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There are a few things that we always have with us any time we are out & about with our dog.
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:
#1 – Retractable leash (see picture & details below)
#2 – Poop bags (attached onto the retractable leash)
#3 – Portable dog water bottle (it’s got a built-in cup making it easy for a dog to drink from it… see picture below)
In The Car…
These are the necessary items whenever we are going for a ride in the car:
#1 – Seat belt adapter.
This serves as a ‘tether’ and connects the standard seat belt in your vehicle with the ring on your dog’s collar or harness. We’ve used both the Kwik-Connect Tether and the Etekcity Seatbelt Harness Clip (at different times).
TIP: When we used to attach the seatbelt adapter directly to our dog’s dog collar, it would tug awkwardly at his neck as he would move around in the back of the vehicle. But more importantly, it didn’t really “secure” him in the vehicle. With just the right force or degree of turn, we felt that our dog could be propelled out of the car and be left dangling by his 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.
#2 – Dog harness.
It’s better to latch the seat belt 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 seat belt 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: For the longest time, we used a cheap dog harness — because we didn’t really know the difference. But after using a dog harness with a chest plate, we feel our dog is safer and we have greater peace of mind. The main reason: the dog’s throat and neck are better protected.
#3 – Mini cooler filled with water and ice cubes.
We use the portable dog water bottle pictured here (and mentioned above) anytime we leave the vehicle, but a mini cooler is better for car rides. You’ll never run out of water — especially on hot summer days at the dog park or long car rides.
TIP: We have since upgraded from the mini cooler to this no-splash dog water bowl. We keep it in the back of our vehicle so the dog can drink anytime he likes. It truly is spill-proof!
#4 – Dog pillow or bed for cushioning.
This probably isn’t necessary for most people, but our dog rides primarily in the back of a Jeep Wrangler 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’ve added an old crate pad / bolster pet bed on the floor of the vehicle. We wrapped it in an old bed sheet, and it makes a comfy place for a dog to enjoy long car rides.
TIP: For even more cushioning, you can do what we did: toss an old dog bed (that had lost most of its fluff) on top of the dog crate pad.
#5 – Old beach towel.
Half the time that we’re out & about 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 the dog gets back in the car. Sometimes, I also need to wipe down the car seats or dry myself off!
TIP: Microfiber towels work really well because they’re smaller and more compact — easy to store underneath the car set. We also have a couple of Lightload towels that we keep in the glove compartment of each car at all times. They pack super small and grow really big when wet.
#6 – 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.
TIP: Wet wipes also make it easy to spot clean the dashboard in a hurry, or the center console!
#7 – Retractable leash.
This is kept in the vehicle for 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. Simply clip it onto your dog’s regular collar. We use a Flexi retractable leash — the one with a 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.
#8 – Doggie chin cushion.
Whenever we take the dog for a ride in the sedan (which is rare these days), we use the Comfort Cruiser dog chin cushion. You roll the window down part-way, then press the cushion over the window ledge. Dogs love it!
TIP: Remember to still tether your dog inside the vehicle though — because dogs can fall out the car window even when it’s partially rolled up. (Mine did!)
More Dog Car & Travel Tips
- Do This Now In Case Your Dog Gets Separated From You
- Springer Makes It Possible To Bike With Your Dog
- Dog Hot Car Laws
- Heeling & Walking Dog Tips
- Tips For Dogs That Enjoy Boating
- Tips For Dogs Riding In Cars & Jeeps
- Yes, Dogs Can Fall Out Of The Car Window!
I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner — currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I've always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians — whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what's 'normal' and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog — how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I'm not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I've written over 500 articles for dog owners on this site!