If your pet is injured while the family is out of town, being prepared makes all the difference.

by Dr. Kim Smyth, member of the Veterinary Advisory Board of Petplan pet insurance

For many of us, going on vacation just isn’t the same without our four-legged family members. Obviously, I’m not going to take my pets with me if I’m going on a 10-day tour of Europe, but I can’t even imagine going to the beach without my dog!

Taking the entire family on vacation takes a lot of planning, but you know what they say—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Planning well can help you out of a potentially sticky situation should your pet run into trouble. Accidents can happen anywhere, and just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean that injuries are, too. If your pet is injured while the family is out of town, being prepared makes all the difference.

  • Schedule a pre-vacation check-up with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is healthy for travel and is up to date on vaccines. If you are planning to fly with your pet, this is imperative, as most airlines require a health certificate issued within 10 days of your flight. If your pet does not already have a microchip, this is the time to get one.
  • Put together a folder of important information about your pet to bring with you in case you need to visit the vet on vacation. Include current vaccine information, the name and phone number of your home veterinarian, your pet health insurance information, and your pet’s microchip number, as well as the microchip company’s phone number.
  • Research your veterinary options at your destination before you leave home. You’ll want to find a reputable vet with daytime hours near your destination, as well as the closest emergency clinic should an injury occur after hours. The last thing you want to do in the face of an emergency situation is struggle with a phone book and map trying to figure out where to go.
  • Travel safely. Keep your pet safely confined in your vehicle, either in a crate or by using a safety seat or harness seat belt.  Remember to take frequent potty and watering breaks.
  • Don’t forget to pack your pet first aid kit.

When you’ve finally reached your destination, relax and have fun! You’ve already done everything you can to prepare for potential problems. Should your pet sustain an injury, call the veterinarian you researched ahead of time to let them know you need to see them. If it’s an emergency, it is wise to call them ahead of time anyway, just to give them a heads-up that you’re on your way.

If you’re not sure what constitutes an emergency or whether your pet’s injury is serious enough to need veterinary care, call the veterinarian for advice.


Dr. Kim Smyth is a member of the Veterinary Advisory Board of Petplan pet insurance. In addition to a passion for practicing veterinary medicine, Dr. Smyth is a naturally gifted writer and has authored hundreds of veterinary pet health pieces, including essays, breed profiles and blogs.



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