Much like humans, dogs and puppies can also experience a feeling of illness while on car trips. This car sickness can make pet travel, whether short or long, quite an ordeal for dogs and their families. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help your dog in the car.
The most common reasons for car sickness in puppies and dogs are:
You can look for some common signs of car sickness in your pet, such as:
Typically symptoms will go away shortly after the vehicle stops.
There are a number of treatment options available to help prevent car sickness for your puppy or dog. Physical comfort in the car, reconditioning, medication and holistic treatments can all help to make car traveling a lot easier on your dog.
1. Physical Comfort in Car: Try these options to help make the car ride as physically comfortable as possible for your dog.
2. Reconditioning: Sometimes reconditioning will help your dog to relax in the car. Reconditioning is needed if your dog associates riding in the car with something bad, like getting sick or going to the vet. Reconditioning takes patience for both you and your dog. Here are some tips to help recondition your dog.
3. Medication: There are times when medications are necessary to help your dog during pet travel. Some over-the-counter and prescribed medications are listed below.
Always discuss any medications with your veterinarian before using to make sure your dog is healthy, the dosage is correct, and that the medication won’t harm your dog.
4. Holistic Approach: Holistic treatments are another option for a dog parents to try. Some common holistic choices are listed below.
Always discuss any holistic remedies with your veterinarian before using to make sure your dog is healthy, the dosage is correct, and that the treatment won’t harm your dog.
Patience and training may help in preventing car sickness during pet travel. You may also need to stock up on certain medications or holistic remedies to help calm your dog if physical changes and reconditioning don’t do the trick. Hopefully, with time and a little effort your dog will be able to ride safely and happily in your car!
It's almost time to go over the river and through the woods and start your holiday travels with your pet, possibly staying at pet friendly hotels along the way. Before you start thinking of presents and egg nog, keep in mind that it's important to plan ahead for pet travel and always keep the best interests of your furry, four-legged friend in mind. Traveling with your pet can be a wonderful and bonding experience or a not so pleasant one. It's all a matter of proper planning and preparation.
Your first decision is whether to bring your pet along with you on your trip. Not all pets are suited for travel. While it may be very tempting to bring your pet with you, keep in mind that not all pets are happy travelers. Things to consider include your pet's temperament, any physical impairments, or if your pet suffers from an illness. If you're uncertain whether your pet is suited for travel, you may want to consult with your veterinarian.
If you determine that your pet is up for the trip, then following some common sense tips will help to ensure that your Thanksgiving travels with your furry friend is enjoyable for both of you!
Hitting the Road
Careful preparation is the key to ensuring that you and your pet have a happy and safe trip.
Pet travel is on the rise. No longer are dogs and cats staying at home while their humans venture off to run errands or a go on a family vacation. Whether you're traveling across town to go to the pet store or to a pet friendly hotel, vacation rental or bed & breakfast across the country with your pet, it's important to make sure that they are properly secured in your vehicle.
Pet car seats are one very popular option that many dog parents choose to secure their four-legged friend in their vehicle when they travel. These are primarily used for dogs (as cats are best suited for travel crates/kennels).
You can find pet car seats in various sizes depending on the size of your pet. However, they do not accommodate larger dogs. The largest car seats for pets out there typically hold dogs up to 35lbs. In addition to properly securing your pet in your vehicle, most pet car seats also serve as a booster! They give smaller dogs a boost to allow them to look out the window (but remember, no heads out the window!).
Most pet car seats are secured to the vehicle seat similar to how child car seats are secured. They are strapped in using the car's safety belt. The pet car seats also have a lead attached to them. The lead is attached to the pet's harness. That's right, a harness! You should never attach the lead to a collar as this could possibly cause strangulation if you were ever in an accident. As another safety precaution, it is recommended that pet car seats are secured in the back seat.
