Spring has sprung and it's time to get away somewhere for a couple of days. But car rides are never fun when your pet is feeling anxious or has motion sickness. With these few quick tips, you can keep the fun rolling.
Know your dog
Every dog is different and adapts differently to a car in motion. Some pets are easy and breezy and fall asleep right away, others will just not sit still. There are those troublesome few where you can tell with a glance that they'll be tossing out their breakfast as soon you get going. Finding out how your pets behave in the car will be key to dealing with them on a long road trip. So, pay close attention to how they act on your first ride together, and you'll know what to look for to help them adjust.
Help your dog adjust to your car
Before even starting the car, bring your pets inside, have them sniff it out and make them familiar with their new environment. Sit down, bring some treats and some of their favorite toys or blankets to help them associate the car with their home and their owner.
No food for a dog with a sensitive belly
Even after the dog becomes comfortable with the car, they can still get tricked by the motion of the car, and all the treats and comforting done before will just end up right back on the seat. This one is tough, but as unfun throwing up is for us, it is even less fun for your pet, so the rule must be "no food before a road-trip". As heartbreaking as it can be to deny your pet their long-awaited meal, even vets recommend a minimum of 6-8 hours, and up to 12 between your pet's last meal and the start of your trip. Water for hydration is allowed.
Limit your dog's movement while the car is in motion
The ideal scenario for your dog is to have someone else do the driving, while you sit the back with your dog to steady them and be that sense of comfort. If you're the designated driver, finding a way to have your pet stay put will work great to settle their anxiety. A pet seat belt attached to a harness to limit their movement can be helpful or you can also look into pet travel carriers that have also been shown to soothe anxious dogs during travel. These come in different sizes, varieties, and some are even designed for front seats.
Fresh air and potty breaks
We've all seen that picture of dogs sticking their head out of the car window and it does work. Dogs love it, it soothes their motion sickness and gives them a point of focus to look at out the window, that quiets their anxiety. For long rides on the highway, when the window can't be rolled down, a break from the car for your dog to stretch their legs and shake that cabin fever will break up the long trip, for you and your pet.
Whenin doubt, ask the Vet
And of course, the final fix is to try medication. Now, these can be tricky as sensitive tummy dogs can react unpredictably. Some get too sleepy and stay passive well after the ride which can frighten a lot of pet owners and make them shy away from trying medicine. If you are considering it definitely consult your vet. Web-MD for dog care might have some tips, but they can't compare to your regular vet. There is a variety of medial aids, and a professional will know if your dog needs a milder or stronger kind, or even suggest a natural herbal way to soothe your dog.
With this basic kit to prep your pet for the trip, you won't miss out on all the fun ahead for a pleasant trip ahead.