This article is contributed by guest writer, Aaron S. (Writer at NHV Natural Pet).
5 Ways Your Pup Can Get Sick When Traveling & How to Prevent It
Travel is an adventure—and one that can be enriched with the company of your pet. But there’s a lot more than can make them ill outside of your home. Protecting our pups is our responsibility as pet parents. Learn about the most common ways your pup could get sick while traveling and what you can do to prevent it.
1. Motion Sickness
This is the most frequent problem on a road trip, and one that you can prevent by taking time to prepare. Before heading off on a drive across the country, take your pooch on a few short trips to help them get used to the feeling of being in a car. Some pups will enjoy the familiarity of their crate for road trips and others will prefer to sit on a seat—make sure you have your pup’s safety in mind during travels and fasten your dog with a harness that attaches to the seat belt and protects the seat with a waterproof mat in case of vomiting or a toileting accident.
Just like people, dogs get tired of sitting still for long amounts of time. They need to stretch their legs and breathe some fresh air. Plan several stops on your journey for food, water, and a brisk walk. Your passengers and your dog will thank you!
Just NEVER let your dog travel with their head sticking out the window. They might jump out, or could be seriously hurt in an accident, or if you need to stop suddenly.
2. Heatstroke and Hypothermia
Temperatures both inside and outside of the car can change dramatically from one place to the next and the heat inside a parked car can quickly soar to deadly levels. Prevent heatstroke by taking your pooch with you when you leave the car parked. Also, be sure to provide plenty of water on warm days.
Hypothermia happens in dogs when their body temperature falls below a constant 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The risk of hypothermia increases during situations like:
- Long periods of exposure to low temperatures
- Wet fur and swimming in cold water
Keep your dog warm with appropriate clothing in cool climates and take them to the vet immediately if you see them shivering violently or looking lethargic. Puppies and elderly dogs are more susceptible to cold conditions and have naturally lower body temperatures. Be sure to give them extra care.
3. Altitude Sickness
Ever climbed a mountain and felt more out of breath than usual? The lower levels of oxygen at higher altitudes can affect our pets just as much as they affect us. If you live on the coast and are planning a hiking or camping trip to the mountains, take the following precautions to help your pup adjust:
- Ascend gradually in the car rather than flying straight to your destination.
- Provide plenty of moisture-rich foods and water to keep your pup hydrated.
- Limit your pup’s physical exertion initially and only increase as your pet is able.
- Look for signs of altitude sickness like heavy panting, confusion, and soft coughing.
Travel means a change in their environment and the lack of the safety barriers you have at home. When walking your dog or playing off-leash in an unfamiliar location, your pup could be at risk of eating plants that could make him or her very ill. Unless you happen to be a botanical expert, a portable pet fence will keep your pup contained and far away from anything that could cause harm.
5. Animal Bites
Your dog might start the trip in perfect health, but who knows who your dog will meet at your destination? Dogs in many countries roam free on the streets and do not enjoy the standard of health care that is required of responsible pet owners in the west, and you’ll always get the odd canine in any country that is poorly trained.
Before you travel, make sure that your pup has a veterinarian certificate of health, is neutered or spayed, and has all of the vaccinations required in the states and countries where you are going. It’s also a good idea to make sure they have protection against fleas and ticks.
Final Advice for a Healthy and Happy Trip with Your Pup
No matter where you’re going with pets, the above tips will make a huge difference. To have an even more amazing time, look for pet-friendly hotels and restaurants at your destination and take your pet’s medical history and travel insurance certificate in case anything does go wrong.
If your pup does get sick and the vet is a little while away, it can help to have some natural remedies on hand. But prevention is better than cure, so prepare ahead and have a safe and fun trip with your furry best friend!