For so many of us, our pets are part of the family. It’s always a heart-warming gesture to include them in our adventures, whether it’s a Sunday visit to the park or a seaside holiday.
Travelling with our animals can be great fun if we make the right arrangements, but poor planning can make the whole ordeal very stressful, for both us and our pets. This article will look at strategies we can employ to help our pets feel more comfortable when travelling.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you can, do a practice-run before embarking on a lengthy road trip. Place your little friend in a carrier, or your big friend on the back seat, and take a calm, relaxing drive to the beach or a nearby park. This quick test should give you an indication of how they’ll respond to a long journey.
Motion sickness is more common in younger pets because their ear structures used for balance haven’t fully developed yet. If a car ride does result in nausea, then your fur-kid may begin to associate the experience of travel with uncomfortable sensations.
To treat motion sickness, vets often recommend turning the air conditioning up to keep the vehicle cool or equalising the air pressure inside the car by lowering the windows slightly.
You should also help your pet face forward while travelling. Dogs can be strapped into their seat with a specially designed canine seatbelt, which can be handy.
On that note, be sure that your pet is suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving. According to South African regulation, an animal may not occupy a position in the vehicle which may prevent you from exercising complete control over the car’s movements. They also need to be secured so that they don’t injure you or themselves if the car needs to stop abruptly. Passenger airbags are primarily designed to brace people against impact, so remember to position your animal’s seat as far away from the dashboard as possible if they’re in the front seat, or better yet, use a crate or kennel in the back seat.
Remember to have your animal micro-chipped before a trip in the unlikely event he/she goes missing. Similarly, a collar with your current contact details is a must, and remember to keep it on your pet at all times.
The Road Trip Checklist
To help you remember what to pack, here’s a small checklist of useful items you’ll want to pack in the car to give your pet some peace of mind
Medication & First Aid Kit
Water and a bowl
Blanket or bedding
Of course, necessities such as food, water and treats are always recommended, but it’s important to remember that travelling can be a very tumultuous experience for our pets. To ease uncertainty and panic, always remember to bring along a favourite toy, blanket, or even an item of clothing that smells like you.
Our pets brighten up our lives with their unconditional love and companionship. Bringing them along on vacation will give you peace of mind and is a sure way to spend quality time with them.