What to do when pets get car sick

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS -

YOU’RE on your way to the vet when you hear the omi­nous sound of an an­i­mal retch­ing in the back seat of the car. Why does this hap­pen? There are two main rea­sons that an­i­mals are sick in cars.

The first is gen­uine mo­tion sick­ness: as with us, the mo­tion of the car can trig­ger nau­sea in some an­i­mals.

Your ve­teri­nar­ian can pre­scribe anti-nau­sea med­i­ca­tion to give your pet be­fore you travel.

The se­cond and more com­mon rea­son is anx­i­ety.

An­i­mals that are fright­ened will of­ten empty their stom­ach (or bow­els, or both).

An­i­mals that are un­used to trav­el­ling may be ter­ri­fied, par­tic­u­larly if their only ex­pe­ri­ences of the car are as­so­ci­ated with some­thing stress­ful, such as a vet or board­ing fa­cil­ity.

Dogs of­ten grow out of car sick­ness as they be­come ac­cus­tomed to the car and as­so­ciate it with pos­i­tive things – like the beach or park. Start with short trips and grad­u­ally in­crease the length.

For cats, the key is get­ting them used to their car­ri­ers. Keep car­ri­ers out and al­low cats to play or sleep in them be­tween vet vis­its. You might even of­fer treats in the car­rier.

If you are go­ing to travel in the car with your pet, avoid feed­ing them im­me­di­ately be­fore the jour­ney. Wa­ter should al­ways be of­fered. It doesn’t hurt to place a towel on the back seat, just in case. Dr Anne Fawcett is a lec­turer in ve­teri­nary sci­ence at the Univer­sity of Syd­ney and a ve­teri­nar­ian with Syd­ney An­i­mal Hospi­tals In­ner West. Visit smal­l­an­i­maltalk. com

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