Making Car Rides Safe and Comfortable for Pets

Some pets love time in the car.

It’s full of exciting things to see out the windows and they know they’ll end up somewhere fun like the dog park.

Other pets aren’t as thrilled—they may suffer from nausea or have associated the car with something negative like the vet. For those pets who aren’t all that happy about car rides, here are some things that may help:

Something to Chew On

This may be a time for a favorite edible chew like The Honest Kitchen’s beams. You want something that your dog can consume safely and something that is also very appetizing to him. Avoid new chews so that you know exactly how your dog consumes it in order to help avoid choking hazards (if you have any doubt, don’t use a chew). The key is for him to be so completely engaged in gnawing on his chew that he’s not anxiously pacing across the backseat. If you don’t have doggie seat covers for your car, make sure to bring a towel where he can do his chewing or you may end up with quite a mess on your seats.

Ginger to Soothe the Stomach

Ginger is a great anti-nausea remedy. If you know your dog or cat suffers from car sickness and he is in good health, consider giving your pet a little ginger before getting in the car. Avoid ginger if your pet is pregnant or lactating, has a bleeding disorder or heart condition, has a fever, is undergoing any treatment, is on any medications, and/or if he will be having surgery. Consult your vet for any questions.

A Comfortable Harness

Having your pet strapped in for the ride is a good idea for safety’s sake, but make sure he’s comfortable. Get a harness that is designed for use in the car and doesn’t irritate your dog’s skin.

Window Shades

For anxious dogs who want to bark at everything they see through the back window, consider some window shades to help obscure the view a bit (but not too much for the driver’s sake). This may help keep anxiety levels lower and will provide a little protection from the hot sun, too.

Something Familiar

Bringing along a familiar toy or blanket in the car may help your dog feel more at home—especially on a longer trip. But don’t bring a toy if he will destroy it.

Rescue Remedy

Flower remedies can come in handy for behavioral issues like car anxiety. Bach’s Rescue Remedy for pets may be particularly useful since it’s designed for stressful situations like these.

Don’t Forget the Water

If your dog suddenly starts panting and whining, it may be something as simple as thirst. Make sure you have fresh, filtered water readily available. If you are traveling with your cat, keep an eye on him and offer water up regularly—cats aren’t always as obvious about being thirsty as dogs are.

Help make the next car ride with your pet go a little smoother by making a few adjustments. And then you can all enjoy the ride.

Meet the Author: Jessica Peralta

Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.

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