James Aitchison, Rebecca Norris and Sarah Zorn | Reviewed
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With summer just around the corner, folks are looking forward to traveling again. But after spending so many months at home during the pandemic, the idea of leaving a beloved pup behind may be simply unacceptable. Furthermore, if this is your first time traveling with your dog, it’s best to be prepared and informed on the best ways to keep your pet comfortable and safe during a potentially stressful travel experience.
Before traveling with your dog by train, plane, or automobile, you may want to pick up a few products that can make the process smoother, from a durable carrier and ultra-absorbent pee pads to a sturdy harness and a water-resistant bags to carry all the gear. Here are 15 products available on Amazon that make traveling with dogs easier.
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1. Our favorite pet carrier
Our testers loved the Sleepypod Air. Designed with aircrafts in mind, this carrier was both compressible for easy under-seat storage and expandable for extra paw space. The top and side are polyester mesh, allowing easy entry and excellent air circulation. The plush padding on the inside is comfortable and easy to clean—there’s no better pet carrier on the market.
2. A versatile and feature-packed harness
When traveling with a dog, even a well-trained one, it’s best not to take any chances and make sure they wear a harness and a leash. By putting a pup in a harness (rather than just a collar), you’ll not only have a better grip on your fur baby, but you’ll also keep their neck safe.
The Dogline Unimax Multi-Purpose Vest is the best option we have tested and offers a streamlined happy medium between an all-enveloping shell and a tangle of straps. The vest-shaped harness is breathable, water-resistant neoprene (which scores extra credit for being washing machine safe), and is padded for comfort with a removable breastplate.
3. An extremely cozy blanket or two
If you like to travel in comfort, assume that your pup does as well. One of the easiest ways to make travel comfortable for your pet is to line their carrier with the softest blanket imaginable. While plenty of soft blankets exist, this pet-friendly sherpa-style one is particularly popular with dog owners. The Amazon best-seller has more than 22,000 reviewers and is available in five sizes and six colors.
4. An elevated travel bowl for on-the-go feeding
We’re all accustomed to giving up some creature comforts when we travel. But being able to drink in a non-hunched-over position is critical for the well-being of many dogs, especially when they’re potentially dehydrated. That’s why we flipped over the clever design of the Dexas, which features not just a collapsible bowl, but extendable legs. The super-light unit takes up just 1.5 inches of space when tucked away. Fully expanded, it offers a 12-ounce capacity bowl and a set of sturdy legs that allow it to stand about 5 inches off the ground.
5. A car harness for traveling with your pup
While your dog might love sticking their head out the window or roaming around the car while you drive, it isn’t exactly the safest option. That’s why so many pooch parents like using this strong harness. With steel buckles and five adjustment points, it clips easily and securely onto your car seat.
6. A robust car seat cover for muddy mutts
On car rides, if your dog’s special skills are getting as dirty and wet as possible, you will appreciate the Active Pets Car Seat Cover, which will help protect your vehicle seats from dirt, hair, and scratches. The hammock is designed to fit into the back seat of most cars, and it’s quick and easy to install.
7. A pop-up playpen for some much needed outdoor time
If you’re planning on taking your dog along for a long road trip, a pop-up playpen is an ideal way to give your pooch some outdoor time during rest stops. The pen provides a place where your pet can hang out without any risks. The EliteField pen features a water-resistant floor that can be zipped out and washed should your pet have an accident during pen time.
8. A pack of pee pads for unfortunate accidents
Accidents are more likely to happen in unfamiliar places. Still, if you bring pee pads along for the ride—especially if you already use them at home—your pup will be more likely to go in the designated area instead of anywhere they please. Will potty pads ensure that your pup never goes to the bathroom in the wrong place? No, but you’re at least prepared to prevent it by bringing some along.
9. A pack of handy dog wipes for spot cleaning
If your pet gets messy, your options for clean-up are limited while traveling. These premoistened dog wipes from Nature’s Miracle have a subtle fresh scent and claim to contain zero irritating ingredients, making them a must in your pet’s travel bag and at home.
10. A bag of delicious treats
It’s common for puppies (and dogs) to get uneasy while traveling. After all, they may not understand where they’re going or why they are in a car (or another mode of travel) in the first place. Because of this, make sure to have their favorite dog treats stocked and ready to go in your car and their travel bag.
11. A bottle of stain and odor eliminator
If you’re traveling by car or train, you have fewer restrictions on liquids you can bring along. And thank goodness because you’ll be grateful to have a bottle of stain and odor remover when traveling with a dog. After all, if your pup isn’t fully potty trained or if they simply lose their wits in unfamiliar places, it helps to have a plan ready to go. One spritz of this stain and odor eliminator helps ensure that carpets and upholstery are left in their original glory.
12. A leash that attaches to your waist to keep your hands free
You can keep your hands free and your dog secure with this unique leash, which attaches to your waist. The detachable leash has shock-absorbing bungee cord sections and two handles in case you want to keep your pet closer in a crowded airport or train station. It features reflective stitching for nighttime safety, and it’s the perfect solution for traveling or any other activity when you don’t want your hands tied up.
13. This shirt that keeps your dog calm
If your dog is particularly anxious, they might benefit from the popular Thundershirt. The machine-washable shirt is praised for its effectiveness in easing dogs’ anxiety by providing gentle pressure. Pet owners also say it can be used for other stress-inducing situations like travel or trips to the vet.
14. A dog carrier backpack for pint-sized pooches
If you’re traveling with a small dog, a good-quality backpack is an excellent option if you want to free up your hands for luggage. The Texsens Bubble Backpack is a sleek, ultra-modern backpack approved for travel by most major airlines. What we like most about the Texsens Bubble Backpack is its round mesh window that can easily be swapped or an included plastic bubble in cold or rainy weather. Large, zippered openings run the length of both sides, making for easy access for your pooch, and padded straps ensure comfort for the wearer.
One important thing to note about this dog carrier backpack is that pets are intended to sit rather than lay down due to its size. The Texsens Bubble Backpack comes in various colors, making it even more fun to pick out your perfect pack.
15. A bag to carry all of the supplies
Given just how much you’ll need to bring along for your pup—all of this, plus food, water, and toys, it helps to have a bag with their needs in mind. While you could throw your pet supplies into any old tote and call it a day, it’s better to be prepared and organized for whatever the trip has in store.
We recommend this all-weather tote from Scout, which can be easily wiped down if it gets covered in mud, doggy slobber, or anything else. Made with a sturdy bottom, reinforced handles and seams, four outer pockets, and an inner zip pocket, it’s great for lugging around all of your pet’s gear.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.