Dog-gone vacation: Three essentials to pack when traveling with pets

Pets are members of the family – so much so that more families today are traveling with their four-legged companions than ever before. In fact, 40 percent of pet owners now bring their pets on family vacations, according to the American Humane Association.

Although packing for your pet may seem like a walk in the park, a few missed items could lead to a very hairy, uncomfortable and perhaps even stinky situation. To avoid these possible outcomes, here are three things no pet owner should leave home without:         

* Waterless pet shampoo.

Okay, so giving your dog a bath is not exactly at the top of your vacation itinerary, but that doesn’t mean Spot will refrain from rolling in something he shouldn’t. The good news is new, more convenient bathing products such as Wahl’s No-rinse Waterless Shampoo leave the dirty work at home. This 7-ounce bottle contains foam you can simply massage on your pet for a fresh coat. No water is necessary, and it’s 100 percent natural.

* Doggie sun screen.

They may have fur, but just like us, dogs and cats can get sunburned. If your travel forecast calls for hot and sunny, the best way to protect your pets from harmful rays is to pack a sunscreen made specifically for them. Choose a product that is fragrance-free, waterproof and blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Check your local pet store or look online for options.

* Brush.

Traveling can be stressful for pets, as one recent national survey reveals. And shedding often comes with stress. Unless your idea of a good vacation is a car, camper or hotel room full of pet hair, it’s best to pack a brush. A good option is a large bristle pin brush. It not only collects loose fur, but detangles and smoothes the coat. The act of brushing your pet also can have a calming effect – just what the doctor ordered for long trips.

A fun, stress-free family vacation requires being ready for whatever comes your way and when your pet is along for the ride, things can get hairy quickly. Preparation for cleaning, grooming and protecting your pet is a great way to keep everyone traveling happy and healthy. For more grooming tips and advice for every breed of dog, visit

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