Your dog is your best friend, which means you want to bring her with you everywhere you go. But do you have one of those dogs that just doesn’t travel well in the car?
Car sickness, excessive slobbering, barking or whining are common signs that your dog suffers from travel anxiety. Don’t worry, however, as there are many solutions for helping your dog get over his anxiety and become your best road trip pal.
Make the Car an Exciting Experience
For dogs that aren’t used to riding in a car, the motion and vibrations can cause them to be fearful of traveling.
To help familiarize your pup, always lure your dog into the car, never force. Your first goal should be getting your dog into the car easily. Use a reward like a favorite toy or a treat.
Don’t drive anywhere at first—just practice getting in the car with an exciting reward.
Once your dog proactively jumps into the car, try some short trips. Make those first short trips only related to very positive experiences like going to the park or beach. Eventually your dog will start to see riding in the car as something to enjoy, not fear.
Use Gentle Pressure or Safe Spaces to Relieve Anxiety
Unfortunately, due to former mishaps, riding in a car may trigger unhappy memories for some pups. If you adopted a dog from a shelter, the last time they might have been in a car could have been when they were being put up for adoption.
Other negative interactions can also include going to the vet’s office, being involved in a car accident, or being hit by a car.
For some dogs, using the added pressure from restraints like dog car harnesses or a dog anxiety vest can help. More enclosed spaces like pet carriers or dog booster seats can make your pup to feel more secure when traveling.
Over-the-counter solutions that many vets recommend to keep your dog calm include Zylkene and Composure supplements. It’s a good idea to consult with your vet before trying any supplements, of course.
Changing the conditions of the vehicle for your furry friend can also alleviate some of these fears. Using calming, classical music or opening a window and allowing your dog to breathe fresh air can help. If you’re opening the window, be sure to follow good safety practices.
Tackling Car Sickness in Dogs
For some unfortunate canines, car sickness comes because of travel anxiety. Talk with your vet about various over-the-counter products that can help with this problem, which can include ginger treats or medications.
It’s also a good idea not to feed your dog much prior to a road trip if your dog is prone to motion sickness.
To help protect your car from the messiness that can come from motion sickness, we advise using a car seat cover. This way you won’t have to worry about any stains or expensive car cleanings. Plus, the comfort of these products can help make a dog feel more relaxed in the vehicle.
Traveling with dogs can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be!
Kaitlyn Manktelow is a writer and videographer for Kurgo, a dog travel and outdoor products company. She enjoys filming, traveling, and singing way too loud with her rescue dog Samuel Jackson.