by Doris Donnerman
(last updated February 17, 2009)
I've taken road trips with my family, and sometimes those road trips include traveling with the family pet. I've been traveling with a couple of different pets, and it's definitely an interesting experience. Some pets are completely fine with the ride in the car, and some pets kind of freak out. If your pet falls into the latter category, then I'm sure you've experienced the frustration associated with such a venture. If this is a problem for you, then there are a couple of things you can do to make your dog love the car, and make you happy by association!
You can first try to accustom your pet to the idea of a car ride. This is especially a good idea if you take lots of road trips with your pet. If your pet is prone to get anxious and skittish when put in the car and you travel a lot, then you'll want to make your pet more comfortable riding in the car. What you need to do is take a few practice runs in your driveway. Open the car door and invite it in with a biscuit. Then let it settle in with you and enjoy his treat. Once your pet is in the car munching on its treat, then pull out of the driveway and take a couple of turns around the block. If your pet starts showing signs of nervousness, then pull back into your driveway, and try again the next day. When you go on road trips, entice your pet into the car with a treat, and if it's used to that routine, then it should stay calm throughout your ride. You might want to keep a few treats on hand to give your pet if it starts getting skittish while in the car.
If you don't take road trips very often or the above method didn't work so well for your pet, then you can try using a mild sedative. Consult your vet on what would be acceptable and healthy for your pet, and your vet can probably give you a tranquilizer of sorts so that your dog stays calm throughout the duration of the road trip. If you use this method of helping your dog's fear of car travel, put your pet in a crate while in the car. If it can't see the road speeding by and if it's sedated a bit, then you shouldn't have a problem. The reason you should only use this trick when necessary is because using a sedative too often on your dog won't be good for its health, and could actually cause serious problems. If it's only used every once in a while though, then you should be good to go!
So, just because you're a pet owner doesn't mean that your road trips have to be miserable because of your pet. If your pet loves the car, then that means that you and your pet will enjoy much more comfortable car rides. All you have to do is take the appropriate measures to either train or sedate your dog, and you and your dog should end up be happy travelers!
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