What do I do if my pet gets sick in a foreign country?

Having a sick pet in a foreign country won't be quite so scary if you're prepared. See more pet pictures.

­There are few things more frightening than the feeling of helplessness you get when a pet becomes ill and you don't know what to do or where to turn­. Being in a foreign country when your pet gets sick can be doubly difficult. Beyond the anxiety you feel about your pet's health problems is the challenge of communicating your need for help to others, and the importance of making certain that your pet is getting the best possible care. When you plan a trip, you're usually not thinking about the things that can go wrong, but doing some research and planning now can save you time and anxiety later when you're traveling with an animal companion that becomes ill unexpectedly.

A beloved pet can be your best friend, and it's natural to think of it as a good travel companion, but make sure that you're doing the best thing for your pet before you include it in your plans. All travel spots aren't created equal, and knowing the specifics about your destination, like import restrictions, potential predators and pet-related illnesses, will help you make the right decision. And, if you do travel with your pet, be prepared for the problems that arise.

­Ask yourself some important questions. Is your pet a good tra­veler? Is it young enough to meet the challenges of the trip? Will it really enjoy the rigors of being quarantined without you close by, long plane rides or potentially long delays confined in a small carrier?

Honestly evaluating your pet's fitness, researching your travel plans with your pet's welfare in mind, and planning in advance for your pet's possible needs are the best ways to prepare for and handle a pet's illness when traveling.

In the next section, we'll talk about planning ahead for a trip to a foreign country with your pet.