Traveling with our pets can be a fun way to share life’s special moments with our companions. While a lot of dogs love car rides other pets dislike or are afraid of being in automobiles. We have some helpful tips to help calm your nervous Nelly (or Nels).
Car anxiety can come in many forms and can be caused by a variety of different variables.
- Motion sickness:
- Young pets are more prone to motion sickness but older dogs and cats can experience its effects too. To fight nausea: It is best for the pet to be facing forward in a moving vehicle so the pets brain can connect with the visual cues that tells him/her that they are in motion. There are a variety of different pet restraints and carriers that will help keep our friends forward and feeling good while riding in the car and will also help protect them should there ever be an automobile accident.
- Get the air moving! Cracking a window or two will keep a steady flow of fresh air circulating throughout the vehicle.
- Another way to combat nausea is to ask your veterinarian about over-the-counter or prescription anti-nausea medications.
- Find That Zen Moment: Finding a way to relax and calm your pet before travel can help reduce anxiety.
- Spraying cat or dog friendly pheromones on the pets seat, bedding, or in the carrier can produce a calming less stressed trip when riding in a car.
- Watch your driving, driving gently without slamming on breaks or speeding up terribly too quick can spike anxiety while traveling.
- Getting a prescription or over-the-counter recommendation through your veterinarian for a sedative before travel may help your pet be less anxious.
- Car training: Go back to the basics and recondition your pet to the car. This can work well for severe anxiety pets.
- You can start by having the pet just sit in a parked car. Reward with treats and praise like crazy. This will give the car a positive feeling. You should repeat this 2-3 times a day until your pet calmly accepts getting in and out of the vehicle. Then you can move to the next step.
- Next, turn on the car but don’t go anywhere. Repeat with small treats and lots of praise until this is accepted and move on.
- Now you can try coasting to the end of you driveway or street and rewarding along the way. Again once this is accepted, proceed to a longer trip. If your pet at any point shows signs of anxiety during this training return to the previous step and recondition.
Making a few quick adjustments to your travel routine will allow you to say goodbye to travel anxiety and hello to the open road with your loving companions!