Road trips and pets

The holidays are here and as families hit the road, below are some tips to make the trip as pleasurable as possible for your furry friend.

Fortunately, most dogs travel reasonably well in the car but for some owners, it can be a stressful experience. On the other hand, it is unusual to find a cat that just loves taking a ride! My first piece of advice when travelling with a cat is – don’t, unless you absolutely have to. Cats are territorial and generally do not enjoy being exposed to new places.

Common signs of car sickness include, drooling, panting, whining, lip licking, trembling and restlessness.  And in the case of cats, you can add howling or meowing, vomiting and diarrhoea.  

Travel tips:

  • If you have a dog or cat that suffers from car sickness or anxiety when travelling, you can get relief with homeopathic remedies. Taking the appropriate remedy for car sickness or anxiety hours, or even a day prior to travel, can make an enormous difference and make for a calm, easy trip.
  • It is safer if you restrain your pet appropriately – a cat in a cat cage/carrier and a dog in a proper harness if sitting in the back seat. Cover the cat cage with a sheet (ensuring sufficient ventilation) as this will reduce stimuli and reduce stress. If a harness is a new thing for your dog, introduce it a few days before the trip so he can get used to wearing it.

  • Teach your cat that her carrier is a great everyday place to hang out. Leave the carrier open at all times, to make it as inviting as possible. Feeding your cat in her carrier can create a positive association.

  • Do not have your pet in the front seat. Driver distraction could cause an accident and a deployed air bag could cause injury.

  • Pack some favourite items – toys, bed, blankets, an old t-shirt that smells like you – as well as treats and a water bowl.

  • Make frequent stops – for a toilet break, to stretch the legs and drink some water.

  • In the lead up to your trip, put your pet in the car, drive around the block and then reward with a treat when you get home to build positive reinforcement. Extend the length of the car trip over a few days.

  • Keep Rescue Remedy in the glove box for your pet – and you!  And make sure you carry a homeopathic first aid kit for your pet should they require treatment for cuts, bruises, burns, stings, etc.

  • Lots of cuddles and treats on arrival at your destination.

Happy holidays!