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Pre Trip Dog Veterinary Visit

Every dog should have a pre trip dog veterinary visit, especially before extensive travel. It is important to ensure that your dog is in good health before you leave, or that any known conditions are being treated appropriately. If you are traveling internationally, there may be several certifications you will need to obtain from your vet prior to travel.

Dogs traveling within the US, with the exception of Hawaii, do not require any documentation other than proof of current rabies vaccinations. However, it is always a good idea to have your dog’s medical records with you; this can be particularly important in the case of extended travel. The longer you are going to be away from home, the more potential there is for your dog to need some kind of emergency treatment. Although it is never pleasant to think about, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Before any trip, your vet should perform a standard well-dog check on your pet. Tell your vet what your travel destination is, and find out if there are any non-core canine vaccines that are not generally needed in your area but may be recommended in the region around your destination. For instance, in some areas of the country ticks may not be a major cause for concern, or may not be active year-round. Depending on where you are going, however, your vet may recommend a Lyme disease vaccine at your pre trip dog veterinary visit.

Another reason to discuss your destination with your vet at the pre trip dog veterinary visit is to inquire whether he or she knows of any vets around the area to which you will be traveling. You never know when you may be visiting the hometown of your vet’s favorite lab partner from veterinary school, or a former colleague who has relocated to that region. It is helpful to know the name and phone number of a vet near your destination. Having a dog become sick or get injured while away from home can be stressful enough; having this information close at hand can make this difficult situation just a little easier.

Of course, if your travel involves leaving the U.S. or traveling to Hawaii, the pre trip dog veterinary visit will take on an entirely new importance. It is critical that you plan ahead and know the requirements for bringing your dog to any countries you plan to visit. For the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about requirements for bringing your dog to a foreign country, contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as that country’s consulate or embassy, well in advance of your travel. While your vet may be aware of travel requirements to some countries, it is up to you to ensure that you have all the documentation you need from your pre trip dog veterinary visit.

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