It’s that time of year again when many of us go for holidays and take our pets with us. I have a friend who takes her guinea pigs on sightseeing tours of rustic Britain, but most people take their cats and dogs with them. Never taken your pet on holiday? Here are some hints and tips to make it a pleasant experience for you and your pets.
Some cats and dogs find travelling a stressful experience, and sometimes taking your pet on a trip in the car gives you more than you bargained for. As some owners have unfortunately discovered, this makes trips to the vet or family holidays with the pets a complete chore.
Worst case scenario, you may end up with your car reupholstered by the dog or your best pal bouncing up and down like a kangaroo on the back seat.
However, there are ways of making the experience better for your pet and better for you!
Symptoms and Causes
We recommend that you identify the signs that your dog is unhappy in the car.
- Panting heavily
- Salivating, yawning or licking
- Barking, howling or crying
- Over excitement
- Urinating, defecating or vomiting
- Trying to escape the vehicle
Advice and Remedies
Puppies especially can become unsettled in the car as it’s a completely unusual concept and probably quite scary. They don’t understand the strange sounds, why the car is moving or why their surroundings are enclosed. For both puppies and adult dogs, associating the car with good things can help to turn your pet into a happy traveller. Introducing your pet to the car while stationary with the help of treats and favourite toys is always a good place to start! Gradually build up to short journeys and then longer trips.
Many puppies throw up on their first few car trips, but most stop as they become older. For dogs that have problems with motion sickness, there are remedies such as Johnson’s Travel-eze tablets that can help them to feel better. For more challenging situations such as a reluctance to travel in the car, there are products designed to help your pet to stay calm, such as Feliway Spray (for cats), Adaptil Spray (for dogs) and M&C Serene-Um Tablets (for large dog breeds).
Whether you’re travelling with a cat, dog or other pet, you should always take regular breaks for toilet trips, exercise and refreshments. Also, especially when travelling during the summertime, make sure your pet is never left in the car unattended; pets need cool fresh air too, and must never be left to overheat in the car. A great little invention to help your pet to stay cool during road trips is the Chillax Cool Pad, which is activated by pressure, so no plugs, batteries or electricity needed!
For the safety of everyone in the car, try and secure your pet using a car harness, crate or carrier. Allowing your pet to be loose in the car can actually make them more anxious, and you don’t want to be distracted while driving!
Lastly, here’s a tip for bouncy dogs; give them a good long walk before you travel to make them sleepy.