I’m headed out the door on for a 5-hour road trip with my toddler son and the two pooches to see family out of state for the next week. It should be an interesting drive.

Whether it’s a 5-hour extended trip to a hunt test or a week-long, cross-country journey, the dogs pretty much have a set bag we carry:

Food: I like to pack their kibble in gallon storage bags and write how many scoops are in each bag. The bulldog gets two cups of food daily and the Lab gets about 3 cups (depending on activity level, etc). It makes the math of packing enough food easy and the separate plastic bags make packing it easy.

Bowls: One big water bowl and two feed bowls.

Water: (Not pictured) I like to grab a gallon jug of water at the gas station on my way out of town.

FortiFlora:Purina’s new prebiotic supplement helps reduce travel diarrhea. It’s like yogurt for humans and keeps the digestive track balanced between good and bad bacteria. It’s a simple packet that you sprinkle on the dog’s food once daily for about a week prior to your trip. I used it on our cross-country journey earlier this year and nobody had the green-apple squirts. Many feed companies, including Eukanuba and Purina, are now including a prebiotic in many of their feeds.

Bag: I just use an old duffel bag to carry everything. It packs easy, is easy to carry, it’s soft-sided so can be squished into a packed car.

Crates: The Lab usually goes in either his Portapet hard-cover crate or the wire kennel crate. The bulldog usually rides shotgun. I should have him in a crate, too, but there’s just not enough room in the SUV with one seat taken up by my son’s car seat. Plus, the bully likes to distract other drivers with his ugly mug.

Leashes/e-collar: Must-haves when you stop at busy gas stations and rest stops. Leashes are universally accepted but e-collars aren’t. I keep the Lab at heel until we’re free and clear of civilians and then turn him loose to run and do his thing (provided there’s room). In effect, if used properly, an e-collar is a 1/4- to 1-mile-long leash.

Training Gear: It’s always around and comes in handy when airing the dogs. Instead of just letting them mill around, I give them a couple minutes to go to the bathroom and then start throwing bumpers. It’s a quick way to get them some exercise and get back on the road. I usually pack along some bumpers, a Dokken Deadfowl Trainer or two and my lanyard and whistle, at least.

First Aid Kit: I always carry one when the dog is in the car, whether it’s to an afternoon training day or a multi-day trip. There are lots out there to choose from, just get it and keep it in the car or with your training gear. You never know when you’ll need saline to flush a seed head from an eye, scissors to cut a flap of skin off, ointment for a cut or a stapler to keep pup’s guts from falling out (a real possibility for you Southern folks with all the hogs around…).

When the pooches and I made the cross-country drive, I stopped and let them out and gave them water each time I filled the tank…or whenever I had to stop to use the bathroom. About every 2 to 4 hours. With an unpotty-trained toddler on the trip, the 5-hour journey might take 12 hours…and his travel bag will be much more elaborate: DVD player, movies, Lightning McQueen cars, snacks, juice, etc, etc, etc.

So what do you bring along in your pup’s (or toddler’s) travel bag? I’m interested to hear what you include and how you pack it all.

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