Car Travel with your pet

This blog will focus on car travel but is relevant for other forms of travel too…dog-driving.

These days when the family organizes a holiday, their Fur-Kid is often included as well (amazing!) There are lots of pet friendly places to choose from so why not bring your pet along for the trip!

Sitting in a car for several hours can be difficult for everyone, but is made even worse if your pet suffers from car sickness or anxiety when traveling. It is estimated that 15% of dogs suffer from motion sickness but a large number of these dogs are going undiagnosed or untreated. Thankfully there are lots of treatment options to help your Fur-Kids car trip be an enjoyable one.

Motion sickness can be caused by many things, including a disturbance with the inner ear.

If left untreated it can lead to the development of anxiety when in the car. This anxiety can then lead to your pet vomiting in anticipation of a car trip e.g. vomiting in the car before you even start moving.

Car sickness is quite common in puppies and some may grow out of this as they get older and their ear canals mature.air-sickness-bag

What signs may you see in your pet if they suffer from motion sickness?

  • Drooling
  • Pacing
  • Panting
  • Lip licking or excessive swallowing

These signs may occur very soon after the car starts or may take a few hours to occur. With true motion sickness, these symptoms start when the car is moving.

If you believe your pet may suffer from motion sickness we recommend you make an appointment with one of our veterinarians. During this consultation we can address your concerns and check for conditions that may be worsening the motion sickness e.g. ear infection. We will determine if your pet is suffering from true motion sickness or anxiety to travel. From there we can tailor a treatment plan.

How can you prevent motion sickness?

  1. Avoid feeding your pet several hours prior to the car trip
  2. Allow fresh air and ensure your pet is cool. Warmth can worsen car sickness.
  3. Allow your pet to be able to see out of the front of the car e.g. central seat of the back and position them in the direction that the car is moving (facing forward) can help lessen motion sickness.
  4. Always ensure your pet is well secured in a car harness or well secured carrier/crate.
  5. Try to limit stress
  6. Acclimatizing your pet to the car from an early age can help reduce the risk of anxiety and car sickness from developing. This means trying to make car travel a fun experience. We can show you how to do this with your pet.
  7. Motion sickness can get worse with time and lead to anxiety. In some cases specific medication is needed to reduce nausea and vomiting. These may be needed short or long term.

All the effort you put into gently acclimatizing your pet to the car and managing their motion sickness will have massive benefits. It will make car trips to the vets, going to the beach and/or a holiday house much easier and less stressful for all involved.

Please remember never leave your Fur-Kid unattended in a car, temperatures can rise very quickly even on mild days and put your loved one at risk.

 

 

Filed Under: Furkids, Pets