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Top Tips for Travel Sick Cats and Dogs

Monday, August 01, 2016

Taking your pet on a summer trip often means long car journeys. Cats are known to be bad travellers but, whilst some dogs are reluctant, most enjoy a journey in the car. 

Like us, pets can suffer from motion sickness, but did you know that motion sickness may be related to anxiety rather than the movement of the car? The noise and smell of the car can also add to your pet's stress. 

Symptoms of motion sickness in pets

Signs to look out for include hyper salivation, panting, lip licking and swallowing culminating with heaving and vomiting.

Motion sickness occurs most commonly in young animals and can persist throughout their life. 

How to make a car journey less stressful

Building up to the journey

  • Accustom your pet to being in the car without going anywhere
  • Take your dog on very short journeys and make sure there is a reward at the end such as a walk or game
  • Gradually build up the length of journeys
  • Speak to your vet about calming remedies for your pet, which may help


The journey

  • Give pets a small, low-fat meal at least 2 or 3 hours before the journey
  • Allow your pet to relieve itself before travelling
  • Always ensure that your pet is properly restrained in a carrier or pet harness for their own and the driver’s safety
  • If possible, have someone else in the car to reassure or distract your pet.
  • Drive gently and keep sound down to a comfortable level
  • Try to use routes that have long straight roads rather than winding country lanes
  • Open the window for fresh air and do not allow the interior of the car to get too hot
  • Cats may cope better if their carrier is covered over so that they cannot see out of windows
  • For long journeys, stop every couple of hours so that your dog can exercise – you can provide small quantities of water at this time


If you would like any further advice or if your pet suffers with severe motion sickness, speak to a vet or nurse at your nearest branch.



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