What To Do If Your Dog Gets Sick While Traveling

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
Be prepared for the unexpected when your away from home

For many pet owners, their dogs are their best friends and also their preferred travel companions. Not all dogs are cut out for travel, however – some are prone to motion sickness and anxiety related to car travel. If you know that your dog is prone to motion sickness there are a few things you can do to make his trip more comfortable. If your dog’s sickness comes on unexpectedly, however, it can be a little more of a challenge to deal with but you can still be prepared by reading the tips in this article.

Motion Sickness

As is true with humans, dogs can get motion sickness during travel too – and the result is not pretty. Motion sickness is particularly common in puppies and older dogs, though it can really affect dogs of any age. While motion sickness typically results in vomiting, some other common symptoms include listlessness, excessive yawning or panting, whining, excessive drooling and anxiety. In many cases, dogs that experience motion sickness eventually develop a fear of cars which could result in extreme anxiety during travel.

If your dog suffers from motion sickness there are a few things you can do. First, make an effort to keep your dog as comfortable as possible by bringing along familiar items from home such as a blanket or a favorite toy. Try to keep your dog facing forward during travel to reduce his nausea – looking out the side windows will likely make it worse. When the car is in motion, roll the windows down just a few inches to balance the air pressure in the car and always make sure the car is cool and well-ventilated for your dog. If you know that your dog gets motion sickness, avoid feeding him close to your departure time but do not withhold water.

Serious Illness

Though no dog owner wants to think about it, there is always the possibility that something will happen and your dog will become seriously ill while you are traveling. This is why it is recommended that you bring a copy of your dog’s medical records with you on your trip. In the event that your dog does get ill, check the phone book or ask around for the local emergency veterinary hospital. Take note of your dog’s symptoms in as much detail as possible for the vet – this is very important because the vet does not already know your dog the way your veterinarian at home does. After your dog receives the treatment he needs, make sure to schedule a follow-up appointment with your veterinarian at home.

In Case of Injury

If you know that you are going to be going on an extended trip with your dog, you would be wise to assemble an emergency first aid kit. Included in this kit should be basic items like bandages, gauze and tape as well as styptic powder to stop bleeding, tweezers to remove splinters and a muzzle to keep your dog from biting (even if your dog is very well-mannered, he may act differently when he is in pain). In addition to these basic items, consider including some antiseptic wipes, saline solution and disposable gloves. In case your dog eats something dangerous, having some hydrogen peroxide on hand to induce vomiting may be useful as well.

For minor injuries such as shallow cuts and scrapes, you should be able to clean and dress the wound yourself. Check the wound to be sure there aren’t any stones or pieces of glass left in the wound then clean it thoroughly with water and antiseptic wipes. Next, cover the wound with gauze and secure it in place with tape. For bleeding wounds, apply pressure until the bleeding stops before bandaging it up and check the wound often to make sure it doesn’t start bleeding again. For deep cuts or breaks, seek veterinary help as soon as possible.

Whether it is a simple case of motion sickness or a serious injury, it is always a good idea to have your dog checked by your veterinarian when you get home. In some cases, the symptoms of motion sickness may mask the symptoms of a more serious problem or your dog’s anxiety about travel could be a sign of a different illness entirely.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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