Of course, we take different things depending on whether we’re going for a walk on the leash versus going for a ride in the car.
Here’s what we take with us on every dog walk and every car ride…
On A Walk…
And I’m always carrying:
- Retractable leash (pictured below)
- Poop bags (attached onto the retractable leash)
- Dog water bottle (it’s got a cup making it easy for a dog to drink from it… see picture below)
UPDATE: On dog walks, I now carry a regular ‘ol water bottle for me, and I give my dog water from it using this quick & easy DIY water bottle idea.
In The Car…
These are the necessary items whenever we are going for a ride in the car:
- A seatbelt adapter. This serves as a ‘tether’ and connects the standard seatbelt in your vehicle with the ring on your dog’s collar or harness. We use the Kwik-Connect Tether.
- Dog harness. It’s better to latch the seatbelt tether onto a dog harness, rather than attaching it your dog’s normal neck collar. A dog harness “centers” his weight with the seatbelt tether and prevents the seatbelt tether from getting twisted and in the way. If you were to connect the seatbelt tether to your dog’s collar instead, he might be able to slip out of his collar, and it would tug awkwardly at his neck. Plus, In a sudden stop, your dog’s backside could be flung toward the window, if his neck is the only point being secured inside the vehicle. With a dog harness on, the dog stands on all fours, with his weight is securely balanced.
TIP: When we used to attach the seatbelt adapter directly to his dog collar, it would tug awkwardly at his neck as he would move around in the back of the Jeep. But more importantly, it didn’t really “secure” him in the vehicle. With just the right force or degree of turn, we felt that a dog could still be propelled out of the car and be left dangling by its neck. A dog harness prevents this — largely because the seatbelt adapter clips onto the top of the dog’s back, rather than at the neck area.
- A mini-cooler half-filled with water and/or ice cubes. Ever since we switched from the portable dog water bottle to this mini cooler, we’ve never run out of water — especially on long hot days out & about.
UPDATE: We have since upgraded to this no-splash dog water bowl that we keep in the back of our Jeep. It truly is spill-proof!
- A doggie pillow or bed for cushioning. This probably isn’t necessary for most people, but our dog rides in the back of a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and it’s a hard, flat floor. The worst part: It gets fairly hot to the touch in no time — even with the standard “vehicle carpet” in place. So we used an old crate pad / bolster pet bed. We wrapped it in an old bed sheet, and it makes a comfy place for a dog to enjoy long car rides. Later, we tossed an old dog bed that had lost most of its “fluff” on top of that for even more cushioning.
- An old beach towel. Half the time we’re out with the dog we’re visiting creeks or tromping through puddles or other muddy trails. So a beach towel makes it possible to knock the majority of the gunk off before he gets back in the car. Sometimes, I also need to wipe down the car seats or dry myself off! These microfiber towels work really well, plus they’re smaller and more compact — easy to store underneath the car set.
- Wet wipes. For the excessively muddy paws and/or doggie drool (which seems to congregate on the back of our Jeep seats, and on the rear window ledge), we use alcohol-free dog wipes to quickly wipe down the dog and the Jeep on the spot. They also make it a cinch to spot clean the dashboard in a hurry, or the center console!
- Retractable leash. This is for the times when we venture out of the car. There’s nothing better than a retractable leash — it gives your dog a bit of room to roam, without tugging on you to keep up. we use a Flexi retractable leash — the one with comfort grip.
TIP: We recently learned a valuable lesson about how dangerous certain dog collars can be. Now we always use a snap-clip closure dog collar.
- A doggie chin cushion. Whenever we take the dog for a ride in the sedan (which is rare these days), we use the Comfort Cruiser doggie chin cushion. You roll the window down part-way, then press the cushion over the window ledge. Dogs love it! (Remember to still tether your dog inside the vehicle though because yes, dogs can fall out the car window. Mine did!)