How pets should travel in cars


Our pets rely on us to keep them safe, happy and healthy so when they start acting a little off, it’s important to seek the right answers.

Dr Magdoline Awad, chief veterinarian officer at Greencross The Pet Company, is here to help.

This week, she addresses car trips for dogs and possible reasons for an ailing fighting fish.


For the past four years we have made a weekly 1.5 hour each way trip to our holiday house with our seven-year-old mini dachshund tethered to her bed in the back seat. She never complained and usually slept. Six months ago, we bought a new car and things were fine for three months but now she gets anxious and whines the whole journey. Stopping for toilet breaks usually settles her for a minute or two. Is there a solution?

I can understand your concerns given she was previously a good traveller. It is vital all dogs are restrained using a proper car restraint or even better, if she is crate trained you can cover the crate with a sheet to block out visual stimulus.

Always make sure the crate is well secured and there is good ventilation in the car. There may be many reasons she is now showing these signs. We need to work out if she is anxious or nauseous (or both) or if it is due to an underlying medical condition.

Signs of nausea are drooling, panting, excessive swallowing or lip licking. Many anxious dogs can show those signs too. Given many dachshunds suffer from spinal problems, it could be the car trip may be causing discomfort. I recommend you get her checked by your vet first.

They can also prescribe medication to reduce any nausea and manage the anxiety so she can cope with these trips.

You can spray Adaptil DAP (Dog Appeasing Hormone) on her blanket to calm her and maybe give her a chew toy to help relax. It is great you love taking trips with your dog but we want to make sure we keep them happy and safe.


Our fighting fish, Rosie, has taken to sitting at the bottom of his tank staring up at us, hardly moving. We have a fish-shop bought weed in there and don’t overfeed. The last fish we had that did this died. Is there any way to save him?

Siamese fighting fish can be pretty tough, so if you can work out what the problem is hopefully you can save him.

A big issue for our aquatic friends can be their environment. Because they are contained, imbalances can rapidly occur making them ill. Issues can arise from pH problems, or build-up of nitrogenous wastes like ammonium, nitrate and nitrite. Fish can also show signs of illness due to infections with worms, protozoal parasites or bacteria. These can be hard to diagnose because getting samples from a small fish like Rosie can be tricky.

Regular water testing (speak to your local pet store or aquarium centre), water changes (10-15 per cent of the total volume weekly) and ensuring the tank is set up with a filter may all help. You may also need veterinary advice if faecal testing or antibiotics are needed. Many veterinarians don’t work a lot with fish though, so you may need to find a veterinarian with more familiarity with fish and their specific needs and diseases.

Best of luck with Rosie – hopefully he’ll soon be happily swimming around his tank again.





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