Tips For A Quieter Car Ride With Your Pet

Noise is a major anxiety trigger for pets during car travel. Here are a few suggestions to help reduce your pet’s stress.

What pets hear on their car ride influences their anxiety level before they ever enter our Clinic. You may not be able to avoid some car noises, such as hitting pot holes or rumble strips, sirens and horns, construction equipment, and barking dogs. Even so, if you can keep your pet calm on the drive to the Clinic your pet may be an easier patient than if he’s already amped up.

  • It is better to use a matter-of-fact approach. It is human nature to try to reassure or overly soothe your pet: “We’re going to see the veterinarian. It’s not so bad. Don’t be afraid”. While your pet may not understand your words, he may have learned to associate your tone, type of talk, along with body language, with the recurring idea that something bad is about to happen. To really soothe your pet, use a matter-of-fact, light tone and relay your normal, every day instructions with confidence: “Bella, chew on your toy”, or “Rex, get in your crate and lie down”. Then offer a reward for the good behavior.
  • Distract with calming noise, such as music designed for pets (there really is such a thing), or soft classical music that offers calming qualities and drowns out excess road noise that may be nerve-wracking for your pet.
  • For cats, covering their carrier can make them feel safer, or offering fresh catnip when they go in the cage can help. Always remember to put an absorptive towel or paper towels in their carrier in case anxiety causes them to urinate, a common occurrence. Using a folded towel under the carrier to “level out” the seat the carrier is on can prevent the carrier from sliding around or rocking.
  • Some animals who become nauseated from motion sickness can benefit from a medication, Cerenia, that we can provide to reliably control car sickness when administered two hours before travel.
  • For safety, dogs should wear harnesses that click into the seat belt, and cat carriers should be held in place by running the seat belt through the handle and clicking it.
  • And finally, if your pet doesn’t respond to any of these suggestions we can offer anti-anxiety medications or tranquilizers that can be effective when given two hours before travel.

Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic is a state-of-the-art, full-service suburban veterinary facility serving the Pittsburgh Area since 1980.. We offer diagnostic, medical, surgical, and dental care to dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and pocket pets in the Pittsburgh area.

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