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Travel Sick Cats and Dogs

Tips for Travel Sick Cats and Dogs

Cat in carMotion sickness may be related to anxiety rather than the movement of the car for many dogs and cats.

Many dogs seem to enjoy travelling in cars although some are reluctant.  Cats are known as bad travellers

Motion sickness may be related to anxiety rather than the movement of the car for many dogs and cats.  The noise and smell of the car can also add to their stress.

However, a number of pets do suffer from genuine motion sickness.  Signs to look out for include hypersalivation, panting, lip licking and swallowing culminating with heaving and vomiting.

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

Dog in back of carBelow are some ways in which you can help your pet and make the journey happier for all of you:

  • Accustom your cat to the car by taking it on very short trips first.
  • Spray your cat’s basket with Feliway spray – a feline facial pheromone extract, available from your vet - you can download more information on Feliway at the end of this page
  • Accustom your dog to being in the car without going anywhere, first.
  • Take your dog on very short journeys and make sure there is a reward at the end such as a walk or game.
  • If possible, have someone else in the car to reassure or distract your pet.
  • Gradually build up the length of journeys.
  • Give pets a small, low-fat meal at least 2 or 3 hours before the journey.
  • Allow your pet to relieve itself before travelling
  • 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
  • Get a DAP collar for your dog - you can download more information on DAP collars below


The following files are available for download

DAP Collar leaflet (application/pdf / 271 KB)

Feliway leaflet (application/pdf / 222 KB)

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