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Pet Travel: One Sick Dog

Back in the beginning of time … well, at least on this blog … I wrote a post with some tips if your pet got sick while you were traveling. And last week I got to use it.

Buster seemed fine most of the day on Thursday. We played outside for a while in the afternoon since the rain had finally stopped and he had a blast running and jumping after his ball. The RV was a mess after 3 days of hopping through puddles, so I put the boys on their tie outs, gave them each a compressed rawhide bone to chew on, and vacuumed and washed the floor in the RV. Everything was great, until just before bedtime, when Buster threw up his dinner on my clean floor.

Buster's Sick

Buster vomiting is not something that gets me overly concerned – he has a delicate constitution and it happens on occasion. But the second and third times he threw up, I started to worry. I wracked my brain for anything that might have caused his upset – all I could come up with was the rawhide bone. We’ve gotten these compressed rawhides for the boys for years and never had any problem, but I know that it only takes one time and the problem could be serious. On Friday morning when I saw that diarrhea and lack of appetite had joined the symptoms, I packed things up and headed for the vet.

My concern was that somehow part of that rawhide had created a blockage and that was making Buster sick. I seem to remember going through this once before with our boy…

It was 2008, just three months after Buster had come to live with us, and we were packing the boys up for a 3-week road trip vacation. Just getting to know our goofy dog, we thought the flu-like symptoms he was having might be related to our excitement about the trip. Still, we’re faithful members of the “Better Safe Than Sorry” club and decided a trip to the vet would be prudent. The vet checked him out and said she could find no explanation for his symptoms, so we picked up a bland diet in kibble form and proceeded with our preparations. On the day we were leaving, we loaded the boys in the car, snapped a few pictures, and headed down the driveway. Before we even got to the main road the heaving began … and Buster thew up half a tennis ball. And that was the end of his mysterious illness.

Ty and Buster in the RAV4

Notice Buster’s wink … and Ty’s look of disgust?

Much like the last time, the vet we saw on Friday said that Buster’s temperature was normal, he was not sensitive when she probed his stomach, and he was not dehydrated. She was leaning toward giving it a few days and hoping for the best. I, on the other hand, had learned from experience. I wanted to see an x-ray.

Luckily, my concerns were unwarranted. Buster’s x-ray showed nothing abnormal, other than an unusual amount of gas – something of which I was already well aware! Though we still have no idea what caused it, Buster has improved slowly over the weekend and last night he finally slept through the night. We appear to be on our way to recovery.

Buster on Sofa

No one tells you when you get a pet that when they are sick – life stops. I imagine it’s much like having a sick child – sleepless nights, inability to concentrate, and obsessing over every move they make. I find it impossible to do much beyond showering and dressing myself. So, to those of you who have been anxiously awaiting that post I promised on Kentucky’s Land Between The Lakes, I swear to you it’s coming. We seem to be on the down-hill side of this bug and things should be back to normal later this week.

Buster and I also want to thank everyone for their thoughts and kindness as I posted updates on our Facebook page. Many people say social media is leading to more human isolation. I disagree. The support you guys have given us over the past few days has been amazing. Thank you so much!

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  • Nothing is worse than having a sick pup! I’m so glad to hear he is feeling better. That picture of him on the bathroom floor is just too cute – poor baby :(

  • Whew! Had me worried there for a few.

  • Ugh, poor guy! Glad he’s feeling better. I hate not being able to communicate with dogs in times like that!

  • So happy to hear Buster’s on the mend! He had us worried! :) (And hugs to Ty, too. Don’t want him to feel left out!)

  • I am so glad to hear that Buster is feeling better! Don’t tell anyone I said this but when one of the Newfs get sick I am usually more worried than if one of the kids get sick! Kids can tell you what is wrong-throat hurts, belly hurts…etc, with a dog you have no idea and that’s scary!

  • There are many other safe replacements… stuffed kongs, sterilized bones (stuffed or not), elk antlers, etc. I hope Buster is well on the way to feeling 100%. :-)

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