How to travel with a happy pet
Travelling with our animals can be great fun if we make the right arrangements, but poor planning can make the whole ordeal very stressful. Here are some tips to make your pet comfortable during your travels:
Practice makes perfect: If you can, do a practice-run before embarking on a lengthy road trip. Place your pet in a carrier or in the back seat, and take a calm, relaxing drive to the beach or a nearby park. This quick test should give you an indication of how they’ll respond to a long journey.
Queasiness: Motion sickness is more common in younger pets because their ear structures used for balance haven’t fully developed yet. If a car ride does result in nausea, then your fur-kid may begin to associate the experience of travel with uncomfortable sensations.
To treat motion sickness, vets often recommend turning the air conditioning up to keep the vehicle cool or equalising the air pressure inside the car by lowering the windows slightly.
You should also help your pet face forward while travelling. Dogs can be strapped into their seat with a specially designed canine seat belt, which can be handy.
Buckle up: Always make sure that your pet is suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving. According to South African regulation, an animal may not occupy a position in the vehicle which may prevent you from exercising complete control over the car’s movements.
They also need to be secured so that they don’t injure you or themselves if the car needs to stop abruptly.
Passenger airbags are primarily designed to brace people against impact, so remember to position your animal’s seat as far away from the dashboard as possible if they’re in the front seat, or better yet, use a crate or kennel in the back seat.
Micro-chip your pet: Having your animal microchipped before a trip helps in the unlikely event he/she goes missing. Similarly, a collar with your current contact details is a must, and remember to keep it on your pet at all times.
Make a checklist: To help you remember what to pack, here's a small checklist of useful items you’ll want to pack in the car to give your pet some peace of mind:
- Medication and First Aid Kit.
- Water and a bowl.
- A toy
- Blanket or bedding
- Grooming supplies
- Waste bags