"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love." ~Ernest Hemingway
Perhaps that is why about 30 million people will travel with their pets this year. Planes, trains and automobiles...here are some tips on how to make travel a happy experience rather than a vacation disaster.
Tip 1: Cute But Totally Unsafe...Don't be Fooled
Debris and dirt flying up from the road can cause a pet to lose an eye or have major damage to their eyesight.
If the pet escapes (which happens more often than you might imagine) the pet can be hit by an oncoming car, harming the pet, causing an accident and hurting other drivers. Unrestrained pets can cause a major distraction to the driver of the car which often leads to major accidents. This is a FACT: At 35 MPH, a 60-lb dog becomes a 2,700 pound projectile!
The answer is simple. Using animal restraints is really crucial to pet owners. It is NOT a punishment to the pet; it is in fact a potential life saver. There are many wonderful pet restraint products on the market and every pet owner should have one.
Although driving without securing a child is illegal in all 50 states, only New Jersey bans unrestrained pets in cars. And 98% of dog travelers admit to not properly restraining their pets and 33% of those admit to being distracted by their pets while driving. It's as bad as texting while driving. No laughing matter.
In Australia drivers face hefty fines and jail time if a dog is injured as a result of being unrestrained!
Tip 2: Avoid the Bolt
Many dogs are lost each year when people open the doors of their cars and the pet bolts before the owner can restrain him. This happens a great deal when traveling because the pet is typically more excited and potentially anxious from a longer trip and the commotion which usually precedes a trip. It is so important to put collars (with tags) and leashes on before opening the door. Fumbling with either once the door is open increases the risk that a dog gets lost or injured in the parking lot. And when traveling, if a pet gets loose in a strange place she is more likely to bolt.
Tip 3: Keep Calm - Mentally and Physically
Just like humans, pets can be prone to motion sickness. It’s more prevalent in puppies and young dogs than cats or older dogs. We are dealing with three primary areas that may affect the animal prone to motion sickness: fear and anxiety, stomach upset, and an upset sense of balance due to perceptual differences between the inner ear, eyes, and body position. There are several natural methods that have been shown to benefit these issues.
- Conditioning is really helpful. Take your pet on short car rides to a fun place – a park, a friend’s home, a pet store. Bring along a favorite toy and blanket or towel with familiar scents. Keeping your pet occupied can really help.
- Take your pets on short trips to learn whether they are happier on a full stomach or an empty stomach.
- Moderate exercise about 30 minutes before leaving on a trip can help your pet relax.
- Give your pet a place to curl up and sleep in a constrained cage or carrier.
- Natural remedies have shown great results for calming restlessness and stomach upsets. Ginger has been used for centuries to relieve nausea and vomiting, and essential oils such as lavender and bergamot can reduce restlessness, whining and other signs of stress from traveling.
Our own Travel Calm has worked wonders for many customers. Click here to read some testimonials. It may not work in all cases so we suggest you use it on short trips, like in the tips above, to see what works best for your pet.