Oscar recently reached a new milestone by going on his first out-of-state trip! Although Oscar has gone on several car trips with us, this was his first longer trip out of state. I wrote a previous post about how Oscar likes to ride in the car with us to visit his grandparents who live in state, which is about a three-hour trip. For those trips, Oscar has always done well traveling and either naps in someone’s lap or sits quietly in his booster seat (affiliate) for the entire trip.
Over Memorial Day, we decided to visit Oscar’s grandparents who live out of state. The car trip is about six hours, and it’s the longest trip Oscar has been on so far. Since Oscar has always done well in the car, we didn’t think much of it and packed the car up like usual. We put Rylee in her booster seat and put Oscar on a blanket in the passenger’s lap. We started out on our trip, and Oscar quickly fell asleep in my lap like he normally does.
We were a little over three hours into our trip, and Oscar slept the entire time except for a few minutes when he woke up to oink adorably at the toll booth attendant. Then, all of a sudden, Oscar woke up and started to smack his mouth repeatedly. My husband and I thought Oscar might be thirsty and it was also close to his dinner time, so we started looking for a good place to stop. Oscar kept smacking, and then I felt his body shift and knew immediately something was wrong. Seconds later, Oscar started throwing up and we found a place to stop as quickly as possible to get Oscar some water and fresh air.
We pulled off the highway and into a gas station to figure out our next move. I panicked for a while about something being really wrong with Oscar before realizing that he was likely just car sick. Once I calmed down, we focused on getting everything cleaned up. I went into the gas station bathroom to get paper towels, but the dispenser was empty. I considered explaining to the employee that we had a sick pig in the car and needed some supplies when I saw a janitor’s cart out in the open and decided to quickly raid it for paper towels and trash bags instead. Back at the car, we cleaned things up as best we could, got Oscar settled, and headed out again.
About 15 minutes later, Oscar started smacking again, and we knew we needed to pull over. At least this time we were prepared and had a trash bag with us, but Oscar threw up two more times at that stop. We needed more supplies, so this time I spotted a Petsmart and went in to stock up again. We set back out on our trip, and after two more episodes along the way, we finally made it to grandma and grandpa’s house.
I was relieved to have arrived, but I was also worried about keeping Oscar hydrated. He didn’t want to drink for a while after we arrived, but he started drinking normally the next morning and seemed to be back to his spunky self. My next concern was that we had to turn around in two days and make the same trip back, so we needed to see if there was a better way to get Oscar home. Oscar’s grandma knew a veterinarian in the area, so she contacted him to get some advice for mini pig car sickness. The vet told us that pigs commonly get car sick and recommended holding off on food and water before the trip and putting Oscar in his crate instead of on a lap.
During our actual visit, we had a great time. Oscar loved the sunny deck looking out onto the lake. He was really well behaved and spent most of his time resting and napping while everyone petted him and scratched his belly. He was back to eating and drinking normally after the rough car ride there, and he got plenty of grapes and other fruits for snacks, which he loved.
When it was time to return home, we left early in the morning since we planned on not giving Oscar food or water until we were back home. We figured he would scream and throw a fit without his breakfast, but he handled it surprisingly well. He gave us some angry grunts at first, but he calmed down and napped once we were on the road. This time we put his crate in the back seat with his blanket inside and let him ride in there to reduce the risk of car sickness. We also stopped every few hours so that he could get his hooves on the ground and enjoy some fresh air. He didn’t throw up at all on the way back! We fed him and gave him water as soon as we arrived home, and he was a happy pig again.
Now that we know Oscar gets car sick, we will prepare for trips differently, especially longer ones. Although we prefer Oscar riding in a lap, he did well in his crate on the way back. So, for longer trips, we will likely have him ride that way and avoid food and water before the trip, when possible, so that he doesn’t have as much moving around in his belly. We also need to plan more stops so that he can get out and get some fresh air. For supplies, I now keep trash bags and towels in the car so that we are always prepared just in case.
Hopefully Oscar continues to do well on shorter trips since we really enjoy letting him ride around with us in town. We’ll likely avoid longer trips with him in the future since they make him not feel well, but we’ll also know how to prepare when we need to take him with us. If nothing else, it was a trip we’ll remember for quite a while!