Travelling with our animals can be a stressful time if thought and care is not placed into making it a positive experience. Trips, whether being only 20 minutes or a couple of hours, should be planned and thought out days prior to travel.
For dogs, we want to teach them to travel well when they are young. This way, a more positive experience can be made from the start, and future travels will not be as stressful. Appropriate restraint cannot be emphasized enough with travel. For small dogs, a carrier should be used. Prior to travel, it can be kept around the house as an area where they can sleep, eat, and feel comfortable in. While driving, the carrier should be placed on the floor behind the passenger seat. For larger dogs there are commercial canine seatbelts which are available; as well, a crate or cage set up in the trunk of the vehicle is a great alternative. Dogs love to look out the windows while driving; it can provide them with great stimulation as well as make the trip a more positive experience. It is important to remember the safety of our beloved animals when it comes to windows. They can be rolled down but only small enough so that they cannot stick their heads out of it. This helps protect our animals from flying debris from the road, accidental closing of the window, and prevent any escaping.
Cats are usually considered to be “home-bodies”; they aren’t always receptive to new environments. Just as with dogs, it’s important to help our cats get used to their carrier prior to the trip. Keeping it out for them at home to relax in and keeping a towel or shirt that smells like home can help them feel more comfortable. Keep the carrier on the ground behind the passenger seat while travelling in the car to ensure their safety.
Written by: Briarwood Animal Hospital