Almost everyone is familiar with Marley and Me, but, for those who are not, the basic gist is a couple adopts a mischievous puppy, Marley, who ultimately brings their family closer. One scene from the movie stands out in particular, though. The couple is driving Marley to a vet. appointment. He is sitting on the lap of his owner, John, in the passenger seat. The window happens to be rolled down and, within seconds, Marley is half out of the window with his front paws walking on the pavement.
Now there’s a lot to unpack there. First of all, I think that scene has made dog owners everywhere very hesitant to roll down the windows with their dogs in the car, if they even risk driving with their pets at all. But, beyond that, the scene is noteworthy because it also depicts the anxiety that our pets may have and the ways in which they may act out as a result.
For some dogs, nothing beats a car ride— they love it; and, for lack of a better phrase, they pretty much thrive during the drive. However, for a lot of dogs, cars are very scary— scary to the point of making the dogs sick, even. This can be tricky, especially if you’re a traveller.
If your dogs are the type to get nervous during car rides here are some pointers to help you help them. First, if it’s a a young dog or puppy, it’s a good idea to introduce them to the car beyond the Vets. In other words, going to the vet’s office should not be the only time your pets are in the car. While they are still young, take them on short drives. The destination doesn’t matter too much, so long as your dogs are getting comfortable in the car. With that being stated, another thing to consider is what you pack for your dog. This may vary based on the destination, but some essentials include water, treats, a harness & leash, and wipes.
Another thing to consider is if your dog is anxious or is merely prone to motion sickness. Definitely check in with your vet for more help distinguishing between the two. Try to study your dogs’ behavior so that you can explain it the doctor for a more accurate diagnosis. Your dogs might be anxious if they’re restless and constantly moving about the car. Whereas when a dog has motion sickness, they tend to throw-up. For this, a doctor can prescribe a motion sickness pill. Another more natural solution to treating motion sickness is ginger. Ginger is very soothing for tummies; so, I typically give my dog one to two ginger treats about fifteen minutes prior to any trip.
On the other hand, if your dogs are more on the anxious side, your vet may prescribe medication to help with that, but another way to ease your pets’ pacing is by investing in a doggie seatbelt or a doggie carseat. Really any sort of comfortable restraint will help your dogs feel more secure. In addition to that, many states now require pets to be restrained when the vehicle is in motion, as the pets can be distracting to the driver. In short, doggie seatbelts are safer and more comforting for all parties involved. Your dog will be much less restless, which, in turn, will make you less restless and more available to focus on the literal road ahead.
Sometimes taking your dogs in the car with you is unavoidable, but you can easily avoid the hassle of it if you take precaution ahead of the trip! So, here’s to more fun and safe trips with our four-legged pals.