travel essentials are! Comment below and perhaps we’ll add a few more items to our list.