Wednesday, November 29, 2023


A few excellent resources to find a veterinarian for your pet while RVing

You are happily hiking with your dog when she suddenly yelps and goes down. You run over to find that your furry friend has a deep gash in her paw. What now? Accidents and illnesses can happen to your pet at any time. It’s more unnerving when it happens while you’re on the road RVing. How do you find a veterinarian for your pet when you’re RVing?

Here are some steps to take:

Home base vet

An important first step is to establish a relationship with a veterinarian in a location you visit at least once a year. (For people who are not full-timers, this will probably mean your hometown.) You’ll want to make sure that your “home base vet” works with online pharmacies. That way you can get ongoing prescriptions filled regardless of your location. It’s also a good idea to choose a “home base vet” who can be reached after clinic hours via an emergency number or one who is affiliated with a 24-hour clinic or animal hospital.

Ask your “home base vet” for a copy of your pet’s complete medical records, and plan to keep them with you as you travel. (Hint: Some RVers prefer to scan their pet’s medical records on a USB drive.) Should an emergency happen while you’re traveling, your “home base vet” should be your first call. This vet knows your pet and can quickly access and send your pet’s medical records to a vet in your area. Talking to someone you know and trust can also help keep you calm in an emergency.

Urgent care on the road

If your pet is older or has specific ongoing ailments, it’s important to know that a vet is available in the locations where you plan to travel. Even if you have a young, healthy pet who accompanies you on hikes and other adventures, there’s always the potential for accidents (rashes, bites, lacerations, accidental poisoning, etc.). Here’s what you can do to be prepared:

  • Ask your “home base vet” for referrals in the areas where you will travel.
  • Talk to other RVers in the campground for vets they may have used.
  • Campground workers will be familiar with the area and may suggest vets or animal hospitals they trust.
  • Search online for vets in the area. Pay special attention to the reviews and comments as you decide on help for your pet.
  • You can also check with the state’s Veterinary Medical Association for a list of qualified veterinarians. Or search the American Animal Hospital Association to locate accredited veterinary practices.
  • Check out other online sites like Go Pet Friendly or emergency pet hospital locator  Emergency Vets USA.
  • Many national pet chain stores (e.g., PetSmart) have in-house vets. Remember that these corporate veterinarians must follow stricter guidelines than an independent vet who may have greater latitude in treatment options.
  • If you have a purebred pet, you can contact local breed clubs for vet recommendations. These vets may have more experience with your purebred breed.

Be prepared!

You never know when a pet emergency will happen. Stock an emergency bag and keep it handy. Include:

  • Pet’s health file (or USB) containing all pet records (checkups, vaccines, blood test results, etc.). Also include an accurate list of all current medications and supplements. Include dose amounts and time(s) administered.
  • “Home base vet’s” contact information (phone, emergency number, email address).
  • Muzzle or pet crate that your pet is used to using. Include a small blanket or piece of clothing with your scent. This may help to calm your pet, especially if you can’t accompany him/her into the exam room.


  • Always ask for a complete report from the vet that treated your furry (or feathered or scaled) pet. This includes blood tests, vet’s diagnosis, and treatment plan (include complete information about any prescribed medications).
  • Put the emergency treatment report (or updated USB) into your pet’s health file.
  • If follow-up visits are recommended, be sure to make and keep the appointments.
  • Check in with your “home base vet” to update your pet’s file and/or ask additional questions.


RV with your furry “kids”? Some tips to keep in mind


Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.



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Sue (@guest_212578)
1 year ago

Wow. We’ve never had a problem finding a vet or emergency clinic for our dogs while RVing all over the US or Canada during the past 30 years. Guess we’ve been lucky.

Spike (@guest_212530)
1 year ago

We are fortunate that our oldest daughter is the practice manager for an AAHA accredited Vet Hospital. Our first call will always be to her.

That said, a couple of years ago we had the same experience many here report on area vets refusing to see a new patient in an emergency.

