A STEP BY STEP GUIDE FOR ANIMALS WHO FEAR TRAVELING
With summer coming up, many of us head to the lake or on road trips. And what road trip or summer weekend would be complete without the company of our animal friends?
As someone who has been on the road with her cat for 7 years now, I have found a few great guidelines to keeping her calm while we go the distance.
Some animals live for the journey and some for the destination. If you live with an animal companion who is not fond of the travel component of a vacation, there are a few tips you might want to know about to ease the travel experience for your animal friends and the whole family.
Here are a few tips to ensure a safe and peaceful travel experience for your animal friends and yourself:
1) If you love to blast the tunes in the car, be mindful of just how noise sensitive animal are. Keep in mind that almost anywhere your animal lays her head, there is a speaker close by. By keeping the volume of the music down and keeping the tunes to a relaxing vibe, your animal will be a lot more comfortable in the car.
2) Drive nicely- cats especially are uncomfortable with inertia. The more the stops, starts, twists and turns on the road, the lesser comfortable your animal will be. Exercise caution when driving through hills and mountains with your animal friend!
3) Feed small amounts of food before going into the car. Animals can be quite prone to motion sickness. And having a full tummy will not help! If you have a feline, canine or other small animal companion who gets carsick, feeding a small amount of dry food (not to be confused with feeding dry food all of the time- we know how unhealthy that is!) will help to absorb your animal friends stomach acid before it has the opportunity to come up.
4) Take frequent breaks- some animals are uncomfortable with the limited amount of space in a vehicle on long rides out of town. Every animal’s threshold for comfort is different. Often the combination between the motion of the vehicle and the small space can cause anxiety and fear. If you have an animal companion who has this type of disposition, you may find that by taking a break every hour and a half or so just to let them stretch their legs or enjoy the still car will go a long way to help.
5) Perhaps the most effective treatment for traveling with an animal companion who is not fond of the journey is to find an appropriate herb to relax her/him. There are several excellent sedative flowers and herbs (not to be confused with sedative pills) that are highly efficient for treating travel anxiety. Some of these flowers & herbs include:
– Catnip- Part of the mint category, since ancient Egypt, catnip is a known calmer of th nerves, helper of digestive health and a freshener of breath.
– Chamomile flower (dried)- making tea for your kitty or puppy is also a healthy form of adding Chamomile to the regime, however the dried flowers themselves will have a stronger effect in the way of calming the nerves.
– Valerian Root- Also a known sedative herb for humans, valerian root is safe in small doses for animals. Because it is so potent smelling/tasting, be sure to dilute it with water.
– Bach Flower Essences; Rescue Remedy (my personal favorite!)
– Hops- Yes, a main ingredient in the making of beer, but also has a calming effect on animals.
– Bach Flower Essences; Mimulus. Mimulus is a variety of plant that promotes sedation. It has been useful in animals and people who suffer from anxiety and fear.
There are a variety of ways to travel with your beloved best friends! If you feel that herbs may be the best solution to your animal’s fear or travel, ask your holistic vet for more information. You may be surprised at how easily you can accommodate everyone in the family. For those who believe that they have to choose between travel and their animal friends, think again! With a little research, guidance and love, all things are possible!
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