WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y.— The winter holiday season is a time for family and friends to gather, often traveling a great distance to be together. Many families consider pets to be part of their family and choose to take them along. Traveling with pets is not always easy, especially when the family dog or cat experiences fear of travel, or motion sickness.
Some dogs resist getting into the car, giving out shrill yelps, while cats meow plaintively, salivating and drooling even before getting into the car. Some pets happily jump into the car, but the moment the engine starts and the car begins to move, their heads hang down and they start to drool, eventually getting sick after some distance. Others look out the window, flicking their heads in different direction as things move by, and quite rapidly they begin to drool and soon get sick.
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that most long-distance holiday travel, about 91 percent, is by a personal vehicle, such as by car. Below are some helpful tips from HomeoPet to help make car rides more comfortable and safe for your pet, and your family:
- Seat your pet securely in the car, either with a harness, crate or barrier. Allowing your pet to roam freely in the car can be dangerous for the pet and distracting for the driver. For pets with visual cue motion sickness, putting them down on the floor of the car where they cannot see out can often be very helpful.
- If your pet is not accustomed to traveling in the car, take some short trips, gradually increasing his time to get him used to longer rides. Bring a favorite toy and blanket for comfort.
- Your pet should have a very light meal in the three hours before travel. An empty stomach is usually more prone to nausea. Some pets will respond better on a reasonably full stomach, but if it comes up, it could mean a lot of cleaning. Keep pets hydrated with small amounts of water.
- Make frequent stops, allowing pets time to exercise and relieve themselves. Be sure your pet is wearing identification tags or has a microchip in case he does run away or gets lost.
- Never leave your pet in the car unattended. They can easily overheat, even when windows are left open. Always be careful with an open window—pets may jump out at the wrong time, or get stuck in them.
- Be sure your pet’s mandated vaccinations are up to date, and ask your vet for a health certificate to bring along. Pack any medications your pet might be taking, or might need in an emergency. Researching local veterinarians and emergency clinics in the area you intend to visit can save you valuable time in an emergency.
Following these tips can help make your trip less stressful for you and your pet, allowing you to enjoy this holiday season.
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