How To Get Your Pet To Like Car Rides
How Dogs, Cats & Even Birds Can Learn To Enjoy The Trip
There are three primary reasons why your pet cries. One is that the car makes scarey noises and vibrates. Two is that pets often aren't able to see out of the window. And three is that most car rides end at the veterinarian's office.
The cure begins with creating a window seat platform for your pet carrier. The same is true if you use a pet car seat or seatbelt harness. Being able to see outside will give your pet a greater sense of security and strange sounds won't bother them as badly.
The platform should be stable and keep the carrier from sliding around on top of it. Make sure that it can be strapped down with a lap belt. An empty, sturdy box may be all that you need. A standard pillow with a flannel or similar cover (to prevent slippage) can act as a shock absorber between the carrier and the platform.
Don't forget to use a shoulder belt to secure the carrier itself. Better yet, for cats, look into a soft travel carrier. For dogs, use a harness. Why? Because this will give your precious pet a greater margin of safety should an accident occur. Bouncing around inside of a hard crate can be fatal!
Now that your pet can see, let's provide a view. If the only time you got to go for a ride was when you were about to see the doctor, you wouldn't want to go either! To keep things pleasant, make sure that your pet doesn't have food or water just before your adventure.
Think of a quiet area with some trees and birds fairly close to your residence. Open the window on your pet's side at least an inch so that they can hear and smell all of the exciting new things. (You'll probably want to roll the window down even further, which is fine. Just be sure that your pet can't squeeze out through the opening.) Drive verrrrry slowly through this area. Don't make this first "fun" outing very long... Five or ten minutes is plenty. They may suddenly remember that last vet visit. And don't forget a special treat at the end to reward them for being so brave.
It may take a few fun drives before your pet begins to look forward to them. Make sure that these first few are within a week's time to reinforce the memory. Especially for cats, try to drive them around the block once a week after that. You'll get a kick out of their fascination with everything around them. And be sure to take them for a spin a day or two before vet appointments. A ounce of prevention today can save you a migraine tomorrow!