Packing for a dog adds an unexpected amount of weight. Here are the essential dog travel items you need at all times and tips for leaving behind those items you thought you needed.
1. Dog Bed: Tango has a bright pink mat I fold up and take with us. It’s perfect for when we sit in a restaurant or on a train. She knows that’s her spot and she doesn’t leave it. The bright pink is eye-catching so people see her and don’t step on her. It’s also handy in the hotel as it is something familiar for her. It travels easily in the sleeping bag holder of our back pack.
2. Hands free leash: I have a 8 foot leash that turns into a four-foot leash when wrapped around my body. Now I can shop with my hands free and Tango is at my feet. Win, Win!
3. Dog Carry Bag: Touristy spots get very congested and we learned that people do not look down. Poor Tango should win a metal for navigating the legs of tourists that are looking up at monuments with a camera in front of their face. Sometimes it’s easier (and safer) for her to be in a pet carrier bag.
4. Poop bags: You need a lot more than you think! As a person with a back yard, I didn’t realize how much my dog poops. I can’t believe how many poop bags we go through.
5. Rescue Remedy: Our life savour when we heard gun shots in France, a package was detonated and blown up by police in a Paris train station or when other loud noises like thunder give Tango anxiety. I always have this in my purse.
6. Headphones: Mutt Muffs for loud and scary planes and trains.
Food: No one is going to go hungry! There are plenty of pet stores and grocery stores. The most popular brand of dog food we come across in Europe is Royal Canin and Acana. Tango is fed a raw food diet so I pop into a grocery store or butcher shop and use various meat sources to make a raw food concoction.
Bowls: I don’t have room in my back pack to waste on bowls. Generally our accommodation is equipped with a kitchen full of plates and bowls but if not, anything will do including a take out container. If I’m at a hotel, I just ask the front desk for a plate for food and use a cup for dog water. If your dog is bigger and needs more water, ask for a bowl.
Extra anything: Why pack the added weight? You don’t need extra collars, leashes and toys. The basics are readily available and can be purchased if really needed.
First Aid Kit: How often do you use a pet first aid kit at home? Not often. Chances are you are not going to need one on the road. Most pet first aid items are the same items a human needs and they can easily be found at a nearby store. Pharmacies in Europe are like corner stores, they are everywhere! In the event of a medical incident you can pop into the pharmacy for staple first aid supplies such as tweezers, band aids, scissors, adhesive tape, antihistamines or any other item. Keep a quick reference sheet saved in your phone with quick tips and instructions in case of emergency. I like this one!
Water: Tango drinks a lot of water in the summer heat so I know how important it is to have regular access to water. However, she doesn’t need me to carry a fancy water bottle just for her. We often find bowls of water for dogs outside shops and restaurants and if not, we ask for one. We are never far from a corner stores or kiosks with bottled water if we are in a pinch.
Tango learned very quickly how to drink out of fountains! You can find public water fountains in many european towns. We found safe drinking fountains in Ljubljana, Split, Sarajevo, Venice, Paris and the list goes on and on. Be careful in Paris, they are turning their fountains into fizzy taps!