Stress-Free Travel with your Furry Family Member

Summer is here, and that means family vacations, road trips and lots of outdoor fun. For many Americans, we’re not just loading up the car with kids and luggage. A recent survey by the American Pet Products Association found that 37% of pet owners travel with their pets, and for Baby Boomers that jumps up to 42%.

Taking your pet along for the ride can be a great way to enjoy your vacation without worrying about your dog or cat being lonely without you, facing anxiety about boarding or trying to find a pet sitter. It is also a lot of fun to have your pet with you to walk along the beach or take a ride out on the lake. But sometimes just getting to that vacation destination can be stressful for your pet.

Many dogs and cats associate a ride in the car with going to the vet. Others might get motion sickness, while some pets might just feel anxious at the unexpected movements of the vehicle.

Here are a few tips to help make traveling with your pet a little less stressful, so you can all enjoy a great vacation.

Make car rides a positive experience. Before heading out on a long road trip, introduce your dog or cat to the car as a fun experience. Go for short rides to the park or a friend’s house, and reward your pet with a treat after each ride.

Travel safely. Those great pictures of dogs riding in cars with their heads hanging out the window might look fun, but it’s better for your pet (and you) for them to be safely restrained inside the car. A dog with his head hanging out the window runs the risk of injury by unexpected obstacles such as tree branches or other cars. And dogs and cats left to roam the vehicle serve as a distraction to the rider. Consider putting your dog or cat in a crate while riding, to keep them safe and comfortable during the trip. If a crate isn’t an option, use a harness that you can attach to a seatbelt in the back seat. There are also a variety of car seats and travel harnesses for dogs available to purchase.

Keep nausea at bay. Many dogs and cats suffer from motion sickness, which not only is a hassle for you as the pet owner, but also adds to their unwillingness to get back into the car for another trip. You can try to avoid the nausea by only feeding your pet a small amount of food the day of travel, and try to feed them at least 3-4 hours before departing. Avoid any food during the car ride. While traveling, make regular stops every 2-3 hours to let your pet go to the bathroom and get some fresh air. Also keep the air circulating while in the car, so your pet doesn’t get too hot while driving, especially if in the very back.

Ease anxiety with a Comfort Companion.  Whether your dog or cat is in a crate in the car or harnessed in the back seat, a Comfort Companion can help keep them comfortable and ease travel anxiety. Our pillows are designed to hold a personal item of yours, such as an old t-shirt or sock, so the dog or cat is comforted with your smell. Having something familiar that smells of home can help decrease the nervousness some pets feel when riding in a car.