This is not a common problem as dogs normally love travelling. Most pet owners spoil their pets with trips to the seaside, woodlands or the park.
However, some dogs only travel by car to the vet in an emergency so they associate the car with bad memories and so get ill. Or it could be that your dog just doesn’t like cars, getting carsick or showing signs of stress such as whining, trembling, panting, hiding or even urinating or worse in your car.
The obvious solution if you have a young dog, is to give him as many pleasant associations with the car as possible by taking him on short trips to places that he loves.
Also get him used to being in the car without even going anywhere first.
Keep your dog’s favourite toy or blanket in the car and sometimes a travelling cage or carrier can make your dog, even an older one, feel more secure.
Feed your dog only a light meal prior to travelling and try to slowly increase the distances travelled.
There is a natural solution on the market called D.A.P. spray or Dog Appeasing Pheromone spray. This is a substance that is naturally released by lactating females to calm and reassure their puppies. It has been cleverly produced in a small spray bottle which you spray in the car or on the bedding 15 minutes before travelling.
Some vets will prescribe Acepromazine or ACP which are small yellow tablets that sedate your dog but also control motion sickness if it is really bad and you are going on a long journey. Certain breeds such as boxers do not respond well to these tablets and it is important that your pet is in good health. They are unable to control their body temperature so make sure that they do not overheat or get too cold on the journey once you have given ACP (which is normally about 2 hours prior to travelling).
Ginger root is the best herb to prevent sickness and nausea. The dose is 500mg per 10kgs body weight. Travel rite contains ginger root and is specifically for pets.
Dorwest Herbs produce a health produce made of Scullcap and Valerian that helps reduce anxiety and car sickness.
Whatever method you use, make sure that your car is well-ventilated and that you stop frequently on long journeys and do not leave your pet unattended in the car.
Should you ever see a dog that is in distress in a very hot car and panting excessively to the point of passing out, place a sealed bag over its nose so that it only breaths in carbon dioxide that it is panting out. This prevents it fainting and having a heart attack. Hopefully, though, you will never have to do this!
•With thanks to Arielle Griffiths
Lead photo credit : Meet Scrut, who lives in the Dordogne
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