Here are some tips for how to travel as safely as possible with an epileptic dog.

before the journey

Think about the mode of transport

When travelling with an epileptic dog, the best way is to make sure you can keep an eye on them, in case a seizure happens. Dogs will also feel calmer if they can see their owner. The best forms of transport are ones where you can stay close to your pet, such as cars and trains.

Plan ahead

Before setting off, make sure you have enough of your pet’s epilepsy medication for the entire trip and ideally some extra medication in case your return journey is delayed. It may be helpful to locate the closest vet to where you are staying, in case of emergency.

Don’t forget the pet food

As previously discussed, it is important for the diet to remain consistent for pets with epilepsy as diet changes can affect their medications and subsequent seizure control. Make sure to pack enough of their normal food, including their usual treats!

during the journey

Dogs can get travel sick too!

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from travel sickness. There are various signs, such as nausea, salivation and vomiting. Your dog may also be agitated, or perhaps lie down and howl for the entire journey. This anxiety could also increase the risk of a seizure. There are veterinary medicines to help these situations, please consult with your vet ahead of time for the most appropriate option for your pet.

Watch out for heatstroke

Unfortunately, heatstroke commonly affects dogs and happens when they are no longer able to regulate their own body temperature. Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat other than through their foot pads. The main way in which dogs cool down is by panting. If the environment is too hot or humid, it becomes impossible for them to regulate their body temperature. Breeds with a thick coat and/or flatter faces (brachycephalic dogs) are particularly prone to heatstroke. Overweight dogs are also more likely to suffer.

Heatstroke can occur very quickly. The symptoms include; panting, foaming at the mouth, dehydration, red gums, followed by drowsiness, hallucinations, sometimes seizures, coma and death.

In order to avoid heatstroke or a seizure caused by overheating during a journey, it is essential to take a rest stop at least every two hours so that the dog can stretch its legs, find some shade and have a drink. In addition, make sure you always have cold water available. Turn on the air conditioning if possible. If your car does not have AC, open the windows instead Consider the use of cooling aids e.g. cooling vests and mats.

Finally, do not leave your dog alone in a car – even on mild days, cars can get hot very quickly.