14 Essential Items to Bring on Your Next Road Trip With a Dog

The summer weather and long weekends may have you thinking of places to visit via car so that you can safely travel while continuing to social distance. What will you need for a road trip with a dog?

Luckily, road trips and day trips are a great way to travel with your best friend! 

Below are some road trip essentials you can bring to make the most of your dog-friendly adventures.

Packing List

golden in car dog road trip planner

Before a long road trip with a dog, make sure you have the following:

  • ID tag and microchip
  • Plenty of water
  • Meds and supplements
  • Phone number for emergency contact
  • Vaccination records
  • First aid kit
  • Poop bags

Before taking your dog for long car travel for the first time, get a check-up at the vet to make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date.

Essential Auto Gear for Dogs

The first thing to consider before hitting the road with your dog is how to keep them secure, comfortable, and safe in the car. 

Here are a couple of our favorite products that make car travel with your pup easier and safer!

Backseat Car Hammock

car hammock

Does your dog try to climb its way up to the front seat while you are driving? Though we love having our dogs right next to us, this can be dangerous and distracting while driving!

We highly recommend the PupShield Backseat Hammock to keep your pooch secure in the back seat. This way they can’t climb up to the front or fall in between the seats while you are driving. This seat cover is also made with a durable and water-resistant fabric that helps keep your seats from getting dirty or scratched up.

Pup Boost Lift Harness

the PupBoost Harness is essential to have on a road trip with a dog

The Pupboost Lift Harness is a really great product if you have a senior or disabled dog that needs a little help getting in and out of the car. It is also helpful if your dog is a large breed and you just need an extra boost lifting them into the car.

Here is how it works: there is a padded torso band that you can loop around your dog’s belly. Use the handles on each side to lift up your dog so that they can get into the car easier. 

You’ll find the padded torso band keeps the dog comfortable and helps distribute their weight for easier lifting.

PupBoost Car Seat

dog car seat

The PupBoost Car Seat is a product that will keep your pup secure and safe in your car. The seat folds flat when not in use and is super easy to install in the car.

We love its elevated design because it allows your doggo to still look out the window. There is an interior strap that clips to your dog’s collar or harness to keep them safe in the seat. The back and bottom are also padded to provide comfort during the ride.

Friendly reminder: NEVER leave your dog in a hot car.

Essential Road Trip Snacks for Dogs

Wholesome Pride Sweet Potato and Banana treats are essential for a road trip with a dog

Healthy dog treats are great to keep in your car during a road trip with a dog. Just like we get hungry during extended times in the car, dogs need snacks too!

Treats also help with stubborn dogs that may need coxing in and out of the car. We especially love the treats below because they are made with your pup’s health in mind!

Wholesome Pride Sweet Potato and Banana treats are the perfect snacks for your dog when you are on the road! 

Treats are a great way to hold your dog over until you get to your destination. Wholesome Pride treats are made in the USA, with limited, all-natural ingredients. The treats are vegetarian and free of grain and preservatives.

Freeze-Dried Dog Treats

The 100% natural Wholesome Pride raw freeze-dried dog treats come in three tasty proteins: chicken, beef, and salmon. 

Your doggy will love you forever if you sneak them a few of these high-value treats for a snack in the car. 

Made in the USA with limited ingredients, these treats are delicious and nutritious. They have no artificial ingredients, fillers, or preservatives and provide a safe snack for dogs with food allergies or sensitive stomachs.

Feeding Supplies & Water Bowls

The Port-A-Bowl is essential for any road trip with a dog

Road trips can complicate your typical dog feeding routines. However, these items make feeding and hydrating your pooch in the car easier! They are portable and easy to travel with so you can keep your dog refreshed with minimal hassle and mess during rest stops.

The Port A Bowl is a perfect on the go bowl for your dog. It is lightweight and completely collapsible so it doesn’t take up much room, which is great when space is limited.

It is good for food or water because the seams are taped to prevent leaking. The durable polyester material also dries quickly so you can pack the bowl back up as soon as your dog is done drinking. It crinkles up to fit in tight spaces like your glove box or center console. This bowl makes keeping your dog hydrated while on the road so easy!