There are all kinds of shapes, sizes, fabrics, and colors to choose from when it comes to pet car seats. Quilted, plaid, magenta, cozy lamb's wool interiors, funky capsule looking seats â€“ there is something for every pet traveler! There are also accessories for pet car seats. When you make pit stops on your way to your pups favorite dog friendly hotels, you dog can eat and drink from a car seat travel rack which holds food and water bowls. Some pet car seats have storage compartments so your pet can bring along some of their favorite toys or pet travel treats on their way to grandma's house or to pet friendly accommodations! What if you have multiple little dogs? No problem. There are even pet car seats that safely accommodate more than one pet!
No matter what pet car seat you choose, it's very important to allow your pet to get used to it before you hit the road. The first step would be to get them used to wearing a harness if they have never worn one before. Let your pet wear the harness around the house for awhile and then take them on walks using the harness. Each pet is different â€“ some pets instantly take to the harness, others take some more work. The next step is getting them used to the car seat. Put the car seat on the floor in your house and let your pet sniff and explore it. Practice securing your pet in the car seat in your home. When they are comfortable, bring it into your vehicle. Go for short rides, and then gradually build up to longer rides. Again, some pets will automatically take to it without any problem; others may take a little time. You know your pet best, so be sure to be patient as to not make it stressful for them.
When hitting the road on your next pet travel adventure, be sure to consider a pet car seat as a safe way to secure your pet in your vehicle.
While the biggest road safety concern was once driving under the influence, it has been discovered that simply driving while distracted – while eating, applying makeup, or using a cell phone, for example -- can be a dangerous endeavor. Over the past few years, texting and driving in particular has proven to be a very serious road hazard; it has cost a number of lives, and 42 states have developed laws and campaigns against it.
Now many states are focusing their attention on a new potential driving danger – one that has gone virtually unnoticed for years, but may prove to be just as much of a danger as texting and driving. This one involves the fairly common habit of driving with a pet on one’s lap.
The problemThere are no real statistics to say exactly how many accidents have been caused by drivers allowing pets on their laps in recent years. However, the potential danger is real. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety notes that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chance of a crash. It would only take two seconds for a frightened or excited pet to suddenly climb up onto your neck, attempt to jump out a window, claw you, or crawl under the brake pedal.
The factsA 2011 AAA and Kurgo survey examined how and why people drive with their pets, as well as any potential distractions traveling with pets might cause. They found that nearly 60 percent of respondents had driven with their pets in the last month, and a full 31 percent admitted to being distracted by their pet while driving. Among the more common distractions: reaching in the backseat to interact with a pet; feeding and petting a pet; and taking a pet’s photo while driving.
Nearly one in five respondents admitted to either allowing their pet to sit on their lap or holding them while driving. Twenty-three percent admitted that they use their hands or arms to try and secure their pet when they hit the brakes.
The reasonsRespondents offered several reasons for not keeping their pets restrained in the car. The biggest of these reasons had to do with their pet’s perceived temperament; responders reasoned that if their pet was calm, there was no need for restraints. Many respondents had simply never given thought to the idea of using a pet restraint. Some felt that restraints weren’t necessary on short trips, while others noted that they wanted their dog to be able to put his head out the window.
The dangersWhile potential accidents are reason enough to reconsider driving with your pet on your lap, there are other very real dangers to keep in mind. If a crash – even a minor one -- were to occur, a small pet could easily be crushed by a deployed airbag, or thrown from a car and injured. Many times pets escape from the vehicle after an accident and run away or run out into traffic. What’s more, during a crash an unrestrained dog can act as a dangerous airborne projectile. As AAA National Traffic Safety Programs Manager Jennifer Huebner-Davidson notes, “An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert roughly 300 pounds of pressure . . . Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and anyone in its path.”
The solutionStates are taking notice of the potential dangers driving with a pet on one’s lap can cause. The state of Hawaii has made it illegal to carry a pet on one’s lap while driving, and many other states have either introduced, considered or enacted legislation related to unsafe pet travel. Some states have created specific ordinances regarding where in the car your pet can safely travel, and driving with your pet on your lap can earn you a traffic stop or a fine. Even in some states where there is no specific law pertaining to driving with a pet on your lap, you can still be cited for doing so under broader distracted driving laws.
