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If you’re a dog person, then you probably go to great lengths to keep your dog happy and healthy. It’s the least we can do for them given all the unconditional love they give to us. Here are the dog essentials I keep in my car.

Leashes. In the early days of having dogs, if we were going to take a drive but didn’t plan to get out of the car, we didn’t take the leashes. Why would we ever need them?! The over planner in me could think of a billion. What if the car stalled and we had to walk somewhere? What if we got in an accident? What if we found somewhere really cool that we wanted to get out and explore?

Leashes are now a must. I keep Caesar’s in the car. We hardly ever use it with him at the dog park. We trust him to walk from the car to the entrance of the park off leash. Dixie is another story. She likes to chase things. Even if I’m walking two feet to the car I leash her up.

Dish. Last year when we were in Colorado, Caesar wasn’t eating his food. He does this when one or both of us are out of town. Since we were all together on the trip it seemed weird.

We hadn’t brought his regular food and water dish, just some collapsable ones. After a few days of eating very little, we stopped and got him some dishes like we have at home. It worked! He started eating again.

We always keep these extra dishes in the car now. We also have the collapsable ones which we like. And he drinks out of it at the dog park just fine. But we also keep a regular dishes in the car in case he gets picky. It’s bigger so it’s easy for both of them to drink water out of at the same time.

Water. The dog parks we go to have running water from April to October. One of the park’s water supply is kind of rusty so we prefer to bring our own. Although our dogs don’t seem to mind the rusty water.

I also like to keep water on hand because there are times when we are running errands and end up going on a day trip because, why not. We’re all in the car so we might as well turn it into a mini road trip. When this happens we usually get our dogs out and walk them for a bit, even if it isn’t at a dog park. They put up with drives so much better if they’re given the chance to get out of the car for a bit to explore. We like to be able to give them water, too.

Towels. We always have towels in the car because you never know what the dogs are going to get into. The dog park can be a sloppy, muddy mess.

Both of our dogs hate water so they don’t go swimming. But Dixie did fall into the water last week while chasing an animal. It reinforced for her that she doesn’t like the water. We rinsed her down at the dog park because of all the scary diseases they can get from the water. Fortunately we had towels in the car to dry her off. Any time we get new people towels the old ones become dog towels.

Musher’s Secret. We bought this last year. It’s protects their paws from ice and snow. And the salt and sand used to melt said ice and snow. It can also be used to protect their paws against the heated concrete and tar during the warm months. I don’t keep it in the car during the summer. But once the weather gets cooler, it goes in the car.

Treats. We haven’t had to bring treats with us for a while. Caesar is such a great dog that we just never need to bribe him. I mean positively reinforce him. Since we’ve only had Dixie for four months, we do keep some treats in the car. Granted, she’s come a long way from those first few days at the dog park. That was probably more our fault in that we shouldn’t have immediately taken her to the dog park. We thought we were acclimating her to our lives when we should have been letting her get used to us first. We all survived those early days at the dog park so no harm no foul, I guess. In can never hurt to have treats on hand,

Dog park pass. The dog parks we go to require an annual pass. It’s good for nine dog parks. I keep the pass in the car because otherwise I’d forget it. I still sometimes forget to put it in the window like you’re supposed to.

Brush. We keep a brush in the car so we can brush them at the dog park. At least this is the plan. We tend to forget on many instances and have to wait until we get home. If we’re lucky, though, we run into the lady who carries multiple dog brushes on her belt and she just brushes them for us. Nothing makes her happier.

Chukit! If you’ve been to the dog park you know that the tennis balls get super gross. Caesar has only been interested in playing fetch the last three years, basically since we’ve been bringing him to the dog park. Dixie is interested in the ball but only because I don’t think she’s used to having things. So she likes to fetch and then hoard it.

I like that they want to play catch, but I don’t always want to pick up the disgusting tennis ball. Having the Chukit! In the car means I never have to think about touching the ball if I don’t want to. Also I can throw the ball farther with the help of the Chukit!

I’m one step away from carrying a backpack with dog essentials in it. It would be so much easier if I did. That way when I take the dog stuff out of my car to make room for friends or family we may be shuttling around, all the dog stuff would be in one handy place rather than scattered all over.

These are my dog essentials that I keep in the car. Do any of these resonate with you? What are your dog must haves?

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