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Travelling with a dog or dogs in the car is a great way of sharing your travel experience with your family, including those furry friends. However, some dogs can suffer with severe anxiety when travelling. The results of this can be disturbing for the driver and uncomfortable for everyone in the car, none more so than the dog that is suffering.
Many problems that can occur with dog anxiety are Barking, Crying and Shaking. Sometimes your dog may even just take a wee or a poop to try and free some stress. They may also drool a lot and find it very difficult to sit quietly.
When we first got Ralph we struggled in the car as he would bark on every journey, but only on the way to the destination. On the way back he would be too tired and fall asleep. However, we didn’t find that if he had been fed prior to the journey then he would more than likely be sick.
The barking became a major problem as the drive would be stressful and many times cause me issues behind the wheel. Even though my partner would have hold of him, it was still to distracting. There are many problems to help combat this such as car seats, supplements and vests.
So what Causes Anxiety in Dogs?
Simply just a moving vehicle. This can cause such a sudden change in behaviour, especially in small dogs. They can quickly feel unstable or overwhelmed and struggle to deal with this strange sensation. If you have a loud car or an older car this an also trigger anxiety.
Dogs can be riding along in cars many times a week and not have any issues then suddenly, they become anxious. As with humans, one of the most common reasons for this could be a bad experience. Braking hard, accidents or even a bit of road rage. This could cause your little pooch to suddenly hate being in the car.
Also, if every trip you take in the car with your dog is to the vets or a place of discomfort for your dog, they will hate it. Dogs quickly associate the car trip with a negative experience. Try take them to the park or to some where nice for a walk regular. This will ensure that they dont always feel some thing bad is going to happen.
Always remember, Treats are the best way to your dogs heart. No matter what the trip, your dog should be rewarded ensuring they understand that not all is bad in the world.
5 tips to Solving Dog Car Anxiety
Practice, Practice, Practice…
Putting your doggie in a car for the first time can be daunting. They will react, they will act differently, and most of all they will want to get back out. However, if you give up they will never learn.
With Ralph, he hated the car. He tried getting out, he barked, he cried, he made himself sick with stress, he simply did not want to be in the car. We decided that the only way we could get him to like the car, is by taking regular trips.
We started out by every morning before work and evening after work we would take him for a quick drive around the estate. This meant that he was in the car, he believed we would be going out and would be travelling. After several days, maybe even a week, he started to calm. This did require a lot of treats and on occasion, half way round, getting him out of the car and making him think we had gone somewhere nice and special.
The more you do this the easier it becomes. If, like us, you like to travel and want to take your pets with you then you must PRACTICE. We recently took Ralph on a 3 hour trip to Mablethorpe and he made it all the way with no fuss.
Take Regular Breaks where Required
If you know your dog suffers, dont punish them. Long drives are tiring for all, but feel even longer if you suffer with anxiety in a car. If required, set off earlier and take regular breaks along the way. There is nothing worse for a dog or a family member being stuck in a car when they are suffering. Difference is, dogs cannot tell you, they will literally just bark.
Another great idea is a little walk and play time before you go. This could tire your dog out enough to be able to, hopefully, sleep whilst on the journey.
And finally, let your dog strength their legs as often as possible if going on a really long journey.
In September 2020, roughly, a new law came in to the UK which advises all motorists that travel with dogs to buckle them up. ( see article from blueCross ). Dog Seat Belts are really cheap and there is only one reason why all dog owner shouldn’t have one and that’s if you don’t own a car. Simply plug the seat belt into the clip in your car, and then attach the clip to the harness of your dog. They cannot roam around your car or get free. This acts as a form of security and will pass UK laws. However, for additional comfort a Dog Car Seat is a great way of keeping your dog secure and comfortable.
Dog Travel Crates are another great way of getting your dog around comfortable and safely. The great thing with a travel crate is they are used like a carrier. So you can not only travel around with your dog, but you can also carry them. This helps for trips to the vets or groomers where your dog might not want to walk anywhere.
Slow Down, is there really a rush?
Travel sickness can be caused by excessive speed. Although the speed limit on a motorway is 70mph, do you need to go faster? Think about who is in the car with you, there body language, their actions and also their size.
Furthermore, winding roads and hard breaking is also another major cause of nausea in children and dogs. Slow down, check your surroundings and finally, pay attention. Keeping anxiety and stress levels to a minimum will help for a relaxed and safe journey for all to enjoy.
If you feel you have exhausted all options and still cannot stop your dogs anxiety and sickness, then speak with your vet. Their are travel sickness pills available for dogs but your vet needs prescribe
Calming the dog with supplements before a trip might be the only way to prevent your dogs anxiety. CBD Treats are a great way of ensuring your doggie can take the treat and have a nice safe journey.
Choosing the Best Products for Dog Anxiety
Quickest and easiest ways to help prevent anxiety in your dogs is by using treats. All natural and calming treats
An easy way to fix dog car anxiety without making your dog consume medicine is through all-natural treats that have a calming effect. Simply treat him with some before, during and after a car ride, both as a praise/reward and to decrease your pup’s level of anxiety.