First, look ahead to see what types of infectious diseases and pests are present in the region you’re visiting. For owners traveling with dogs to parts of the country with warmer climates, this may require administering flea, tick or heartworm treatments farther into the season than we would in our northern climate. It also may mean vaccinating your pet to prevent diseases present in the vacation region that we don’t have here at home.
Second, talk to your veterinarian about traveling with several days of medications to treat the most common ailments that might afflict your pet. The top three on my list are a few days of pain medication, a diarrhea treatment and a topical eye ointment.
Strains and sprains are common in working dogs, dogs in new terrain and dogs that are exerting themselves more than normal, such as during hunting trips. Dogs with arthritis or previous injuries also may benefit from a bit of pre-emptive pain medication.
Diarrhea frequently occurs in dogs during times of stress, extreme heat or changes in diet. And, of course, dogs have ways of finding things to eat that disagree with their stomachs. Treatment for diarrhea can mean the difference between a quick recovery and a dog that becomes dehydrated, forcing you to cut short your trip.
I have included eye medication on my list as well. Many dogs suffer from red eyes with discharge because of allergens they encounter on hunting trips. While dogs with allergic eye conditions respond best to medications containing steroids, I typically recommend having an ointment that contains an antibiotic but no steroid.
Dogs also are prone to scratches on their eyes from running through brush and high grass. These injuries respond best to antibiotics without steroids. Scratched eyes typically become sensitive to light. So if you’ve started eye medication and your dog still is moving around with one eye squinted, this is a sign that your animal needs veterinary care.
A first aid kit with bandage material and an absorbent pad is essential for controlling bleeding from lacerations to legs and paws. I recommend that owners use a vet wrap product for bandaging and have a super absorbent sanitary pad available. Sanitary pads are highly absorbent and flexible. They can be easily molded around legs and to cover bleeding paw pads. Owners can quickly secure them with bandage material.
In many instances, taking these simple planning steps will help you alleviate some of the most common ailments that could afflict your pet. In more serious cases, preparing will decrease the stress and discomfort to your dog as you find appropriate veterinary care. Just think about your dog’s health needs the same way you’d think of them if you were traveling to a foreign land. Chances are you won’t need to deploy your plan. But if you do, you’ll be prepared and better able to protect your pet.