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What can you do if your pet has anxiety while riding in a vehicle or suffers from motion sickness?

Smartliving Guest asked this
December 28, 2012 at 10:30 AM



From a training perspective, it is very important to work on making riding in a vehicle and the destination fun! Too often, riding in a vehicle is associated with going overnight to a kennel or the vet for shots. Usually, to a dog, both can be a negative experience.

Here are some steps to help desensitize your pet in regards to the vehicle.

To help your pet associate the vehicle as a positive place to be, try doing these simple steps. Simply start by opening the car door, putting your pet in there and giving them a treat, immediately take your pet out and go back into the house with your pet. Repeat this step throughout the day for a few days.

After a few days of just getting treats for jumping into the vehicle and being calm, now it is time for the next step. Turn the vehicle on, put your pet in the vehicle and give them a treat, immediately turn off the vehicle, take your pet out and go into the house with your pet. Repeat this step throughout the day for a few days.

Now, it is time for a "road trip." Start your vehicle, give your pet a treat, make sure your pet is secured safely inside your vehicle, and take a short drive around the block. Return home, turn vehicle off, prior to leaving your vehicle give your pet another treat and go into the house with your pet. Repeat this step throughout the day for a few days, increasing the time of travel inside the vehicle over each day.

When your pet is in a fearful state of mind, this is not the time to reassure them through baby-talk or coddling. Instead, use a very calm, and a matter-of-fact tone letting your pet know that they are fine.

Working with these desensitization methods can help your pet have a more positive experience during a car ride.

It also helps if destinations weren't always the vet or an overnight kennel. Take your pet to a friend's home, visit a dog park, or drive somewhere to take your dog for a long walk.

If your pet is still experiencing stress during a car ride, using natural supplements like Chill Out Chews or Travel Chews through Vetionx can be very helpful in taking the edge off. For motion sickness, please consult your vet for treatment.

Victoria Swanson Health Coach answered
December 28, 2012 at 10:33 AM

If your dog has anxiety while riding in the car, it's best to desensitize them to the experience by starting with very short rides and ending those rides in a fun place such as the park. Cats are a bit different because they don't like change. If you need to take your cat for a car ride, start by setting the carrier out and open for 4-5 days prior to leaving so your cat can get used to the smell. In the car, its best to cover the carrier with a towel. Cats feel safest when hiding. In addition, there are herbal supplements that can help reduce anxiety during car rides for dogs and cats.

Motion sickness is demonstrated by vomiting in the car. This can be lessened or prevented by administering Dramamine 45 minutes prior to travel. Check with your veterinarian for an appropriate dose for your pet.

Dr. Lynn Happel DVM Health Coach answered
December 28, 2012 at 10:35 AM
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