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rving with pets

Introducing Dr. Fitz for 'Paws on Board'

I’m Dr. Fitz. I’m a small animal veterinarian in mid-Michigan. My passion is owner education and providing general pet health information. I’ve lived in Michigan my whole life. So I’m a Michigander. I love the outdoors, I travel frequently, and I enjoy hiking and exploring national parks with my husband.

Many of you that also enjoy the outdoors like to take your pets along for the ride. In fact, as many as 70% of our viewers travel with their pets. With this series “Paws on Board,” I hope to help you as pet owners and our viewers travel safely and comfortably with your pets. 

In this first edition we’ll talk about the essential items that you should bring with you when traveling with your pet.

First, you should bring any medications that your pet may be currently taking. Make sure that you have enough of the medication to last for your entire trip or make sure that you get a refill prior to leaving for your trip. Also bring along any flea, tick, or heartworm prevention that your pet may be due for while you’re traveling, potentially on a longer travel. You want to make sure that your pet is all up to date and protected for while you’re on your trip.

Second, having a pet first aid kit with you is going to be essential. In a later segment, I’ll detail some of the items that you should have in your pet first aid kit. There are some commercially available kits, but you can also make your own at home with some of the items that you see here. The items in the kit can actually help with minor issues you might encounter on the road. Some of the items can even be lifesaving, especially if you’re not near a veterinary clinic when you travel.

Next, medical records are a helpful thing to have with you when you travel. You don’t want to bring just your vaccine records or even just the printed invoice, but make sure you have full written medical records. These will be helpful especially if you have records from the past 6 to 12 months or so. These can be really helpful for a vet if they’re treating your pet for the first time when on the road. They’ll have access to your pet’s current medical history, preventive care history, and any current medications that your pet may be taking. This will definitely speed up any treatment that your pet might need, especially if it’s an emergency situation.

Next, this might sound like common sense, but having some form of identification on your pet is essential. You should have some form of your name and phone number securely attached to your pet’s collar or harness. As a veterinarian, I also recommend having a permanent identification on your pet as well, and this will take the form of a microchip. And these can be applied by your veterinarian. Microchips are important because if your pet happens to slip their collar or harness and get away, if they’re found by another person, they can scan that microchip and connect your pet back with you, and you can be reunited.

Finally, you should always have a list of basic supplies that you need to bring with you for your pet so that you don’t have to stop at Walmart when you’re on vacation. First, having a collar, harness, and a non-retractable leash is important so that you have access to restrain your pet and keep them with you. Next, you should have extra water and bowls. Remember that your pet also needs to drink water when on the road, and make sure that you bring extra for if you’re traveling and hiking and your pet is very active. You should also bring waste bags with you, also might sound like common sense, but cleaning up after your pet is good etiquette. You want to keep the campground and the trails clean for everyone’s use.

Finally, having some towels and baby wipes are also essential if your pet gets in the mud and you go on the trails or even if the campground is wet. They can be really helpful to clean up your pets’ paws, and even on some of the RVs they also have spray features on the outside that you can clean up your pet before going back into the RV.

For more information about traveling safely with your pets, visit Tune in next time for more pet health information. I’m Dr. Fitz. Thanks for watching, “Paws on Board.