Traveling with your companion animals – car trips

Many people travel with their animals in the summer, in the fall going to college, for Thanksgiving and of course at Christmas. Just like people, every animal has a different tolerance for car or plane rides. One client of mine had a cat who liked 2 hour leash walks around New York City, so I was not surprised when he loved travel, as well. He loved hours in the car and exploring new hotel rooms. Few cats are like this, though and even many dogs also have travel issues.

Healthy dogs and cats are more likely tolerate car rides, even long ones, so that is your long term goal – discover what makes your companion the healthiest.

First, plan ahead and practice car rides. If they have any problems there are temporary fixes that may help until you build overall health. Most cats and dogs do best if not fed within 12 hours of a trip yet a few are better with a light meal. Your state of mind is very important, so if you are anxious from past travels, do some healing work for yourself. Cats, and some dogs, may need a few days to become used to a carrier (feed them in it, put treats in it, talk about it…). Research pet friendly hotels. You can prepare fresh food diets on trips by using the same foods you are eating. You may need to use some cooked meats – just order your steak very rare!! And bring your food processor for the vegetables. Bring a Britta or other portable water filter. Some do best with water from home in containers.

Second, be sure to not vaccinate within a month of travel as I see many behavioral and health issues starting after vaccines. If you must, be sure to follow protocols that may help prevent negative reactions to vaccines.

Third, be sure to have proper ID on the animals and relevant phone numbers on their carriers or in their bog of goodies.

After trial rides, you know what needs to be treated or coped with.

Most problems, even nausea, are related to anxiety, so bring familiar toys, bowl, blankets, et al. and try the following for anxiety (even if the symptom is vomiting or drooling).

  1. Reiki (I encourage every person in the world to learn Reiki.)
  2. TTouch Anxiety Wrap with an ace bandage – directions are at
  3. Flower Essences – many companies
  4. Nutritional
  5. Essential oils or hydrosols – for animals they must be organic and food grade.
  6. Healing Touch for Animals – take classes –
  7. Homeopathy
  8. Herbs
  9. Acupressure and Chinese herbs

Overwhelmed already? Learn how to dowse, use a pendulum, muscle test, listen to your heart or otherwise access the natural knowing to select the best for this animal in this situation. If that is not yet learned, try 1. and 2. first, then begin with one at a time with the others. Remember to also be tracking all symptoms in a journal, because these steps may also be building the overall health level. A healthy animal will not mind car rides, so keep going for the goal of total health.

3. Flower Essences are totally safe (totally – I have never seen a problem in 30 years) and can be administered in many ways. Put a few drops in one ounce of water and give a few drops of the dilution  on the gums or tongue. Rub a drop (neat or diluted) on the hairless part of the ears.  Spray them on the carrier, or the blankets in the car, or even mist your companion if that does not bother them. They can be put into water to drink (always have non medicated water also available, too) or food. Before a big trip, start the essences you know help for a week or so before the trip. The following are a few that may be needed. Browse the other essences sold by each company for others that may apply more to your animal’s car needs.

  1. Rescue Remedy is readily available  – no need to waste your money on the pet Rescue Remedy as it is just a similar dilution – (buy in health food stores, holistic pet stores, even many grocers and pharmacies). It is five of the Bach essences combined –  Impatiens, Clematis, Rock Rose, Cherry Plum and the Star of Bethlehem.
  2. Reading books about the Bach Essences may help you address your animal’s specific concern (maybe you have worked with an animal communicator to know the cause of the anxiety or physical distress). Walnut, for instance, would be perfect for a dog who tells the communicator (or you) that what bothers them is the change in lifestyle, diet and routine while traveling. Mimulus may be needed if hearing honking horns triggers anxiety and drooling.
  3. Spirit Essence has Easy Traveler to relieve anxiety and nausea, Nervous Nelly or Obsession.
  4. Green Hope Farms has Anxiety.
  5. Anaflora has Tranquility, Special stress, Calm kitty

4. Nutritional
Melatonin calms some dogs (purchase at the health food store) – the dose is 1 to 6 mg depending on weight.

Composure from VeteriScience ( if your local veterinarian does not carry it) – B vitamins, a calming decapeptide and L-theanine make a great product.

