For many Americans, the holiday season means travel, visiting family and friends and occasionally bringing our furry family members along for the ride. Traveling with a pet already creates additional responsibilities, but what if your pet is ill? Is traveling with a sick pet safe? Are there limitations you should consider?
Unfortunately, some of our canine and feline companions have chronic conditions, handicaps, cancer, or other illnesses that can make it difficult to leave home for an extended period of time. If you fall into this category, have no fear. Below we’ll discuss some tips if you find yourself traveling with a companion that’s under the weather.
However, always be sure to talk with your vet first to discuss any specific restrictions, necessities or emergency preparedness tools you need to be aware of before hitting the road (or air).
Things To Consider Before Taking Off
The Humane Society generally recommends driving over flying, even for healthy pets. Flying in the cargo hold of a plane typically poses risks to your pet, and if your pet is already in poor health, air travel in the cargo hold with extreme temperatures and poor ventilation may be dangerous.
If possible, consider driving with your cat or dog, or if flying is necessary, ask if it’s possible to place your pooch or feline friend in the cabin with you.
Tips For Traveling With A Sick Pet
- Be prepared with extra medication. Bringing the proper dosages of your pet’s medication is a necessity, but having some extra as an emergency stash is always a good idea.
- Find animal hospitals or veterinarians along your route prior to leaving. It never hurts to ask your vet if she can recommend any veterinarians either at your destination or along the way in case an emergency comes up. If she doesn’t know any in the specific area you’re headed, online research and Google or Yelp reviews should help.
- Bring all medical records. In the event your pup or kitty does need to see an unfamiliar vet, have your pet’s medical records with you. This will allow the veterinarian to get a good handle on what’s going on with your furry friend.
- Stay up-to-date on vaccinations before leaving. To help prevent further risk of infection, make sure your pet has all of his most recent vaccinations.
- Bring items to help make your pet more comfortable. Consider bringing your pet’s favorite toy, blanket and treats. If necessary, talk to your vet about anti-anxiety or anti-nausea medication.
Additional Recommendations for Maintaining Your Pet’s Well-Being
Make Frequent Stops
Frequent pit stops will give your pet the chance to stretch his legs, and if nausea is a side-effect of any medication he’s taking, a chance to stand on solid ground will help.
Look For Signs of Discomfort
Some sick pets may have more trouble regulating their body temperature. If this is the case, be vigilant in monitoring your pet to see if he gets too cold.
If Fido starts shivering, wrap him in a blanket and snuggle him against you to get his body temperature back up. If you have any coats or sweaters for your friend, make sure to bring them with you on your road trip.
Bring Seat Protectors and Disinfectant
Pets with anxiety or other chronic conditions may have a more difficult time holding their bladders on a car ride. While frequent stops may help address this problem, it is always smart to be prepared for the occasional mistake.
Try bringing seat covers or towels to protect your seats in case of an accident. Make sure to have disinfectant on board too, so you can clean up quickly if needed.
In most cases, traveling with a sick pet is doable; it just takes preparation. However, always check with your veterinarian before leaving town to make sure you’re in the clear.
Thanks for stopping by! We’re glad you’re here, and we hope you learned more about traveling with a sick pet. If your pet is unable to accompany you on your journey, please reach out to us for any of your pet sitting needs. We have experience caring for ill animals, administering both oral and intravenous medications, and we would be happy to have the chance to care for your pet as well. Give us a call at (843) 879-0822.