Dogs are generally easygoing and fun-loving travel companions, and they don't usually require much in the way of coddling on trips. However, people who are constantly on the go with their pooches know that one must-have is a good source of fresh water - especially if they plan to spend a great deal of time outdoors with their pets.
Staying hydrated is as important to dog health as it is to human health. While water is easily come by in most places, it isn't always guaranteed that it will be safe, clean or easy for your dog to drink. This makes finding the right water container essential.
The perfect water container isn't as easy a find as you might think. Water bottles are made for lips, not lapping tongues, and using them to keep dogs hydrated can lead to a lot of spillage and waste. And traditional dog bowls aren't easy to transport - they take up a lot of space, and they don't easily fit into backpacks or suitcases.
Fortunately, there are products out there that make it easy to provide water for your pooch while you're on the go. Kim Salerno, CEO and founder of TripsWithPets.com, travels frequently with her pets. She knows a little something about the best pet travel products, and she offers her picks for the top five water containers and dispensers.
Kurgo Wander Pail
Kim said the Kurgo Wander Pail is both easy to transport and highly practical. "It's really two bowls in one," she said. "The larger pail makes up one of the bowls, and then a smaller bowl fits perfectly into the pail. You can store food in one of the bowls and use the other bowl for water, and then carry them both around at once."
The Wonder Pail is crafted from stainproof and rustproof metal, so it's sure to last through many hiking and camping trips. It's dishwasher-safe, which makes it a snap to keep clean, and the lid screws tightly on to the container, which prevents spills and waste.
While the Wonder Pail is a great way to transport your pet's water bowl, Kim doesn't advise carrying water in the bowl itself. "The lids keep food secure, but not liquids," she said. "You may end up with a mess on your hands."
The Pet Top's simple, yet smart design makes it a winner in Kim's book. "It's really just a specially designed top that attaches to a regular water bottle," she said. "The top causes the water to come out in a slow stream that's easy for dogs to drink, without wasting water or creating a mess."
Kim likes the top, which is easy to use, easy to transport, and versatile. "You just turn it to stop and start the water flow," she said. "There are two different water flow speeds, which can work for different sized dogs. It slips right into your pocket, purse or hiking bag, and it has fit every bottle I've tried it with."
This product is ideal for pet parents who, like Kim, spend a lot of time enjoying the outdoors with their dogs. Designed in essence like a dog-walking utility belt, the Hands-Free Hipster fits around your waist, and features storage pockets that can accommodate your cell phone, keys or any other small essentials you might need on a walk, or a visit to the dog park.
What makes this product really special is the fact that you can attach your dog's leash to a D-ring in the belt's center, which leaves your hands free and relaxed.
The reason the Hands-Free Hipster is one of Kim's go-to products for transporting water is its mesh bag, which is perfectly fits most standard water bottles. "I use this product often to carry around water as I hike with my dogs," she said. "I also carry the Pet Top with me to make it easy for them to drink from the bottle."
Outward Hound Port-a-Bowl
The Port-a-Bowl made Kim's list because it's a convenient and compact choice for a portable water dish. The bowl is made of fabric - when you need to take it somewhere, you can just collapse it and tuck it into a hiking bag or large purse. You don't have to worry about it tipping or leaning; it features a bottom-heavy design that keeps it in place, and sturdy sides that hold their shape.
"This bowl is great for hiking or camping," Kim said. "You can just fill it each time you stop for water, pour out any excess, fold it up (and) keep going. It dries really fast, and it keeps its shape really well, even after it has been stuffed into small spaces."
Gulpy Water Bottle
The Gulpy Water Bottle is another simple, yet brilliant idea that makes it easy for dogs to access fresh water. When your dog gets thirsty, simply flip down the bottle's fold-up trough and give the bottle a good squeeze to fill up the trough. The trough is the perfect size and shape for a dog's muzzle, but that's not Kim's favorite feature. "I love how portable this bottle is, and the fact that the trough can be adjusted to different angles for dogs of different sizes," she said.
"Staying hydrated is crucial for your pet's health and comfort," Kim added. "These five products are my favorites, but any product that makes providing fresh water convenient is fantastic in my book. It's just one less thing to worry about when you travel with your pets."
TripsWithPets.com is an online resource for pet travel. Named best pet travel site by Consumer Reports, TripsWithPets.com's mission is to offer resources that ensure pets are welcome, happy and safe while traveling. The website features a directory of pet-friendly hotels and accommodations across the U.S. and Canada, as well as airline and car rental pet policies; pet-friendly restaurants, beaches and events; a user-friendly route search option;pet travel tips; pet travel supplies; and other pet travel resources.