Your pet flight experience will differ depending on your airline, airport, and your pet’s method of travel. Despite these variables, pet parents should always carry and pack specific items in their doggy go-bag. If you’re heading to the airport with your furry friend, you should take along a few essential accessories. From first-aid kits to food and water bowl, these items will ensure your pet’s flight is both safe and comfortable. Below, we have listed the seven essential toys and accessories to have packed and ready to go for your big travel day. Pet parents can modify the list to suit their animal’s needs, but carefully consider the items you bring; they might take up some space, but they will significantly improve your pet’s journey.
Dog Travel Bag; Day Away Tote
If you’re traveling with a furry friend, you’ve likely spent hours agonizing over the perfect carrier. While considering these options, you likely neglected to find a carrier for your pet’s belongings—food, accessories, and other essential travel items. There is a wealth of options available online, but we like the Day Away Tote from Overland Dog Gear. This lightweight tote includes several pockets of varying sizes, an adjustable padded shoulder strap for added comfort, and a lined carrier can for dog food and treats. This polyester bag is under $30 and comes in three colors.
If you’re in the market for something a bit larger, consider this Weekend Tote Organizer Bag from Hilike. It is slightly more expensive, but the bag provides multiple pockets of various sizes, dog food carriers (up to 30 cups), and silicone collapsible bowls.
Collar and Leash; TSA Fast Pass Leash & Collar
Unless you are traveling with a service animal, your pet will likely need to stay in his carrier while at the airport. He may only leave the carrier while utilizing a pet relief area or passing through security. When this happens, he must remain on a leash. A new, busy, and loud environment is enough to scare even the most curious pup, so investing in a great leash and collar is necessary before travel. We like the TSA Fast Pass Leash & Collar, which is guaranteed to not set off metal detectors. This allows for hassle-free airport inspections and often eliminates the need for additional pat-downs. This leash and collar system features an easy secure snap buckle—not a breakaway buckle, as most collars and leashes have. It is adjustable and fits both cats and dogs.
It is impossible to anticipate when an accident will strike, but if it’s on a plane or in the airport, you want to be prepared. Bringing a first-aid kit, even a rudimentary one, is essential for safe pet transit. A standard kit, such as that offered by Johnson & Johnson, will do the trick—it contains assorted adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointments, and soft-gauze bandages. You should also consider adding a muzzle to your pet’s kit. This will prevent biting and allow the animal to calm down. We like the ThunderCap Calming Cap, a behavior management aid designed to decrease a dog’s anxiety or aggression in high-stress situations.
Your pet should be able to eat and drink while in transit, and it is the responsibility of the parent to provide food and water bowls. Collapsible silicone bowls, such as the COMSUN Collapsible Dog Bowl, are the most popular among frequent travelers. They fold up to store easily in any bag, and they are easy to clean and maintain. The non-slip bottom provides enough grip for your pup to eat and drink without the bowl sliding around, and a handy carabiner clip delivers additional convenience.
If your pet is traveling in cargo, you will need to purchase attachable food and water bowls. We like the Petmate Kennel Water Pet Cup, a durable system designed to attach to the kennel’s door for easy access. However, if you are looking for this type of bowl system, we recommend purchasing it alongside your kennel. This will allow you to ensure that it fits the kennel and remains sturdy in transit.
Food, Water, and Treats; Zuke’s Enhance Calming Chicken Formula
Before your flight, pack a couple servings of your pup’s favorite food in a Tupperware container or plastic bag. When you pass through airport security, purchase a bottle of water or fill up a container at a water fountain. Keep these items with you at all times for the duration of your journey—you never know when hunger stress might strike. Remember to bring food and treats that your dog will recognize; trying a new food on the day of a flight is never a good idea. Similarly, you should pack your pet’s favorite treats, but consider adding a calming treat to the mix. We like the Enhance Calming Chicken Formula from Zuke’s. This variety includes passion flower, valerian, chamomile, hawthorn, and L-theanine to ease stress, whining, excessive panting, and other nervous behavior.
Toys and blankets provide comfort to animals in times of stress. If possible, grab your pup’s favorite toy before heading out the door. The familiarity of a chew toy will help calm the animal in anxious situations. However, you must ensure the toys you pack are safe. You will not always be able to supervise your dog during transit, and you do not want to risk accidental asphyxiation if a small part comes loose. To that end, you will not want to pack toys that bounce, fly, or spring. Instead, opt for chew toys, such as the Mammoth Cotton Dog Rope Toy, which is built to withstand even the most aggressive chewers.
Pet parents should carefully consider each item on this list before leaving for the airport. If you choose not to include something, you should have a great, legitimate reason for neglecting to bring it—”not enough space” is rarely an acceptable excuse. When packed correctly, these items should easily fit into your carry-on or dog travel bag, adding just a few pounds of weight to your luggage. Remember that your airport is unlikely to have an in-terminal pet store, and forgetting an item could spell disaster for an anxious animal. However, with the right preparation and packing, your journey should be both safe and comfortable.