It’s evident from the AAA study that increased awareness would likely also make a great deal of difference in how people drive with their pets. AAA notes that drivers who have heard of cases where unrestrained dogs were injured or caused injury to someone during a crash were three times more likely to use a restraint than those who had not.
While we love and enjoy traveling with our pets, the best way for them to ride along with us is to be safely secured in the back seat or cargo area of an SUV. There are any number of vehicle pet safety solutions that are comfortable for dogs and cats that still allow them enough freedom of movement to enjoy the ride. For a very little investment pet parents can have peace of mind by ensuring the safety of their furry kids.
My dogs are my kids, and I love spending time with them. I would be completely happy to take them everywhere I go, and I know that other pet parents feel the same way. However, as fun as it seems, the decision to take a pet on the road – particularly on a lengthy trip – is one that requires some thought. Before you load your pets in the car, it’s important that you take some factors into consideration – keeping their best interests in mind.
Does Your Pet’s Temperament Lend itself to Road Trips?Some of my dogs are more easygoing than others, and some of them enjoy road trips more than others. If your pet is adaptable and friendly, choosing to take him along is a pretty easy decision. However, if he’s nervous, uneasy on car rides, or if he gets anxious going to new places or meeting new people, he may not be an ideal travel companion (not to say that he can't be with a llittle bit of training).
It’s also important to consider others when you plan your trip. If you will be going anywhere where there may be crowds, children, or other pets, your pet needs to be well-behaved and well-socialized.
Will Your Pet Enjoy the Trip?Will your pet be comfortable? Will he enjoy the activities you have planned? All of my dogs love a good outdoor adventure, so a hiking or beach trip is a no-brainer. Tucker loves coming along when I go window shopping, or when I stop for lunch at a dog friendly restaurant. You know your dog best, so you are the best person to judge whether he would have a good time.
If you will be stuck in meetings throughout your trip and forced to leave Fido in doggie day care (many pet friendly hotels prohibit pets from staying in your room without you), or if you and your Great Dane will be staying in your sister’s tiny apartment, you may want to reevaluate whether your pet should come along on.
Is Your Pet in Good Health?If your pet is unwell or hurt, your first instinct may be to travel with him so you can keep an eye on him. After all, who would care for him better than you? However, it may be best for your pet to stay behind until he feels better. After all, he may need more care than you can give him while you’re busy driving, and since he can’t tell you how he feels, there’s no real way of knowing how uncomfortable he really is. Pain and discomfort can even cause your pet to act out, making him a less-than-pleasant travel companion.
If your pet is elderly, but otherwise feels well, you’ll need to make the call. If he is used to taking car trips, still enjoys them, and feels comfortable, taking him along will probably be good for him. If you’re undecided, a quick consultation with your vet can help you figure out whether taking him along is in his best interest.
Are You Traveling Across State Lines?Different states have different regulations and restrictions when it comes to pets. Some states require quarantines for cats, dogs and other carnivorous pets, and some require you to have an up-to-date certificate stating that your pet is in good health. While you may in all likelihood never be asked to present it, it’s best to ask your vet for a good health certificate if you plan any interstate travel.
If your pet is healthy, friendly and easygoing, hitting the road together is a fantastic way to break up the day-to-day routine and embark on some fun adventures. It’s also a great opportunity to spend quality time together. However, even if your pet isn’t the perfect travel companion right now, it doesn’t mean he never can be.
There are a number of ways to successfully deal with temperament problems. With good training and patient coaching, your pet can become less sensitive to stimuli and more comfortable with travel. Be aware that most desensitizing techniques take time to work, and if you want your pet to be a happy travel companion, you’ll need to be patient and understanding and let him set the pace.
If your pet suffers from travel anxiety, planning brief trips, or planning trips that end up somewhere exciting and fun can help teach him that travel is rewarding. If your pet experiences motion sickness during car rides, there are a number of remedies that may alleviate his suffering, including holistic remedies, reconditioning and medication.
All told, with a little bit of patience and some hard work from both of you, even a reluctant pet traveler can learn to like car trips, opening up new opportunities for you both to explore and enjoy each other’s company.