Summer travels should be a fun time, for you, your family and your pet! Over 90% of long-distance holiday travel is by car and while some dogs in particular can’t wait to get on board and see where you and the open road will take them, traveling with pets is not always easy, especially when the family dog or cat experiences fear of travel, or motion sickness. But there are many things you can do to help make car rides more comfortable and safer for your pet, and your family:
- Know your pet and how they are likely to react and cope with an extended journey. Are they likely to thoroughly enjoy the whole experience, or more likely to end up as sick as a dog?!
- Preparation is key – get your pet accustomed to traveling in the car by taking some short trips which can be gradually increased to get him or her used to longer rides.
- Seat your pet securely in the car, either with a harness, crate or barrier.
- Bring your pet’s favorite toy and blanket for comfort.
- You should feed your pet a very light meal in the three hours before travel, as an empty stomach is usually more prone to nausea. Remember to keep your pet hydrated with small amounts of fresh, clean water.
- Make frequent stops, allowing your dog time to exercise and relieve themselves. However, be sure he is wearing identification tags or has a microchip in case he does run away or gets lost. For cats, such pottie breaks are unlikely to be an option, so make sure your pet carrier has a good, fresh paper base, should your kitty need to relieve herself.
- Be sure your pet’s mandated vaccinations are up to date and ask your vet for a health certificate to bring along on your trip. Pack any medications your pet might be taking, or might need in an emergency.
- Research local veterinarians and emergency clinics in the area you intend to visit.
- Natural support – If you know your pet suffers from travel anxiety and motion sickness, or are not 100% how he or she will cope on a longer journey, a great option is to use HomeoPet’s D-Stress medicine before you begin your trip.