Car Anxiety In Our Pets
The sun is out, the weather is great – this is the time of year many people like to do something! It may be a hike in the woods, a walk on the beach, a trip to the cottage, or even a check-up at the vet’s office. If a road trip with your pet is in your future, here are some tips for making it more fun for everyone.
Sadly, many people only take their pet on a drive when they are going to the vet. So, it’s no wonder that your buddy is anxious when you put him in the car. Our advice is to take your dog on some fun trips so he understands that car rides can be fun!
The signs that your buddy may not like car rides can be subtle, panting, mewing, or whining. Or, they may be pronounced: barking, drooling, shaking, soiling, or vomiting.
So how do you make your pet more comfortable on a ride? First, your dog or cat should be restrained in the car (crate or harness/seatbelt) to stay safe. Then, start taking them on short, fun car rides—just a quick trip for a walk in the park or to visit a friend.
Bring a water dish and some water if you’re driving for more than a quick trip. Pack a few of his favorite toys so your buddy feels like he’s in familiar surroundings, and finally, bring treats too. Many dogs love having fresh air, so open the window enough to let some in (again, be sure your dog is secure, and don’t let them have their head out the window as things can get into their eyes).
Before even starting the car, give Fido some treats, pats, and praise to make a car trip rewarding. Continue with the treats and praise while driving. Stop after just a few minutes, take a walk and give more treats. If you continue to do these things, your dog’s association for car rides will change from spooky to fun!
If you are doing the above and your buddy is still anxious, some people have had good luck with over-the-counter calming chews, a Thundershirt, or pheromones.
Some dogs (just like humans) get car sick, and that’s never any fun. If this is happening with your dog or cat, speak to your vet about an anti-nausea drug to help with the motion sickness.
Most often, cats travel by car in a carrier. A tee-shirt with your scent on it or a favorite toy may help relax her if she gets anxious; try soft music in the car and some treats.
With a little planning and maybe an Rx, your buddy may very well learn to enjoy a car trip! This can open up new worlds for you both!