Travelling With Your Pet

Travelling With Your Pet

Travelling With Your Pet

Travelling With Your Pet

Travelling With Your Pet


Travelling With Your Pet

Most of the use some form of transport on a daily basis, be it a car, bus, train, tram or something else entirely. While we may be used to traveling, for the majority of our pets, being transported between locations is a relatively rare occurrence. For this reason, it can be an event that can cause them great stress, anxiety and in some cases, even panic. Cats, in particular, are known for detesting traveling, and for this reason should stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary, such as a visit to our veterinarian. Nevertheless, sometimes it just isn’t possible to leave your pet at home.

Travelling does come with some degree of risk, particularly if you are taking an animal on your journey. Therefore, it is essential that you do everything that you can to keep both your pet and the humans in your vehicle as safe as possible.

Tips for keeping your pet safe on journeys

-         Secure your pet so he is not free to roam around the vehicle. This could cause the driver to become dangerously distracted. It will also help prevent him from being unnecessarily hurt should an accident occur. Pet traveling harnesses and crates can be used successfully.

-         Do not allow your dog to stick his head outside the window when the vehicle is moving. Forcing air into his lungs may make him sick, and he is at greater risk of injury.

-         Avoid food for an hour before your trip to minimize the likelihood of vomiting.

-         Take fresh water and a bowl and allow bathroom/rest breaks on long journeys.

-         Do not ever leave your pet alone in a vehicle even with the windows down. Theft of animals in this way is common. Overheating is also a distinct possibility and, on a day, where the outside temperature is 85f, the inside your vehicle can reach 120f in just 10 minutes. Animals left in vehicles die, so leaving your pet is an unnecessary and frankly irresponsible risk.

Pets and motion sickness

Many owners, even those with years of experience, are unaware that animals are actually just as likely to suffer from motion sickness as humans are. Motion sickness is the term given to a range of unpleasant symptoms that are sometimes experienced when traveling, particularly when moving at a significant speed. It occurs when the repeated movements - such as bumps and turns - that happen while traveling send different signals to your brain from those that your eyes can see. It is this confusion of messages that can cause you, or your pet, to feel unwell. Stress can also contribute to motion sickness and make it much worse.

The key symptoms of motion sickness include dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Your pet may whine, drool excessively or simply seem very uneasy. He may also yawn repeatedly. Motion sickness is particularly common in puppies due to the slow rate at which their inner ear develops, but other animals of any age can potentially be affected.

Treating motion sickness in pets

There are some things that you can do to help reduce the likelihood of your pet suffering from motion sickness. These include facing your pet in the direction of travel, forwards out of the windscreen rather than looking out of a side window. However, if you choose to place your dog on the front passenger seat of your vehicle, remember to turn the airbag off.

Another beneficial technique is to turn off the AC and instead lower a window on each side of the vehicle. This will help balance the air pressure, which could in turn help reduce your pet’s nausea.

If these methods aren’t sufficient in helping, dogs may be recommended to take CERENIA® - the first and only FDA-approved veterinary medication that prevents dogs who experience motion sickness from vomiting. This medication is suitable for treating motion sickness in the majority of dogs aged 4 months and older. However, it is only available on prescription and our vet will give your canine pal a thorough examination and health assessment before approving her for this drug.

Pets and anxiety about traveling

Traveling is a rare experience for many pets, but even those who have been taken in vehicles on multiple occasions have been known to suffer from severe anxiety. This fear can make some pets behave erratically and make the journey unpleasant, and even dangerous, for everyone in the vehicle. Therefore, it is essential to try and keep your pet as calm and reassured as possible both before, during and after any trip, regardless of how short it is.

If you can, introduce your pet to the vehicle ahead of making your journey. Let him loose inside, making sure he can’t run away of course and let him sniff and become familiarized with the scent and layout of the vehicle. If you can, sit inside with him with the engine running so he can also experience the sounds and feel of the motor. Start with a short trip wherever possible, even just around the block is enough.

If your pet still seems extremely anxious about traveling, you can speak to our vet about the use of medications to keep him calm and comfortable for essential journeys. There are a number of drugs that are prescribed specifically for anxiety that may be beneficial for your furbaby, including trazodone, alprazolam and diazepam. Contact our vet will be happy to make a recommendation as to whether medication may be an appropriate way to make traveling a tolerable experience for your pet.