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Traveling with Your Pets

July 16, 2018

At one time, traveling with your dog meant putting them in the back seat or truck bed. Nobody thought twice about it. Certainly, nobody ever worried about travel anxiety and animal car sickness either. Fast forward a few decades, and laws around traveling with your pets have been written to protect animals as well as others on the road. Here’s a quick overview to help keep you and your pet safe.

Start with the Law

The specific laws in both Oregon and Washington clearly state, more or less, that live animals must be tied down or kept from jumping from the back of a truck when the rig is moving on public roads. Lack of restraints or a secure kennel could result in a Class D traffic violation in both Oregon and Washington. But really, the laws are interpreted much differently in rural versus urban settings.

“In most cases, it all boils down to common sense,” states Ed Boyd, former Albany Police Chief and the Coastal expert in loss prevention and ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) regulatory compliance. “You’re okay if the animal in the back of a pickup is restrained in such a way that they cannot get up and over the bed rail. You can accomplish this with a leash, rope, tie-down, or crate. Just be sure the kennel is tied down.”

Ed explains that he and other officers have seen kennels just sitting unsecured in the back of a truck. When a corner is taken a bit too fast or brakes applied quickly, the kennel can slide and possibly tumble with the dog inside.

Caring for Car Sickness and Anxiety

Dogs and other pets do get motion sickness, just like humans. This can manifest into lethargy, vomiting, or anxiety. Trainers, as well as veterinarians, have a handful of suggestions for dealing with car sickness and anxiety.

Bring your pet’s normal food. Even switching food at home can cause stomach issues.

Feed your pet 3-4 hours before traveling. That way their stomach is not totally full while you’re on the road.

Bring their favorite bedding or toy. This can alleviate stress and provide a sense of calm.

Keep your pet in the back seat. It might seem like a good idea to bring your dog into the front seat to help calm it down, but this can have the opposite effect. Plus, the front seat is a dangerous place for pets if you get into an accident.

Work your pet up to long car trips. One suggestion includes sitting idle in the back of the car or rig with your pet for several minutes. Try this several times over three days. Once they’re used to the vehicle, you can move to the driver’s seat and leave them in the back. Then, slowly work up to trips around town, as well as longer trips.

Stop for exercise. Just 20 minutes of exercise here and there can help your pet feel better about the car ride.

Ask other dog owners for their recommendations. There are homeopathic remedies as well as anti-anxiety wraps and jackets that help some pet owners.

Talk to Your Veterinarian

Sometimes the best treatment for car sickness and anxiety is with medication. Ask your vet about anti-anxiety medications, sedatives, or products that help with car sickness. Just be aware that medications can often leave dogs and other pets sedated for hours or days after you arrive at your destination.

Coastal Loves Furry Critters

Your Northwest owned and operated Coastal has collars and leashes, kennels, medications and flea control, treats, toys, and food for your dog, cat, and other family pets. Just stop by today and check out the pet aisles. While you’re at the store, be sure to swing by the footwear department and pick up a new pair of hiking or cowboy boots for yourself.