Make Car Rides Less Stressful
We’ve all seen dogs in cars – heads out the window, tongues wagging in the breeze. They look like they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. For many pet owners, however, the reality is a bit different. There are lots of dogs that get sick in the car, and some are terrified of vehicles altogether. Cats can also be a bit of a handful in the car, screaming, scratching, or urinating out of fear. If your pet would rather be anywhere than in the back seat of your vehicle, here are some tips to help make car rides less stressful.
How to Make Car Rides Less Stressful
Secure Your Pet – Your pets should always be secure in a harness or carrier in the car. Both for their safety and yours.
Crack the windows to allow air flow, which can be calming to your pet.
Sit in the car without moving – Have your pet sit in the car without leaving the driveway. Feed him treats, and maybe even a meal in the car to help him associate the car with good things.
Start with short trips – Take your pet for a spin around the block to help them get used to the motion of the car. Each week, make the trip a little bit longer.
End up somewhere fun – As you try to get your dog used to the car, take trips to the park or some other fun destination. It will give him something to look forward to, and he will associate the car with fun and exciting endings.
Talk to your vet about medication – If you try the above tips and your pet just won’t relax in the car, you can talk to your vet about medication. There are several over-the-counter meds that can be useful in preventing vomiting, or the vet may prescribe an anti-anxiety drug. Medication should always be a last resort, however.
What Not To Do
There are some things that you should never do when attempting to make car rides less stressful for your pet, including:
Forcing your pet on long rides – Don’t try to get your pet used to the car by subjecting him to long rides. This will do nothing to solve the root cause of the anxiety, and will likely make the situation worse.
Punishment – If your pet messes in the car, throws up, cries, or whines, don’t punish him. He won’t understand why you’re upset, and it will only give him more reason to be fearful of the car.
Medicate your pet without veterinary supervision – Some websites will tell you to try certain OTC medications for pets with motion sickness or anxiety. While some may be effective, you should never attempt to medicate your pet without first consulting your veterinarian.
It can take a while to get your pet to relax in the car, and some will never get over their difficulties. If you are patient and invest the necessary time in helping your pet overcome his fears, and you may soon find that car rides can be fun for everyone, including your pet.
Hope this helps!
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