Traveling with your Pet? Here’s Five Tips for Making it a Pleasant Trip
on July 21, 2008
Posted in Cats
Whether you’re traveling with cats or dogs, it can sometimes be a challenge to make the trip comfortably. This article will specifically discuss a few helpful tips to make car travel more comfortable, and therefore more pleasant, for both you and your pet. The following five tips for pleasant travels with your pet can be easily followed regardless of whether you have a cat or dog.
- Let your pet investigate – If you want your dog or cat to be comfortable with car travel one great, and easy, tip is to let the investigate your car a few times before you go on your trip. Your dog will enjoy sniffing around to see what he can find and the chance to familiarize himself with this new environment will reduce anxiety when it actually comes time to travel. The same goes for cats. They tend to show higher anxiety levels in new environments so exposing pets to your vehicle on a few different occasions when you’re not actually traveling will help them adjust to the trip.
- Practice makes perfect – One simple idea is to take your dog or cat on several shorter trips first. Driving around locally will allow them to grow more confident traveling in the car and it also gives you a chance to judge their reactions. Many animals will have absolutely no problem with going in the car while others will show some signs of stress. Plus, if you practice with mini trips it’ll be easier to deal with any emergencies that may come up.
- The first destination should be a pleasant one – Animals are not stupid. If you were to take your dog or cat for an unpleasant veterinary trip on their first time in a vehicle, chances are they’re going to associate the car with that unpleasantness. This can make future car trips extremely stressful for both pet and owner. Instead, take your pet somewhere that they are likely to enjoy themselves, like the park for example, so that they can associate car travel with having a good time.
- Car sickness might be the biggest problem – Many animals suffer from car sickness and, rather than behavioral problems, this is often the biggest issue pet owners face. The fact is that car travel is not exactly a natural activity for animals or people and often car sickness will result. It’s best not to travel immediately after a meal.
- Acclimatize to the pet carrier – Traveling with a pet carrier is the safest way to travel by car for your pets. Unfortunately, pets are often very reluctant to go in a pet carrier. As such, it is important to familiarize your cat or dog with their pet carrier from a young age. Let them sleep in it, for example.
Sign up for our newsletter and receive more articles and the latest pet health updates and special offers.
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan