Posted on November 29, 2016: Car sickness, affects all living beings, which includes your pet. Nevertheless, it’s often inevitable that you need to ferry your pet in a car like going to the vet or visiting family. How do you make traveling comfortable, in that case, especially for a pet who has motion sickness?
Dr D G Dighe, a Vasai-based vet says, “Dogs who travel regularly in cars, are less likely to fall asleep, as they get used to the commute. If you take a pet for a car ride out of the blue, the probability is higher that he/ she may fall ill, as he/she isn’t used to this. It’s a good idea to take them on drives to make them habituated to vehicular travel.” This may be recommended to avoid a scenario wherein urgent travel makes the pet unduly ill. For instance, if you suddenly take your ailing pet who isn’t acclimatised to travel by car to the vet, his/ her condition may worsen.
If you’re certain that your pet has travel sickness, then it’s best to be safe rather than sorry. We pop an anti-car sickness pill thirty minutes before boarding an automobile if we feel that we will not be able to bear the ride. Likewise, a pet needs to be administered a medicine which controls travel sickness before a drive. Dr.Dighe advises, “Avomine tablets work at times. You can administer half a tablet to a dog weighing 10 kg to 20 kg. If the dog is heavier, then he/ she may be given a full tablet. For cats, a quarter of a tablet may be sufficient.” Please consult your vet to make sure that the anti-sickness medicine you are giving your animal is suitable to his/her particular condition.
Prefer free drive
Traveling by car is all the more uncomfortable if it’s through heavy traffic. Every time, brakes are administered, the car jolts back, the head reels. If the journey has numerous such jolts, the dizziness obviously increases. It is recommended that the drive is made at a time when there is minimal vehicular traffic. Dr. Dighe advises, “It’s best for pet parents to choose night time for a drive. Moreover, pets don’t get a heat stroke if they travel during night time. Ideally, you may need to stop over at intervals. During that time, the pet needs to be taken out of the car, given time to relieve himself/herself and pacified.”
If you make your pet stomach a full bellied greasy meal right before a long car drive, he/ she will most likely throw up. Feed him/ her a light nutritious meal, at least an hour before the car trip. Some advise, that this meal needs to be, three to four hours before a drive. Excess water should also not be given.
If your dog throws up, please don’t lose your temper. Instead be calm and composed, and treat your pet with great kindness. Comfort him/ her tenderly. Dr. Dighe says, “If the pet throws up in the car, he/ she gets dehydrated. So, you have to rehydrate him/ her. You can provide Electral in cold water.” Always ensure that your pet has access to clean drinking water at all times.
The pet must not feel claustrophobic inside the car. Dr. Dighe says, “The space inside the vehicle needs to be sufficient enough for him/ her to move about. He/ she shouldn’t feel as if he/ she is trapped. Nor should the environment be suffocating.”
Never confine your pet to the car seat by using appendages. Dr. Dighe cautions, “Seatbelts should be avoided. Also, the dog should not be leashed, as that carries the risk of strangulation. If you are not paying attention to the pet in a moving vehicle, great harm may befall a chained dog.” Some are of the opinion that a dog needs to travel in a crate or a dog safety seat. Place blankets to make the dog’s perch cosy. Entertain him/ her with toys, it may make him/ her less fidgety.
Never allow your pet to look out of the window of a speeding car. He/ she may be injured by flying objects. It’s also dangerous to travel with a pet on an open truck. Just like you shouldn’t leave your human kids in a parked vehicle, do the same to your furry babies. The car may be converted to a furnace on a warm day and in chilly climes it can get icy cold. Depending on the environmental temperature, the pet can either suffer from heat stroke or freeze to death.
Pack for your pet, who is traveling with you. Remember to take with you: leash, travel papers, bowl, food, plastic bags, waste scoop, medication, grooming supplies, pillow, toys and a first aid kit. A well-rested dog may be extra energetic in the car. If you exercise your dog before the trip, he may be less restless while inside the car.
Once you arrive at your destination, compliment and reward your pet. Give him/ her a treat and shower him/ her with love for bearing the journey. The more comfortable a trip becomes, the more forthcoming the pet will be to endure another road trip with you. That is indeed the best way to reduce travel anxiety in pets.