The road trip is one of the great traditions of summer. It's fun to pack up the car and go search for adventure - or just head to Grandma's house. For many of us, the trip just isn't the same without a furry traveling buddy. Some dogs and cats just love to get on the road, looking out the window at the world whipping by. But not all pets travel well. Some pets have a fear of riding in cars or get nauseous from motion sickness. Be kind to your animal friends by slowly introducing them to car travel, and use some of these tips to help your pets feel more comfortable:

  • Get your pet used to riding in the car before you take a long trip. Take your dog or cat with you for the short drive to the post office or other quick trips.
  • Go for a long walk, play a game or get some other exercise so your pet is tired and more likely to sleep during the trip.
  • Spend some time with your pet before leaving on a trip. Things can get pretty hectic when you're getting ready to go. A few quiet moments just relaxing and petting your companion can calm both of you.
  • Bring the kennel, blanket or bed that your pet usually sleeps on. This familiar item can be comforting.
  • Give your pet a treat when getting in the car — things are always less scary with a favorite food.
  • Make sure your pet has enough room in the kennel or vehicle to relax and lie down.

These strategies may be all your pet needs to feel comfortable in the car. But for some animals, the experience is so traumatic that they can't calm down. One dog I know, Roxy, gets so nervous that she shakes and whimpers the entire time she's in the car. A small dose of an anti-anxiety medication calms her down just enough so she can rest but doesn't make her dopey.

If your pet experiences that kind of stress, ask your veterinarian about options such as medications or natural remedies that can soothe anxiety or help with motion sickness.

When you're getting ready for a trip, remember to bring all the things you need for your pet. (See On The Road: Car Travel With Your Pet for a complete checklist.) Now you're prepared to load up the car - have a great trip!

Author's Bio: 

Amy G. Casey is CEO of Pet Health Focus (, and an award-winning science writer and author of numerous science and pet health books and articles. Amy's experiences with her dog's health issues brought her love of animals and her research and science experience together to help others care for their pet companions.