Summertime brings about increased car travel with pets as they accompany their families on road trips and day trips. These trips may occur relatively close to home, or they may take you and your pet across provincial or international borders (travel restrictions permitting). At Central Veterinary Services, we also have the unique opportunity to provide veterinary care for our clients that work as long-distance truck drivers who regularly travel with their pets as companions on the road.

We have decided to compile a list of helpful tips to ensure that you and your pet are always prepared when traveling far from home.

Plan your route

It’s true that we almost all carry smartphones in this day and age.  But we have all experienced that moment on a road-trip when all of a sudden you have no cellular data service!  Plan your route in advance and make a list of the veterinary clinics along the way, including their address and phone numbers. If you find yourself in need of veterinary care, you can easily call the closest clinic for advice or to arrange for an appointment.

Carry up to date medical records

Ask your veterinarian for a copy of the most up-to-date medical records so that in the event of your pet needing medical care in another city, province, or country, you can provide accurate medical information.  This should include a summary of ongoing medical concerns, medications, and vaccination due dates.  Please know that there is a difference between a medical record and a receipt from your last visit.  A medical record explains the diagnosis, treatments administered, medications, and expected outcomes.  A receipt is simply an itemized list of the treatments and services performed, without an explanation of your pet’s care.

Keep all medications in one place

Keep all of your pet’s medications in a single location, such as a toiletry bag or backpack.  They should be easily accessible and labeled.  This is especially important when crossing international borders, and when seeking medical care at a new veterinary clinic.  Medication brands and names can vary between countries, and so this information is very important for the veterinarian providing care to your pet.

Travel with a pet first aid kit

Always travel with a well-stocked first aid kit for your pet. Key items include Thermometer, bandage material, nail clippers, chlorhexidine cleanser, non-adhesive wound dressing, a veterinary-approved antihistamine with pre-determined dosing instructions.  We also recommend having a spare portion of your pet’s food and bottled water available, should you suddenly find yourself without access to a nearby veterinary clinic or pet food store.

Traveling with your pet can be fun and exciting, but it is important to be prepared for the unexpected. We hope that this article can provide you with the important tips you need to ensure a safe and enjoyable travel experience with your pet.

And a special note to our long-haul truck driving clients: Thank you for always trusting us to care for your pets when you make a stop in Manitoba.  Our driveway is your driveway.

Written by Dr. Samyra Stuart-Altman
Learn more about Dr. Stuart-Altman here.