How to Pack Your Pooch for a Round the World Adventure

by Gigi Griffis

Luna is ready for adventures, people.

After four months of full-time travel (and a sort-of travel month back in Colorado), I’ve embarked on a massive re-packing mission. And said re-packing mission totally applies to Luna as well as me.

Now that we’re older, wiser, and more well-traveled, what are Luna and I packing in her teeny suitcase? (And by “her suitcase,” I totally mean “my backpack,” because she is a slacker and doesn’t carry her own crap.) Well…

Luna’s packing list:

– One dog carrier
– One leash and harness
– One dog jacket for nippy days
– One tennis ball
– One stuffed toy
– One small brush
– Dr. Bronner’s organic baby soap, which I’ve heard can work for both dogs and humans (still testing this out)
Two foldable dog bowls
– A couple poop bags
– Heartworm pills
– Halved Benadryl tablets in case of an allergic reaction (Luna is deathly allergic to wasps)
– One pair of small scissors (for haircuts)
– Tweezers (for tick management after hiking; also for plucking my eyebrows so that Luna isn’t ashamed of me)
– Pet passport, rabies certificate, and/or necessary travel paperwork (varies by destination)
– Phone number, directions, address, and hours for local vets

We also carry small bags of food and treats with us, though the size of these varies based on how much we have left over at the end of one destination. Whenever we go to a new destination, I do try to have at least a day or two’s worth of food on hand. And, if I run out, I can always head to the grocery store and make some dog food myself.

And since we travel full-time, I have to get creative with the space in my backpack. Thus, a lot of the things I carry Luna and I share: like the tweezers for picking off ticks from our many hikes, scissors, or the soon-to-be-shared organic soap. What’s mine is hers and hers is mine. And any time I can think of something with a dual purpose, I consider that a huge win.

Things that we don’t carry, but you might want to:

Pee pads
For long plane flights, ferry rides, or airport stays, pee pads can be great to have on hand. Luna refuses to use them (seriously, she’d rather hold it for 14 hours; it’s kind of ridiculous), so I no longer haul them.

When I first left to travel full-time, I carried a small bottle of cleaner in case of in-transit potty accidents. In four months of full-time travel (and the two years prior), Luna is maintaining a zero accident record, so I’m tossing the cleaner and crossing my fingers.

Sedatives and/or motion sickness meds
If your dog hasn’t done something before (e.g. plane travel, ferry travel), it might be a good idea to have a vet prescribed sedative on hand just in case they panic. Luna, as it turns out, is a chilled out traveler, so we never needed ours and I’m no longer going to lug them around.

A blanket
This can come in handy for covering couches or comforters to keep dirt or dog hair off.

Baby wipes
These can help with dog allergies (wipe off your pooch when she comes in from outside), rainy day foot wiping after potty breaks, or minor accident cleanup. Luna’s allergies seem to be just in Colorado, so we’re going without this time around.

More perspectives on packing your pooch

Good news, friends! A couple of our absolute favorite dog bloggers (Montecristo Travels and Dog Jaunt!) agreed to join us today and talk about how they pack their respective pooches for travel. Check out their insights below:

Montecristo Travels’ dog travel packing tips

Dog Jaunt’s dog travel packing tips

Dog packing tips from The Road Unleashed

[UPDATE: After reading Montecristo and Chloe’s wonderful packing lists and tips (links above), I realized I should probably mention that Luna also has a super cute doggie life vest. We didn’t take it to Europe with us, but we have it with us now on our way to California and it may make the cut for the big backpack when we head back to Europe early next year, depending on our beach vs. mountain plans.]

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Packing For the Traveling Dog! | Montecristo Travels November 8, 2012 - 5:24 am

[…] to be sure I did a thorough job and wrote a post worth being in the good company of Gigi and Luna, and Dog Jaunts, Mary-Alice and Chloe, I started by going into my archives to see what I had […]

Montecristo Travels (Sonja) November 8, 2012 - 8:37 am

I am loving the dual function approach. Do be careful with the tweezers (why we have a tick remover) they tend to cut the ticks body off the head, leaving the head attached to your dog. It can lead to infection.

Reading your post I am happy to see that the basics are the same. How is Luna in extreme weather? Monte has severe reactions to extreme heat or cold.

Love your style!

gigigriffis November 8, 2012 - 8:41 am

Good point. Tweezers are a precise sort of science when it comes to ticks.

As far as extreme weather goes, Luna doesn’t do well with super cold temps (we haven’t had to deal with super hot), but neither do I, so I generally try to avoid them anyway. We spent the summer chasing fall-ish temperatures mostly and now we’re off to San Diego for at least part of the winter.

If we end up in a super cold locale in the future, I’ll probably buy some booties (her paws seem to be the biggest issue in snow and cold) and another coat or two.

Mary-Alice November 8, 2012 - 10:04 am

I too love the dual purpose stuff! I’m totally checking out the Dr. Bronners tip for our own packing, as soon as I stop typing this. Thanks, and even more thanks for organizing this collaboration!!

gigigriffis November 8, 2012 - 10:00 pm

Anytime! It was pleasure to collaborate with you guys! And I’ll let you know how Dr. Bronner’s works. I just bought some and intend to start washing Luna with it as soon as we run out of her other shampoo (which will be really soon).

Vesta Vayne November 8, 2012 - 10:35 pm

Ooo! I need to look into this Dr. Bonners stuff. Both my pups have sensitive skin.

Thanks for the tips, we are taking both our dogs on a trip for a few weeks next month. Our chihuahua is a travel pro, but she’s so old now that I worry a bit:(

Luna look so fashionable!

Vesta Vayne November 8, 2012 - 10:36 pm

*looks! Dontcha hate it when you spot a typo just as you hit submit?

gigigriffis November 9, 2012 - 12:25 am

@Vesta, So much! I have done that too many times myself.

David November 15, 2012 - 11:59 pm

Definitely have a few sedatives. I have a very tame pet that I recently flew with. Hardly ever makes any noise, but wanted to talk to everyone while we flew!

gigigriffis November 17, 2012 - 1:58 pm

I agree. Having sedatives on hand, particularly the first time you travel with a pet, is not only a good idea for your pet, but for your own comfort level. If your dog goes crazy, you know you have something on hand to calm them down.

That said, my vet recommended not giving the pet sedatives unless you need to. As I understand it, there is a small element of danger in sedating your pet. So I only use sedatives as necessary.

suzyguese November 23, 2012 - 11:37 pm

I haven’t traveled with my dogs but I imagine they would need quite a lot of accident prevention gear. Great list for travelers with pets who travel!

The (In)Complete Guide to Taking Your Dog to Europe | the ramble December 13, 2012 - 10:55 am

[…] ready to take your pooch overseas How to pack your pooch for a round-the-world adventure Taking a dog to the UK What if you don’t want your dog to arrive as […]

The Re-Packing Project: What’s In My Bag Now | the ramble February 14, 2013 - 2:00 am

[…] Luna’s stuff: one dog sweater, one carrier, leash and Ezydog harness, one stuffed bunny (currently minus the stuffing), one tennis ball, bags of food and treats, two foldable dog bowls from Ezydog, and a small medical kit (Benadryl, heartworm meds). (See Luna’s more detailed packing list.) […]


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