We always want to go places and since our pets are family members we want to take them with us but sometimes it’s really stressful for cats and dogs to travel in cars or planes to come along on trips and visits to different places with us, so here’s a few piece of advice on how to help with this. The stress they experience from this could be for a couple reasons.
If you’re talking about car travel, it could be a matter of motion sickness, if you’re talking about going in the plane it could be the sights and sounds and the temperature related to being and potentially the cargo hold of that vehicle. So first we want to deal with decreasing stress, so if you’re looking at a car trip what you can do with your cat or dog is you can slowly introduce that by actually just letting them get in the car when you’re not even going to be driving anywhere just for them to know the smell of the car and introduce them to their new cage for car travel.
You’ll want to speak to your veterinarian about the dose that you can give and make sure that it’s someone who’s seen your pet recently and gives you the ok that it’s safe to give them or try it prior to traveling. Then what you’re going to want to look at is trying to drive just around the block and seeing how your pet responds to that. Cats and dogs that are stressed will start to pant or salivate sometimes barking excessively or yowl and if you’re thinking about going on a trip for two or three hours, this can become quite an annoyance in the car and it can also be really uncomfortable for your pet experiencing that level of stress.
You can talk to your veterinarian about certain products and medications that can sedate your pet. I’d also want you to look at these things decreasing anxiety as well so there’s a common sedative that we give out and you can talk to your veterinarian about potential sedatives, but keep in mind that even when you sedate a pet, they’re still anxious about what’s going on and they can still receive stimulus during that time.
So you’re going to want to pair that with an anti-anxiety treatment as well. Those come in forms of medication but then also you can get natural or herbal supplements that will decrease that anxiety. You’re going to want to apply those same principles when you’re considering taking a plane ride somewhere and when considering plane travel, think about calling ahead to the airline. They’re usually pretty good about giving you some instruction as to what that trip is going to look like for your pet and what they may experience. They may give you some important details about what type of carriers you can use or what you can provide them with inside that carrier during the time of travel.
Nowadays it’s possible to take your pet if it’s of small enough size into the cabin with you so you can be with it. Sometimes they’re going down into a cargo where is not going to be the same level of temperature. Keep in mind that inside of the crate provides ample blankets just so that they have some body heat keep in mind as well that the sedatives that you use often will decrease body temperature. You’re going to want to provide those blankets so that they don’t experience as much cold as they would otherwise.
By working with your veterinarian, you can provide these options and you can even experiment with it before the day of travel so by using some of the anti-anxiety options (as kennels for anxiety dogs) leading up to the day of travel that will improve their attitude for the actual day of travel. When you are at home and want to provide a little bit of that sedative and see how your pet is affected, that would be a good idea. When you’re talking about sedation all animals are sensitive to medication to a different degree, so if your pet does give you a sedative you’re going to want to start with the lowest dose possible and see how that impacts your pet and then add more every couple hours to achieve that level of sedation that you think is appropriate. By doing this I think you’ll be able to prepare well enough so that your pet experiences the least amount of stress during that travel time because the most important thing to us is your pet’s health.