First aid when traveling with pets

Pet medical emergencies don't just happen at home. A few simple steps can better prepare you to help your pet with first aid treatment while you are traveling.

  • When traveling, pack a simple travel-size first aid kit for your pet, similar to the one you have at home, along with an antidiarrheal medication that is safe for animals (ask your veterinarian to suggest a product).Cat emerging from transport carrier
  • Be sure to have handy the phone numbers of your veterinarian, the national animal poison control hotline (888.426.4235), and a 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital in the area where you will be visiting. You can obtain a list of emergency veterinary clinics by country/state on the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society's directory page. You can also visit MyVeterinarian.com, enter your zip code, and check the "emergency" box to see a list of clinics that provide emergency services in the area. It's a good idea to keep these website names/addresses with you during your travels as well, so you can find an emergency veterinary hospital wherever you are.
  • Your pet should be wearing an ID tag (which should be labeled with your name, home address and phone number) in addition to a travel tag or collar with information on where you are staying while away from home, so you can be contacted while still in the area.
  • Perform a daily "health check" on your pet when away from home. Contact your veterinarian or a local veterinarian if you are concerned about any physical or behavioral changes.
  • For more information about traveling with your pet, see the AVMA's brochure, Traveling With Your Pet.
Always remember that any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet's life until it receives veterinary treatment.