As you probably know, John and I are devoted day trippers from waaaay back…in fact, we wrote the book on it! Our very first book was Day Trips from San Antonio and Austin; since then it’s been split into two separate volumes which we continue to update. For the last few editions, we’ve also written Day Trips from Houston. So we do a lot of daytripping!
We love it when we can take Barli and Tiki along on the day trips. They certainly add a lot of fun to the destination and help us see many locations that we’ve seen throughout the years in a totally new light. And while we have a certain packing list for ourselves on our day trips, often including some research materials, when we take a day trip with the dogs, we have some special items that we always pack for them as well. Here’s a rundown of our must-haves for our doggie day trips:
Old Towel. An old towel stays in the back of the car to clean off those muddy paws…because if Tiki or Barli see a body of water, they WILL be visiting it! We use a Plush Paws Products cargo liner and pet set covers, though, so we’re not worried about the mess. (See the end of this post for how YOU can win your own pet seat covers this week!)
Car harnesses for each dog. Both dogs are secured in the car for the ride, no matter where we’re going. The harnesses have become part of the fun…when they see their harnesses come out, they get excited! (We use different harnesses for trips to the vet so they never associate their car harness with anything unpleasant!)
Water bowls and water. We use silicone bowls for the dogs. In the car, we use a silicone cake pan (I bought this set at my local thrift store for $5 and use the round cake pan for the dogs. It’s made for the oven so there’s no problem leaving the bowl in the car while we’re out swimming!) I like it because it’s wide and doesn’t tip as we drive. We don’t put much water in the bowl as we travel but it’s within reach of both dogs if they’d like a drink. (OK, sometimes they put their feet it in, but that’s OK, too!) We also pack a small, collapsible water dish with a carabiner that clips to my belt from Popware for pets:
Poop Bags. I carry a roll of poop bags in my PawZaar dog walking bag. I also carry hand sanitizer but leave it in my purse when we’re out with the dogs.
Whistle GPS Tracker. For years, Irie and Tiki wore Tagg GPS trackers; today these are known as Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker and Activity monitor. We always, always have a unit on Tiki and Barli (fully charged) when we take a day trip. It’s great having the peace of mind of knowing that, if they should get away from us, we can use an app on our phone to find them! Barli’s recall is still a work in progress so it’s comforting for him to always wear a GPS tracker in case he gets away from us.
First Aid Kit. We carry a small first aid kit especially for the dogs in our car regardless of how short the outing is! Tiki is very allergic to wasps so we always carry Benadryl for her but we also pack some basic items in case one of the dogs steps on some broken glass or has a bad thorn in their paw!
ID Tag. Our dogs always wear their ID tags, including our cell phone numbers.
A Leash Coupler. We don’t use the coupler for walking the two dogs on one leash (that’s what it’s designed for…and what we originally bought it for) but, instead, we use it to secure the dogs to our picnic table while we’re having a picnic. A coupler has two snaps, one at each end; we run the coupler through the handles of our leashes, wrap it around the leg of the picnic table so they’re able to sit beside us, and then clip the two clips together. Our hands are free to dine, and the dogs can sit beside us and either enjoy their lunch or a chew.
Food and Treats. We feed the dog only a very light breakfast before a day trip so we pack their food to take along for a picnic! If they’ll be riding in the car over an hour or two, we also pack a chew like a bully stick.
Keep Your Car Clean on Day Trips!
This Friday we’ll be hosting the #PlushPawsPremium Twitter party at 3pm ET–with over $750 in prizes from Plush Paws Products including premium seat covers made especially for the vehicles of pet lovers. They’re waterproof to handle the muddiest paws, machine washable, and padded for your dog’s comfort. Be sure to check out the RSVP post for prize details!
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**Updated June 2018; originally published July 2013.