If your dog is sick while traveling, don’t immediately panic. Below are a few important steps to take to ensure that your furry friend is getting exactly what he needs to stay safe. Remember, when traveling with your pup, you may come across a variety of other animals—from dangerous wild beasts to domesticated creatures like cats and other dogs. Of course, your dog will also run into his fair share of new germs and parasites. If your dog falls ill during your travels, it can be challenging to know what to do.
You’ll want to remain calm and make the right decisions for your furry friend’s wellbeing, all while fighting through language barriers, differing medical standards of care, possible quarantine regulations, and knowing when you need to seek out veterinary attention abroad vs. at home.
Below are the five things to do if your dog is sick while traveling abroad:
1. If Your Dog is Sick―Shed Some Light on the Situation
If your dog seems lethargic and is straining to pee, this could indicate a urinary tract infection (UTI). Also, if he’s vomiting and has diarrhea, it may be gastroenteritis. Furthermore, if you notice bloody stool or vomit after eating grass, this could mean gastrointestinal ulcers or obstruction of the bowels.
If your dog is very lethargic and has a stiff, sore neck, he could have meningitis or encephalitis. A small wound on his body that’s swollen and oozing pus could be infected, as could an ear with a strong odor. Check out the area where you noticed these symptoms for potential causes.
2. Diagnose and Treat
Don’t wait around if you can’t pinpoint what’s wrong or think it may be severe. You may start with vet care online for an immediate assessment.
Also, if you’re on your way home from another country with your dog and he exhibits symptoms of illness, but you’re not in a place that can handle it, contact your veterinarian at home to let him know what’s going on.
3. Treat an Urgent Issue
If your dog’s illness is life-threatening or progressing rapidly, ask yourself if the country you’re in has the resources to help him. If they have adequate veterinary medicine, keep your dog as calm and comfortable as possible, mainly if you are at the airport, and find a vet immediately.
However, if you can’t find any assistance or you’re in a country without good veterinary care, it would be best to go home for treatment (especially if transportation isn’t an issue)
4. Quarantine Regulations
Before leaving the U.S., research the destination country’s regulations regarding importing animals. Some countries require proof that your dog has received a rabies vaccine within the previous year, or they won’t allow him in, while others don’t allow dogs sick with certain diseases (such as leishmaniasis).
Also, research quarantine regulations for places you may want to take your dog, such as dog sledding. Know what options you have if your dog gets sick while doing such an activity.
5. Don’t Fly With Your Dog If He Is Sick
If you are returning to the U.S. from abroad and your dog has been diagnosed or shows signs of illness, do not take him on an airplane (except for service dogs), as this will make it very difficult for him to receive proper veterinary care at home. Instead, drive (and make sure you’re prepared for the long trip), or send your dog via quarantine at home.
If your dog is sick when traveling abroad, staying calm is critical. First, research veterinary care in the area and what to do if he is seriously ill.
Then, take him to a vet if he exhibits symptoms of illness or looks pretty lethargic. If you can’t find proper veterinary care, take him home for treatment or bring a vet with you to help him feel better quickly and safely.