What To Do If Your Pet Gets Sick While Traveling
Pets get sick. We hate to even think about it – but it’s part of our responsibility as pet parents. Illnesses or accidents that require a visit to the vet are hard enough when you’re home, but what about when you’re traveling?
Last year during a three-week road trip we had to make two visits to emergency veterinarians – one for each dog. With a little advanced planning we could have saved ourselves a lot of stress. We learned a lot, and hope these tips give you something to think about – but that you’ll never have to use them.
Pack a good first aid kit. Whether you purchase one or assemble it yourself, you’ll have everything you need to deal with minor cuts, splinters, and stomach upset. Take some time to become familiar with the contents of the kit and with basic first aid procedures before you need to use them. There are some handy books and videos out there that walk you through the steps to help your pet in the most common emergency situations.
Take you pet’s medical records. In an emergency, remembering your name, much less the details of your pet’s medical history, will be a challenge. Before you leave, scan their medical records and store them on a USB or “thumb” drive. It’s easy to pack, and the attending veterinarian will be able to access the information they’ll need with no problem.
Take your veterinarian’s contact information and fax number. The attending veterinarian may want to call your vet with questions or fax reports and follow up instructions. Being able to provide them with the contact information will allow them to focus their attention on your pet’s care.
Pack a muzzle and have your pet accustomed to wearing it. Some emergency veterinary hospitals will not allow you to accompany your pet into the exam area. A dog in pain, in an unfamiliar setting, and surrounded by strangers, may react and “defend” himself. If it’s necessary to apply a muzzle for the safety of the staff, getting your pet used to wearing it in advance will help reduce their stress.
Use the GoPetFriendly.com Road Trip Planner to map your route and locate veterinarians along the way. This step will save time when every minute counts. GoPetFriendly is a place where pet lovers can help other pet lovers – so go to the site to make sure your vet is listed and write a review. You never know when your input could support a pet traveler in need.
Use your social network to get veterinary recommendations. Last year in Minneapolis Ty came down with a fever and was dehydrated. We reached out to our Twitter friends and within minutes got a recommendation for a local vet. The doctor was able to squeeze us in on a Saturday morning and the care we got was just fantastic.
Ask for a recommendation at a local pet supply store. I’ve never been a fan of picking a vet out of the phone book and putting Ty or Buster in their hands. I am more comfortable when I get a personal recommendation – even if I don’t know the person doing the recommending! Last year we were at a remote fishing camp in Ontario when Buster got an eye infection. We were an hour from civilization and had no Internet service. As we headed into the nearest town we saw a pet supply store and dashed in for some help. The clerk we spoke to had pets herself and was able to recommended a vet just down the road who took great care of Buster – though we showed up without an appointment.
The emotions and stress of an emergency often make it difficult to think clearly. Putting the plan in place in advance will ensure you’re able to give your pets the best care possible. And, we hope it’s kind of like grabbing an umbrella on a day with a chance of showers – if you take it, it won’t rain for sure!Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy: Pet Friendly Hotels | Pet Friendly Destinations | Pet Friendly Activities