5. Essential Oils
Please purchase only food grade and organic oils that have been sustainably harvested. Cats may do better with hydrosols (much debate about this now). Lavender is the main calming oil. Clary Sage, Rose, Ylang Ylang, Roman chamomile are all excellent for car anxiety. Many companies have made combination anti-anxiety oils and hydrosols. For cats, and many small dogs, it is important to dilute the oils with grape seed or another mild “carrier” oil. Start with one drop essential to 10 drops carrier oil, then make it more concentrated if needed and there are no side effects (acting upset when you put it on, behavior changes, running away from you).,,,,

7. Homeopathic

Aconite 30c is a good remedy for fear, especially if your companion seems really terrified. It can also be used after a trip if you realize there have been behavior changes.

You can give it 30 minutes before departure, then repeat when getting into the care and as needed.

If cuddling helps a lot, then Pulsatilla 30c may be needed.

If there is a lot of restlessness and pacing, and heat seeking, try Arsenicum album 30c.

Depending on the specific symptoms, there are hundreds of remedies that could help.

I would try the more general treatments before moving to homeopathy unless you have some training in homeopathy.

8. Herbal
Valerian root

I recommend using Animals’ Apawthecary Tranquility Blend as it has the Valerian along with Skullcap, Hops and Oatstraw. Very trustworthy company.



If the above treatments help the anxiety but there is still vomiting, drooling or diarrhea, one of these may help.

Flower Essences
Using the same companies, you could focus on digestive issues.

  1. Bach – Crab apple
  2. Spirit Essences – Stomach Soothe
  3. Green Hope Essences – digestive Woes

Essential oils
Ginger, Chamomile

Animals Apawthecary – Phytomucil

Ginger, Marshmallow root, Slippery elm, Aloe

Most of the digestive upsets will be helped by ginger and reiki, HTA or TTouch and Rescue Remedy.




5 thoughts on “Traveling with your companion animals – car trips

  1. First I’d like to say thank you for all the wonderful info and help. I have an 8 yr old Husky in good health, she was last vaccinated when she was around 18 months. I don’t know of a vet in my area that is willing to work with holistic approach. As for vaccinations what would suggest I do? I also need to travel a long distance with her as the kennels won’t take her, but she gets very upset in the car following an incident when a number of emergency vehicles went by when she was in the car, other noises don’t bother her like fireworks or thunder. While in the car she whines and pants and is very restless even in a crate.
    Thank you for your expertise.

    1. My apologies for missing your question. Did you try the links page? It lists a lot of websites for the holistic modalities. I am so glad you have not been vaccinating since a pup. There are many approaches that can help with travel anxiety, noise anxiety, etc. You can take classes in Reiki, T-Touch (and books and videos), Healing Touch for Animals.

      You can try Rescue Remedy (no need to get the pet one) – Put one drop in a separate water bowl. Put 4 drops in an ounce of water in a jar and give a few drops in every meal and every few hours in between. Give before any anxiety triggering event and carry it with you to give if it ceases to work. You cannot use it too often. It is totally safe. It is great for people too – for anxiety, stress, shock, grief and more. You can read and study about Bach flower essences, or check out many sites for their combinations for animals. On my site, click on Spirit Essences as you will get a discount. Also check out Green Hope Farms, Anaflora, Pet Essences, There are ones for fear, anxiety, car, etc.

      find a pet sitter to stay at your home when you travel – college students, vet techs/assistants, neighbors, or a professional service (bonded but more expensive.

  2. Pauline: Thank you so much for getting back to me, I have bought the Rescue Remedy and will give a try. If I can ask another question… I am getting a puppy (so excited) as my current dog hasn’t had any immunizations since she was a puppy, are they any concerns in introducing her to a new puppy?

    Thank you again for your help, it is great to have this resource available to us pet lovers who don’t have access to holistic minded vets.

    1. First, Pauline, everyone has access to holistic veterinarians since homeopathic ones can consult by phone or email. Go to the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy referral list for ones who will do phone consults.

      the reason we do not recommend repeating vaccines is that viral vaccines are good for life – so your older dog is protected because of initial vaccines and repeated exposure during his life. Sometimes a mild bacterial problem can occur (“kennel cough”) but that is easily treated.
      Click on the spirit essence logo and read the different flower essences that can help both dogs adapt to the new circumstances.

  3. Marshmallow probably came first into being as a medicinal substance, since the mucilaginous extracts comes from the root of the marshmallow plant, Althaea officinalis, which were used as a remedy for sore throats. Concoctions of other parts of the marshmallow plant had medical purposes as well.-,-”

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