If you plan on taking your dog or cat on the road this summer, here are some helpful tips and details from Greenfield Animal Hospital Vet Technician, Haley Hallinan. This will help to ensure that your favorite furry friend is safe, and comfortable, on their long drive.
Not All Pets Are The Same, Know Your Animal:
Some are veterans of the road and have experience of being in the car for long periods of time. But others may not be used to the long trips or may have a high anxiety level. If your pet is extremely nervous, do your best to make the car feel like “home.”
“I always advise clients to put one of their shirts in the carrier or with their pet to make them more comfortable. For cats, there is a synthetic pheromone spray called Feliway—(a spray) that you can use on/in/around the carrier/blanket/towel.” says Hallinan
Unfortunately, certain pets just aren’t cut out for road trips. So, if you’re aware of your fur baby having severe anxiety, you may need to think of other options like leaving them at home with a trusted friend. One common situation is a loose bladder/bowel control in the car. Other reasons include:
-high levels of motion sickness
-sensitivity to extreme temperatures
-neurological issues of any kind
Hallinan says a good way to be prepared is to have a trial run. Take them on a few shorter car rides to see how they react. It will help you make the right call.
You’re Traveling with Precious Cargo:
Always be prepared with the necessities (water, food, bowls, some treats) Hallinan added that responsible driving is a must.
“Don’t drive like you do on a Friday night with friends blasting music in the car. Drive like you have an infant on board. They are your baby after all.”
On your trip, you may have to run to a rest stop or gas station, so you want to make sure that if you’re travelling alone, make these stops as quickly as possible; 15 minutes max. You don’t want your pet panicking or not understanding why you left them in the car, on top of not knowing where they are.
“Keep an inch of windows cracked (weather depending). If you’re able to lock the pet in with AC on, that is fine too. “
No Such Thing as Too Many Stops:
As far as stops and bathroom breaks are concerned, dogs and cats will slightly differ. Cats are a little better at holding for long trips, unlike dogs who are a little higher maintenance. In fact, it may be smart to bring a harness along for your cat just to be on the safe side with a ride lasting over two hours.
Haley’s golden advice for pups? “If you have to go, they probably have to go as well.” Basically, if you’re stopping to get out, then they should have a walk around as well. Even if you don’t have to go, maybe check in every hour or so to see if they need to stretch their legs.
If they’re crying, or they seem restless, talk to them or occupy them with a treat or a toy. If it’s calming for your pup to have their face out the window, give it a little crack (if it is a safe road and not a high-speed limit highway).
Have a safe and enjoyable trip with that furry friend!