Our 12 YO Golden retriever fell very ill while we were on a fishing trip near Ely, MN. We called our daughter with all the symptoms and she advised us to get to a local vet quickly. It took about 5 calls with refusals at “city vets” before we finally found a “country vet” that would see her. Unfortunately it was a ruptured tumor on her spleen.

The practice my daughter is at always leaves a few open spots in the schedule for true emergency walk-ins. They charge more for those slots and new clients must pay in advance, but at least service is available.

Angela Klinger (@guest_212517)
1 year ago

I find this terribly sad and disgusting when us RV folks have an emergency while traveling and need a vet and the vets reply is that they are not taking on new patients.

McTroy (@guest_212506)
1 year ago

Our beloved black lab had a seizure and then got very sick while we were visiting near Washington D C. At 2:30AM I started calling emergency vet hospitals only to be told they were full. Can you imagine going to a hospital and being turned away? We finally found a wonderful facility in nearby Chevy Chase. The doctor and staff were professional and very caring. Due to her age and other conditions, she had cancer previously, surgery wasn’t an option and we had to put her down. Then we had the problem of getting her remains home. We were scheduled to leave before they would be returned from the crematorium. The vet did not think they would ship her ashes out of state. We arranged for a family member to get her remains. The good Lord changed our plans with a snow storm and we were able to bring her remains home with us anyway. Sorry, long story but we just can’t be too prepared with our fur babies health.

M. C. (@guest_181116)
1 year ago

Last October our 15 year old dog was very ill. We were in Dolores, Colorado and the local vet was not taking any new patients. Called a couple in Cortez and they also were not accepting new patients. Overnight he went downhill and we drove 50 miles to Durango. It was sad and scary for us. We ended up putting him down. I would think that vets in tourist areas would at least “consider” treating pets in emergencies.

Diane Tricomi (@guest_149016)
2 years ago

This is all Great Info ,when travelling with a pet, Thank You for sharing, I will pass this info along to my RVing Women’s group at our next rally…Diane T

Bob p (@guest_139695)
2 years ago

We just experienced such a situation on our recent trip to the Smokies, our little 3 legged 6 lb Maltese came down with the “squirts”. After 3 days we became worried he had been poisoned by something that had been sprayed on the grass and called every vet in the area but no one could see him, finally we took him to an animal hospital in Knoxville where many tests were performed to the tune of $842. So my advice is to check for a local vet soon after arriving in an area to establish a place to get help. Oh and after we came home two days later DW wanted to take him to the home vet and that was another $72. He’s no longer white he’s pure gold. Lol

Linda C (@guest_139615)
2 years ago

We had a nightmare in Bullhead, AZ when our Pug became ill. We called every Vet within 100+ miles and could not find one Veterinarian that would take a new patient. We ended up going home to Northern California.

mark gipson (@guest_137109)
2 years ago

We have found that many of the RV parks we stay in have a guide or site map that includes advertisements from local businesses that the park recommends. Many of those have advertisements from local Veterinarians that are recommended and often used by the RV Park owners or staff. The guides are a great place to start when you are looking for local services!

TomS (@guest_136927)
2 years ago

If you have pets consider having pet health insurance. All health care costs have risen including pet care. It can be really expensive.

Bob p (@guest_139698)
2 years ago
Reply to  TomS

We are looking into this, we always thought it was too expensive but after our $914 bill it doesn’t seem that expensive.

Lynne Leland (@guest_136906)
2 years ago

As a person hauling horses I was told to call: “Get A DMV” or 1-800-438-2386
I mentioned this to my vet recently and she said it is recognized by their national organization now.

Bob p (@guest_139700)
2 years ago
Reply to  Lynne Leland


Seann Fox (@guest_136834)
2 years ago

Asking other RVs in the campground maybe okay but I think it would be far better to ask a local walking their dog.

Gail (@guest_136875)
2 years ago
Reply to  Seann Fox

Great idea! Thanks!

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