Traveling With Pets

A Note From Dr. John:

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year mean great food, family time, and often, extended travels.  The thought of traveling is exciting for many of us; for others, it’s stressful.  But what about for your pets?  Some pets LOVE to travel. Others get nervous, scared, or nauseous at the mere sight of a car.  For those of you whose pets like to travel- congrats!  Your job is easy.  For those whose pets do not travel well, there are numerous options to help alleviate the stresses of car rides. 

  • Nausea. For those pets who are apt to “toss their cookies” in your newly washed and vacuumed ride, try administering an anti-nausea medicine.  The best option on the market is Cerenia.  This medication is very safe and is used at high doses for car sickness.  The anti-nausea effects are going to last about a day, but they may leave your pet feeling drowsy (although maybe that’s a good thing if they are stressed in the car).  Other options include ondansetron, meclizine (non-drowsy Dramamine), and Benadryl.  Your selection is going to depend on your pet’s need as well as your budget, so make sure to consult with your veterinarian.  
  • Stress.  If a short ride in the car is your pet’s idea of purgatory, the thought of an extended trip to Grandma’s house might push them over the edge.  The good news is that there are many anxiety medications that can be very effective for fear of car rides (as well as fear of fireworks, loud noises, etc.).  Short-acting options such as trazodone and acepromazine are also great options, however, both have side effects, so make sure to discuss these medications with your veterinarian prior to trying them out. 
  • Uneasiness/instability.  Let’s say that your pet likes to ride but has a hard time getting comfortable.  Maybe they are old and arthritic.  Maybe they are top-heavy and have terrible balance like my dog.  Or maybe you just want to make sure that your new leather seats aren’t destroyed in a single car ride.  Whatever the reason, we’ve got you covered.  Check out the many harnesses, seat belts, baskets, and seat covers that are available to make your pet’s ride as comfortable as possible.  These items will give your pet a “safe space” in the car and provide some stability as you make your way to Granny’s for the holidays.  

Our information is not intended to replace the advice of your veterinarian.  Do not use this information for diagnostic purposes. Always take your pet to your veterinarian to obtain a diagnosis and course of treatment.