Sick As A Dog

Last year, I took my 14-year-old dog on a road trip to Florida with many stops along the way. Since I had an elderly dog with some special needs, I  thought about delaying the trip until I found a sitter for him. I wish I had someone to care for him, but there are not many pet sitters who are extremely good and experienced with all of his sorts of medical conditions. That said, I was willing to take Max on a special “his and mine” trip.

It was a two week vacation at the end of May to visit an old college roommate, so I’m wasn’t sure what I was going to do with him. I have booked a dog friendly accommodation and planned to stop at many parks along the way. I thought this was the sort of vacation you can bring a dog along without troubles, but I was wrong. Max got terribly sick on the road trip, and I had a difficult time getting him proper vet care while we were on the road. Within a week, I thought the worst was over and left him with my friend to stay at the house to recover. Max handled it okay since he didn’t die, but he had his first of many #2 accidents in the house, which indicated that he wasn’t feeling so well. When I took him to the vet, it turns out that I didn’t do such a good job of keeping him on his schedule.

The vet decided to run some routines with Max that are usual, especially when it comes to preparing food. Usually, I’d let him out first thing in the morning, come in and give him food, then let him out again right after. At first, preparing his meals was a chore and preparing his evening bath was even worse because he was too weak to follow his regular routines. His bedtime routine was ridiculous because of the constant diarrhoea and stomach cramping, which meant his potty routine was insanely messy. I postponed taking him outside for awhile, then we would gradually take walks around the beach. By the time he started to feel better, I tried to take him into the water to swim.

That’s what eventually got him to start feeling comfortable from the new changes to recover from his illness. When he came back to stay with my friend, I left my friend the vet’s VERY DETAILED instructions. My friend calls it “The Max Manual” since he had a few lines of “do this and do that” to follow. According to my friend, the detailed instructions were perfect if he wanted to know what needs to be done instead of guessing exactly. He knew the exact routine so that he can replicate it with Max when I was away.

Since I only had to worry about Max getting home safely, you’d think it would be easier, but it’s not. It has been so long since he has been away, I’m not sure how he would do coming back home. In December, I had to go on a trip and Hubby isn’t able to watch him because he travels for work. I decided to cancel because I was unwilling to leave him in someone else’s care, but we’ll see what happens. Apparently, he had an absolute grand time as he enjoyed riding in the van for a safe trip back home.

I can’t advise you about whether to go on vacation or not if you have an elderly dog. I didn’t even know what I would’ve done in this situation if I haven’t visited a vet, but if you do decide to go, don’t be afraid to write down EVERYTHING that your dog should and shouldn’t do. Even if you think that some things are common sense, write down every small thing, no matter how detailed it is. You, your friend, or the pet-sitter will appreciate that he/she don’t have to guess or wonder about how to take care of your dog.

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