Travelling with your dog
The upcoming holiday season is usually a time to spend with family or go on a much awaited holiday or camping trip. It may be an opportunity to get some jobs done at home, like the pets’ annual check-ups. Often these activities require travelling your dog…
Whether travelling with your dog to the vet clinic, the groomers, the dog park, your holiday destination, family or friend’s place, or the boarding kennels; a lot of dogs display signs of stress related and sickness behaviours in the car. Such as agitation, panting, salivating excessively, trembling, vomiting, barking, whining, urinating/soiling, attempting to escape etc. Reducing your dog’s stress levels will, in most cases, help to reduce the symptoms of travel anxiety and sickness too.
A dog pheromone spray, which mimics the odour of a nursing mother dog and relax even adult dogs, can help to reduce anxiety during travel. Playing relaxation music can also help to relax your dog. Keeping the temperature inside the car cool, lowering the windows for fresh air and limiting food for a few hours before the trip can help to reduce nausea, and in-turn reducing stress. Exercising your dog about 20 minutes before your drive can help to exhaust your dog and reduce stress also.
Taking your dog on frequent, short car trips to enjoyable places, like the dog park or a nice walk, and making trips to the vet and groomer less frequent, can help him/her associate the car to going to pleasant places and reducing stress for future trips. In severe situations, work with a trainer to desensitise your dog to car rides.
Whatever you have planned for the upcoming holiday season, enjoy and involve your dog. Often the more your dog is exposed to car rides the less stressed they will be about the whole experience. Making travelling your dog much easier for you and more enjoyable for them.
Veterinary Nurse Kirstie Hancock is qualified in animal behaviour with her Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services through the Delta Society. She has lots of great tips and ideas when it comes to misbehaving pets. Keep an eye out for her monthly tips on our Facebook page. Also check out her own business Facebook page - Positive Paws.