Getting Veterinary Care While Traveling with Dogs: Tips for On-the-Go Pet Health

Getting Veterinary Care While Traveling with Dogs: Tips for On-the-Go Pet Health


Traveling with your dog can be a wonderful way to explore new places together and strengthen your bond. However, it also presents unique challenges, especially when it comes to maintaining their health. Ensuring your dog has access to veterinary care while away from home is crucial, along with being prepared for the most common health issues that can arise during travel. Here’s how you can manage your dog’s health needs and find veterinary care while on the move.

1. Plan Ahead

Before you embark, research veterinarians and animal hospitals along your travel route and at your destination. Make a list of facilities with good reviews, noting their addresses, phone numbers, and hours of operation. Apps and websites like Google Maps, Yelp, and the local veterinary associations can be invaluable resources.

2. Carry a Pet Health Kit

Pack a travel health kit for your dog that includes:

  • Any medications they regularly take.
  • Basic first aid supplies such as bandages, tweezers, antiseptic, and a digital thermometer.
  • Your dog’s vaccination records and medical history. It’s helpful to have both digital and paper copies in case of an emergency.

3. Keep Your Vet in the Loop

Inform your regular vet of your travel plans and ask for advice on managing any ongoing health issues while away. They can provide you with a summary of your dog’s medical history to take with you, which can be very helpful for any vets who might need to treat your dog unexpectedly.

4. Use Telemedicine Services

Many veterinarians now offer telemedicine services, allowing you to consult a vet via video call. This can be especially useful for minor concerns or issues that don’t require immediate physical examination. Ensure you have the necessary apps and contact details before your trip.

5. Consider Pet Insurance

If you travel frequently with your dog, consider investing in pet insurance that covers travel-related issues. Check that the policy covers out-of-state vet visits and understand the process for filing a claim if you need to visit a vet while on the road.

6. Be Aware of Local Hazards and Common Travel Issues

Research local hazards that could affect your dog’s health. This includes prevalent diseases, parasites like ticks and fleas, and environmental dangers such as toxic plants or extreme temperatures. Additionally, common travel-related health issues include:

  • Motion Sickness: Some dogs experience nausea and vomiting from car rides. Consult your vet about motion sickness medications if your dog has a history of this issue.
  • Anxiety and Stress: Changes in environment and routine can lead to stress and anxiety in dogs. Symptoms may include excessive barking, whining, or urination. Calming supplements, anxiety wraps, or prescribed anti-anxiety medications can help.
  • Heatstroke: Dogs can quickly overheat in hot cars, even with the windows slightly open. Never leave your dog in a parked car, and always ensure they have access to shade and fresh water.

7. Maintain Routine

Try to keep your dog’s routine as normal as possible, including feeding times, bathroom breaks, and exercise. Consistency can help minimize stress, making health issues less likely.

8. Know When to Seek Help

Recognize the signs that your dog needs immediate veterinary care. Symptoms like excessive vomiting or diarrhea, sudden lethargy, difficulty breathing, or an inability to stand are all emergencies, regardless of where you are.

9. Local Veterinary Services

Once you arrive at your destination, identify the nearest 24-hour veterinary clinic. Even if your dog is the picture of health, knowing where you can get help in an emergency will give you peace of mind.


Traveling with your dog can be joyous and enriching, but it comes with the responsibility of ensuring their health and safety. By planning ahead, packing appropriately, and staying informed, you can ensure that your dog remains healthy and happy on the road, ready to enjoy every adventure with you.