For every pet owner, traveling with your pet will be necessary at some point. Some pets love to travel but for others, it can be a stressful and anxiety filled experience. You may have just experienced these travel woes over the holiday season. Whether it be a trip to the vet, the groomer, or to go on a vacation, traveling with your pet requires certain precautions to ensure your pet is happy and stays safe.
The most important part of traveling with your pet is to make sure that they are secured and safe. Driving with your pet on your lap or letting your cat roam free in your car is very dangerous for many reasons. Even if you are driving at a very slow speed, you pet could be thrown from their seat if you need to hit the brakes suddenly. In addition, during an accident, airbags can deploy and severely injure your pet if they are on your lap. If it’s possible, crating your pet is the safest way to travel. They are properly contained and many pets actually enjoy the “den-like” feel- especially if you cover the crate with a blanket or sheet. In some instances, crates are not an option. In these cases, pet seat belt harnesses would be a suitable alternative. These products can be found at any pet store or online pet retailer. Pets should also not be allowed to stick their head out the window, while this may feel good to them, it puts them at risk of eye or head injuries from road debris or obstacles that stick out in the road like branches or poles.
If your pet gets sick from anxiety or motion sickness when traveling, it is recommended that you have a seat cover or towels to cover your car so that if your pet vomits, it won’t be as much of a distraction to you worrying about the mess. Veterinarians can also prescribe or recommend certain medications that can help alleviate carsickness in your pet. Additionally, it is recommended to have a pet safety kit ready to help deal with situations like this or if you get stuck somewhere. Your safety kit should include the following: a first aid kit (including any meds your pet may need), treats and toys, food, water, travel bowls, spare leash and collar, and a warm blanket.
To help you pet feel more comfortable traveling, try taking them on trips that don’t involve going to stressful places like the vet. If they only travel to go to these places, they associate car rides with unpleasant situations. Keep special treats on hand that are only for car rides and try to exercise your pet prior to travel to help calm them down. In addition, there are a few non-medication options for travel anxiety. For felines, you could try Feliway Spray or wipes and for Canines, Adaptil collars might be helpful. These products both contain pheromones which can be very calming for some pets. Thundershirts are also available for both dogs and cats.