Treat Tote for Snack Breaks

You can use the Treat Tote to store those yummy treats we mentioned earlier safely in your car. This bag is durable and water-resistant to help keep treats and kibble dry and fresh. You can also hook it to your pants to keep your hands free and the treats within reach.

We use the drawstring to keep the bag closed when not in use so treats don’t fall out into your car. We love this treat bag because it is just what you need for a road trip with a dog and travels well!

Fun Feeder Slow Bowl

Fun Feeders are great to bring with you on a road trip with a dog

You may already be familiar with these Fun Feeder Slow Bowls. The fun bowl designs help to prevent dog bloat by forcing your dog to eat up to 10x slower.

Most of us keep them in our homes but they are very lightweight and portable so they are easy to travel with too. These bowls are totally worth bringing with you on a road trip so that your pup doesn’t break their healthy eating habits while traveling.

Best Dog Toys to Add to Your Packing List

Dogs can get restless when in the car for long periods of time. These toys keep your dog occupied and happy while they are constrained to the car. When your dog is busy with their toys you can focus on getting to your destination safely.



The Hide A Squirrel dog toy seems to be fun for every dog. We like the idea of bringing it on a road trip with a dog because it boosts your dog’s brainpower. The dog has to figure out how to get each squeaking squirrel toy out of the plush log-shaped puzzle. 

This boredom buster toy will keep your pup occupied in the backseat as you keep cruising down the road. This interactive dog toy comes in a few sizes so you can pick the one that is the most fun for your dog.

Dogwood Stick

dark golden retriever chewing on stick

We know that when bored in the car for too long, some dogs may find seat belts to be intriguing to chew on. The Dogwood Stick is a great item to keep your dog chewing on the right things while traveling. 

Your dog needs to chew and he’ll prefer this chew toy to anything else in the car that they could damage. This stick is long-lasting because it is made with a durable synthetic material that is combined with real wood. Your pooch will love the texture and taste. Plus, it is safer for them to be chewing on than real sticks which can splinter and leave a mess! Less clean-up.


The Deerhorn is another chew toy your dog would love to chew on during a long car ride when you hit the open road! 

This toy is made with real, naturally shed, antlers combined with durable nylon so it is a good toy for the strong chewers out there. 

Chew toys also have a lot of benefits other than occupying your dog, so we surely recommend bringing something like this on your trip to keep your pup happy and healthy!

Squeak Ball

The Orbee-Tuff Squeak Ball is probably our favorite squeaker ball toy — we NEVER leave home without it! It was voted the most durable squeaker ball in 2017 by Whole Dog Journal.

It is tough enough for wherever your road trip leads you! Perfect for fetch along hiking trails in a national forest or lakeside in a state park. 

The material is not only strong, but it is also BPA, phthalate-free, and floats in water. Its buoyancy makes it a great ball to bring out for water play. This toy is a must-have for squeaker-loving dogs!

The Orbee-Tuff Snoop

If your pup needs a snack while on the road stuff their treats in an Orbee-Tuff Snoop toy before giving it to them! Your pooch will love the added challenge of getting the treats out of the toy. Plus mental stimulation is just as good for them as physical exercise which can be difficult to get when traveling.

Essential Dog Gear for the Beach or Lake

If your cross-country dog road trip eventually gets you to a lake, beach, or river, then we highly recommend having a dog life jacket in the car with you. 

A little water play is also a great way to break up a long trip, take a bathroom break, and cool off in the summer heat. 

The Granby and Dawson Life jackets allow you to be worry-free knowing it keeps your dog safe. These life jackets are available in five sizes from extra small to extra large (psst–new colors!). 

The Granby is made of durable ripstop material allowing your pup to play rough and tough. The Dawson is made with neoprene material which is great for keeping your pup warm if the water is really cold. Both are great options for dog owners!

Drive Safe!

If you’re looking for some interesting national parks, dog parks, and sights to see on your trip, check out 51 Dog-Friendly Breweries, Bars, Hotels, Parks, and More

BringFido is another great resource for traveling with dogs that provides lists of pet-friendly hotels so you and your dog stay somewhere comfortable.

Essential Curated Pup-list on Spotify

Before you hit the road, make sure you have a play list ready for you and your dog! Follow Outward Hound on Spotify for curated pup-lists that include some of the top four dog genres, such as Reggae, Soft Rock and Motown

We hope you enjoy your road trip with your furry friend!