Pets with travel anxiety can have an impact when we travel great distances during the holidays. We want to include our pets who we consider part of the family. But travelling with pets is not always easy – especially if your dog or cat gets motion sickness, or experiences fear of travel.
Signs of Travel Anxiety
Some dogs resist getting into the car, giving out shrill yelps. Cats may meow plaintively, salivating and drooling even before getting into the car. Some pets happily jump into the car, but the moment the engine starts and the car begins to move, their heads hang down and they start to drool, and may eventually be sick. Others look out the window, flicking their heads in different directions as things move by, and quite rapidly they begin to drool and soon get sick.
There are some simple things, Dr Tom Farrington from HomeoPet recommends to help make car rides more comfortable and safe for your pet, and your family.
Helpful Travel Tips
- Seat your pet securely in the car, either with a harness, crate or barrier. It’s dangerous to allow your pet to roam freely in the car, and can be distracting for the driver. For pets with visual cue motion sickness, put them on the floor of the car where they cannot see out.
- If your pet is not accustomed to travelling in the car, take some short trips. Gradually increase the time to get them used to longer rides. Bring a favourite toy and blanket for comfort.
- An empty stomach is more prone to nausea. Give your pet a very light meal in the three hours before travel. Some pets will respond better on a reasonably full stomach, but if it comes up, it’s a lot of cleaning. Keep pets hydrated with small amounts of water.
- Make frequent stops for a toilet break and a little exercise. Be sure your pet is wearing identification tags or has a microchip in case he does run away or get lost.
- Never leave your pet in the car unattended. They can easily overheat, even when windows are left open. Always be careful with an open window—pets may jump out at the wrong time, or get stuck in them.
- Be sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. Ask your vet for a health certificate if needed. Pack any medications your pet is taking, or for emergencies. Look up a local Vet in the area you’re visiting in case of emergency.
- Give your pet Travel Anxiety about an hour before travel.