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10 tips for travelling with nervous pets


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An increase in pet friendly destinations means more of us are considering taking our furry friends on holiday with us.

Some pets, dogs especially, may travel happily for long distances in a vehicle and behave impeccably. But if your pet is of a more nervous disposition, here are some tips which might help alleviate stress while travelling:

1. Pheromones, herbal and alternative remedies designed to calm cats and dogs may be very beneficial while travelling. They are widely available and can be sprayed or dropped on to bedding and blankets.

2. For very anxious or excitable dogs, consider some training beforehand. Positive reinforcement, using food, treats and affection as rewards, on successful shorter practice journeys can be used to make the animal associate travel or wearing a harness with pleasure. If your pet suffers from severe anxiety or phobia related to travel, then a qualified behaviourist is the best person to help you.

3. Consider waiting until you reach your destination before offering food. Just like us, some cats and dogs can feel nauseous during a long journey. If this is the case, a big meal before-hand is not a good idea. If you have a very long journey planned and your pet may need to be fed along the way donít forget to offer fresh clean water and stop for toileting regularly.

4. Line your pet carrier or place your pet on something soft and absorbent in case travel causes upset tummies.

5. It is a legal requirement for all animals to be suitably restrained when travelling in a vehicle. You will need to make sure you have a suitable pet carrier, guard or restraint that can be strapped in securely with no sliding.

6. For cats especially, consider placing a blanket over the top and sides of the carrier. The darker environment may help them to feel more calm and secure. You can even place an item of clothing that smells of you in the travelling container - unwashed of course! If including favourite toys or chews, make sure these are of a suitable size and durability to avoid choking.

7. Some dogs may prefer to see where they are going but do not let your dog travel with its head hanging out of the window. There is a significant risk of injury from stones and debris thrown up by other cars and it can also distract other drivers.

8. A cat or dogís sense of hearing is far more acute than ours, so if you have the stereo on during the trip, keep the sound turned down low.

9. Your cat may meow on the journey but donít be tempted to take them out. An unsecured pet can be unpredictable and a dangerous distraction to a driver. Instead, talk reassuringly and try to drive smoothly!

10. Do not leave pets unattended and remember temperatures in the vehicle can rise incredibly rapidly so keep your pets cool in the car.

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