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Essential dog gear to keep in your car

Here is a list of the dog gear I keep in the car for everyday use — some of these items are Chloe’s regular car equipment (like her car seat and a window shade), and some are things I’ve needed when a quick trip to the dog park turned into an unexpected afternoon away from home.

This is the kind of list I wish I had had when we first brought Chloe home — I would have bought everything on it before we picked her up, like a baby’s layette!

Snoozer Lookout car seat
Small towel (to improve the comfort of Chloe’s Snoozer)
Chew toy (usually a bully stick)
Gulpy dog water bottle
Chuckit! mini launcher and small tennis balls (all of the tennis balls recently disappeared from our local dog park, so now I come prepared)
Poop bags
Bitter Apple (to discourage Chloe from chewing on the door lock stem next to her)
Extra harness and leash
Window shade
Dog Bag collapsible crate (for when Chloe spends an afternoon at the office)
Travel bed (ditto)

I recently added a collapsible carrier to the list, but I haven’t had a reason to use it yet. It collapses neatly into a pancake shape, so it takes up little room, and I can imagine situations in which it would be useful. They haven’t occurred yet, but I’m ready.


  • Galahad and Yvaine

    I’ve no idea how I ended up on this site. I was trying to find medium-sized duplicates for the luggage set we have–LL Bean duffel bags–so we can continue to use one for the dogs, one for the spouse, and one for me…without having to use the gigantic one. Somehow I ended up in “dog packing” too. I have a few comments for a number of your entries, and no idea if anyone will see any of them 😉

    We mostly take the dogs out in a mid-size sedan. We keep one of those “no spill” metal dog bowls under the passenger seat for water while we’re out and about, along with a folding bowl in the glove compartment to take along in a pocket in case we get out for a while. We have a square tissue box stuffed with plastic grocery bags next t the metal dish under the passenger seat, and pocket a few, again, if we’re getting out of the car for a while. [These work equally well as poo bags on walks, or just grab one as a temporary garbage bag in the car.] We’ve found that a cheap queen-sized fitted bed sheet nicely covers the whole back seat to protect it from dog hair, and is easy to remove to launder.

    I also keep a few dog blankets (that is, cheap throws purchased on sale or at thrift stores and thoroughly laundered), clean, rolled up and tightly tucked between the center console and the back seat–you know, on the “hump.” I can use them as towels in case of spills, blankets in case of cold, padding if any of us are uncomfortable, or as they are, the dogs can use them as a walkway to get from the front to the back.

    In terms of what we keep in the car for emergencies…Over a decade ago, we saw a dog on the Interstate on a road trip, while several states away from home, and no idea how to 1) get back to him, 2) safely catch him on the Interstate without scaring him into traffic, and 3) try to find his owner or a local shelter so his owner could find him, if he had an owner…and then, several days later on the way home, we saw his body in the median. Well. We keep a few things in the car, because since then we just can’t pass a loose dog running by the road any more. These days, if we’re not near home, we can solve the “find a local shelter” problem with a smartphone. But we need enticing treats, a slip leash, and also some way to keep a strange dog and our dogs separated [if they’re in the car], and re-sanitize the area occupied by the strange dog [if our dogs are in the car, and we need to put them back]. Who knows what a strange dog might be carrying, and no need to take chances with a couple of dogs with iffy health issues when it’s not necessary.

    If the dogs aren’t with us, of course, we just pull all the linens–like the queen sheet over the back seat and the rolled-up dog blankets–out, spray them with flea spray, and launder them…and spray the car with flea spray, and leave it open to air for a few hours.

    So. In addition to the enticing treats and the slip leash, we need the rolled up dog blankets and a big sealable bag. The rolled-up dog blankets can be stuffed between the front seats to form a barrier; our dogs, fortunately small/medium, can be restrained in the front seat temporarily; and EVERYTHING in the back seat can be taken out, put in a big sealed bag, and stuffed into the trunk until it can be laundered. And the dogs are kept up to date on their vaccines and are on both Sentinel and Comfortis, so they should be ok. We’ll just have to vacuum the back seat to get our dogs’ hair off it after that trip, instead of counting on the “dog cover”–the queen sheet. I suppose we could get a spare 😉

  • Absolutely it’ll be seen! Thank you so much for sharing the details of your set-up — and I love how you’ve thought through the details of rescuing strays (yay for you guys) without creating a health hazard for own pups and yourselves. So, so good. Oh, hey — and welcome to Dog Jaunt!!

  • Galahad and Yvaine

    Thanks for the welcome!

    Oh dear, I feel a little odd hearing praise for working out how to pick up loose dogs by the side of the road. Now, the volunteering we’ve done in dog rescue and horse rescue (fostering, training, elbow grease, adoption days, fundraising); yeah, that all seems like work. But picking up loose dogs? That’s just the sucker symptom.

    See, we’re suckers. We’re pretty sure it’s stamped in a language only animals can read right on our foreheads, and probably in a sign visible only to animals on our lawn somewhere. We’ve had dogs no one else could catch, being chased around a parking lot, come right up to us and sit at our feet. We get out of the car in pouring rain to retrieve a dog who will surely otherwise be hit because the rain is so dense no one can see anything, much less a dog on the road (and get to have “wet dog smell” in the car for days). We CAN NOT pass a dog who might be in danger of injury. It may make us late, it may be an inconvenience, but we can not do it.

    So it’s more of a compulsion, and evidence of suckerosity, than anything else 🙂

    We have a small farm in a rural area, and we are so lucky: so far every loose dog we’ve picked up between here and town, we’ve been able to find the owner. We’d really hate to turn a dog over to the local shelter, but IF a dog has an owner and no tags, the shelter is the best place for them to find the dog if we can’t locate them within a few days. In our rural area, sadly, there are owned…and even beloved…dogs with no collar, tag, or chip.

    [And of course with fostering experience and a good relationship with our vet, we can check for microchips and keep a strange dog in quarantine at home for a few days while we post “found dog” signs. We’re never taking a dog into a shelter, again, to ask them to check for a chip. They seize the dog.]

    We just worry about the other possibility: the dog has no owner, or was dumped–and then the shelter is not a good place for them at all.

    ~ ~ ~

    Incidentally, I *love* the enormous ziplock bags you pointed out in one of your “packing” posts. I had no idea they existed. We generally use giant laundry bags for “quarantine” linens, but those look like a much, much more useful option. Lovely.

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