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How can I treat my pet that suffers from car sickness/car aversion?

Car sickness and car aversion may give rise to one another. For example, an animal could suffer from motion sickness and then develop a natural aversion to travelling, and vise versa – a fear of travelling could lead to the animal feeling unwell. Many reasons can lead to a pet feeling car sick, such as car motion, confinement, previous bad experiences in a car, a first time ride, or anticipation of the destination. Here are some helpful tips to ensure a smooth journey is had by all:

  1. Animals should not be fed two hours before travelling.
  2. Sit with your pet inside a parked car with the engine off.
  3. Make your pet feel comfortable by providing treats or playing with the pet in the car.
  4. If your pet still resists travel, sit outside the car, a comfortable distance away, and play with your pet if she or he is too anxious to eat or play inside the vehicle. Move closer to the car over a period of days or weeks until your pet feels comfortable playing next to it. Get into the car once your pet is feeling comfortable being around it, and give your pet time to get used to these new surroundings.
  5. Over a period of weeks, begin turning the engine on and off, and progress to driving up and down the driveway.
  6. Take your pet for a brief ride. Eventually you should be able to take the animal for longer rides.
  7. Finally, always make sure the car is fresh and well ventilated – lack of fresh air can often be the cause of car sickness for both pets and humans.
  8. Water and exercise should always be provided for an animal travelling with you. You should stop every one or two hours to let the animal wander around and have a drink. Remember that cats and dogs plus heat in cars do not mix.
  9. Always remember to use a harness or restraint for your pet in the car.