Posted on January 22, 2011
So, let us continue, as promised, with some of the things you should know when taking your pet with you in the car.
Before starting on a car travel, you have to prepare the car, your pet and definitely yourself!
Let’s start with the car.
Most people travel with a dog and less with a cat or other pets mainly because us, dogs, love to travel much more than the others. A cat can be very pleased just staying inside and in the safety of a balcony (although I’ve heard of cats that travel all night to come home only in the morning to eat and – but, come now, those are no longer pets, right? Cats as pets is anyway a debatable issue…)
I’m not a very big fan of cats, in fact I have the tendency of chasing them and I am very upset when they cowardly climb a tree where I cannot reach.
Before leaving, cover the floor of the car with some plastic stuff and some paper towel to easily clean the car in case your pet wets the floor. If you intend to travel with a cat, it’s also advisable to place the cat’s litter at the back, behind one of the chairs, because it will recognise and use it.
Get a special cover for the back seats – the hammock type ones are very useful as they also stop the pet from coming to the front seats.
Preparing the pet is a very strong recommendation.
Start taking your pet to small drives to accommodate it with the movement and the environment. Make the drives to places the pet likes such as a park or a visit to friends where he likes to go. The pet will associate the car drive with a pleasant outcome.
When Aka opens the back door for me I am really, really happy because I know that we’ll go somewhere where I can have fun. So, I like it. I don’t even need a carrier or anything like that. I just stay quiet and sleep patiently.
However, bear in mind that not all dogs and definitely not all cats like traveling by car. Some cats may be totally hysterical jumping all over the place including the driver’s head and some dogs can be so scared and uncomfortable that they pee, or throw up or whimper, which is very annoying. These are not the best or safest conditions for driving. Honestly, if a cat or a dog would make such a fuss in my car, it would drive me nuts which means that I would drive the car with the pet in it into the first ditch! Happily, no-one’s letting the wheel in my paws.
If you see your pet is quiet and loves the car, you may let it free (eventually on its pillow or bed). However it is advisable that you use a harness and attach it to the safety belt to avoid throwing your pet out of the seat (or even the window) in case of sudden breaks. Think of your pet a little bit as a child.
If, after several short travels you realize the pet is restless, it’s advisable to take a carrier for it. Just take care to get a big enough one to let your pet move around easily.
I personally hate these things and I guess I’m not the only one. When Aka took me to Bucharest she carried me in one of those she had bought specially for me. Although I was very little and small I’ve always had a great personality and being closed inside a cage was not my idea of going anywhere. So I complained almost all the way until I grew tired and fell asleep.
The next day she drove me to the vet and she thought that if she placed the carrier on the front seat next to her, I would accept it more easily. Wrong! I made such a fuss that she was already half crazy when we arrived at the vet. I barked and whimpered and scratched the bars of the carrier, and growled and barked some more….
The result was that when coming back home she let me out of the carried on the back seat in my bed. I was happy and quiet! And the carrier ended up to be used by Ioana’s cat Moly who actually likes it.
So, you have to adapt to what your pet likes and wants so that you may be both happy.
Before leaving on a longer trip, go to the vet to get directions related to your pet’s health conditions and eventually get some pills, if necessary, if your pet tends to throw up in the car or if it’s too restless.
Let your pet drink enough water before leaving but give it only a light meal preferably at least two hours before leaving to avoid the pet throwing up in the car due to the car movements (just like for humans actually).
Next time I’ll tell what you have to do during the travel.