Packing can be a chore for some, but knowing you have a bag ready with essentials you can grab in a moment’s notice each time you head out for a day trip or longer can make the idea of getting away that much easier.
The same idea applies to packing for your dogs. I have a roller bag packed at all times with essential items and stashed in the basement ready to go. When it’s all in one place there is no extra thinking required and you’re never caught unprepared. Here is a list of the 10 essentials I always have ready to go:
• Dishes. Stainless steel for meals and a collapsible water bowl to take on a hike or pop out of the car for a quick drink.
• Extra leashes and collars. I’ve lost leashes before on trails or forgotten them at someone’s cottage or even left them at home and had to stop and purchase new ones on the way to our destination. Don’t be left without back up. Dogs can slip collars and they can break. I bring an extra for each dog.
• Bear bell. If your dogs are lucky enough to be let off leash in wooded areas it’s a good idea to put a bell on them to let you know where they are and to potentially scare off bears, should they encounter them. The ones I have attach to the collar with velcro. Available at Canadian Tire and outdoor stores.
• Small towel or blanket to rest water dishes on, wipe down a wet dog or give them a place to rest.
• Grooming brush or comb should your dog encounter burrs, pine pitch or other problems along the way. It can also be a great way to bond with them sitting around a camp fire or during a raining day stuck indoors.
• Tick remover. Ticks have become a problem in so many areas at almost all temperatures now in Canada and the U.S. I keep our tick remover attached to a carabiner clip on the outside of the roller bag for easy access. Here’s a video demonstrating how to remove a tick from a dog.
• Treats! You never know when you will need to lure a pooch back in the car or reward them for behaving well on a long journey.
• Simple first aid items such as ear cleaner, nail clippers, Quik-clot for nails, grooming wipes and some elastic bandages for small injuries. You can also buy inexpensive pet first aid kits online. See my post on developing your own first aid kit for your dog and the importance of having inexpensive items such as hydrogen peroxide on hand.
• Toys! Something to fetch, chew or retrieve as a means to burn off some energy on long journeys or in strange places.
• Paper towels or wet wipes for cleaning up.