For many dog owners, travel with their dog is often a necessity and something that they need to do on a regular basis. But there are many dogs that seem to suffer from anxiety and nerves when they travel.
So, what can you do to help your dog to be calm in the car?
There are several things that you can do to prepare your dog for a long trip in your car and help to reduce any anxieties that he may have. One simple and easy way is to take him out for a good walk before the trip, making him tired and ready to rest and sleep. Using a good, secure dog crate is also a good idea.
Help your dog to get used to the car
For a dog, a car must seem like quite and unusual and potentially scary thing. It is big, it smells funny, makes strange noises and wobbles around ( depending on the driver there may be more wobbling than is necessary).
So, it’s not surprising that dogs can get anxious in the car.
The best way to help your dog to be settled in the car is to help him associate it with happy and enjoyable experiences from an early age.
You should take him for a short ride – just a few minutes – to a favourite place of his where he can have a good walk and some fun.
Feeding a nice, tasty treat at the end of a short journey can help your dog to associate the car trip with something nice at the end of it.
Help your dog to feel secure in the car
One cause of anxiety for dogs when in the car is a sense of not being safe. If your dog is thrown around while in the vehicle then this can contribute to his anxiety levels.
Investing in and using a good quality dog crate will help your dog to settle down and rest. A solid crate will provide your dog with a sense of security and, in effect, can become a mobile kennel and bed that, with regular use, your dog will become familiar with and will enjoy.
You can put his bedding into his car crate along with some of his favourite toys to help him to relax and you can include feeder dishes for water and snacks such as these on Amazon, which will increase his comfort levels.
Make sure that you are prepared when going on long trips
Dogs are like children and they get fed up if they are in the car for too long.hat you
Be prepared to stop frequently so that your dog can get out, use the toilet, sniff around and generally stretch his legs and get some air.
It is useful to make sure that you have everything that you need to help to make the journey a success for your and your dog.
- Make sure that you have his bowls for food and water
- Take a large bottle of water with you – I find that the 2 litre plastic drinks bottles are ideal
- Take a dog first aid kit with you
- Make sure that you have his lead or harness
- Towels and blankets are useful
- Dog treats should always come along for the trip
Be prepared for your car trips with your dog
Prevent your dog from feeling ill in the car
There are many dog owners that do not realise that, just like humans, dogs can suffer from motion sickness.
The action of the car, particularly if the dog is not comfortable or restrained, can result in travel sickness for the dog and this can make the dog restless and anxious.
There are a few ways that this can be reduced and even eliminated:
- Make sure that there is fresh air entering the car – wind a window down
- Drive more smoothly and slow down
- Take regular breaks when the dog can get out of the car
- Don’t feed your dog before the trip
- If it is a regular problem consider speaking to your vet who may be able to recommend anti sickness treatments
Your behaviour and other passengers can help to reduce dog car anxiety
If you or your passengers are anxious while in the car or over excited, then your dog can pick up on this and his behaviour can often reflect that of the human occupants.
Conversations and tone of voices can affect the behaviour and responses of some dogs and there are dogs that are sensitive to arguments or raised voices and these can affect anxiety levels.
Even something as innocent as the radio, the type of music and the volume, can have an adverse effect on a dog while in the car.
Encourage your passengers to stay calm when the dog is in the car and consider the type of music and volume that you might play.
The University of Glasgow reported that research showed that dogs like Reggae best.
Car window shades can help some dogs
Some dog owners have found that window shades have helped to reduce the anxiety levels of their dogs when in the car.
These can reduce sun glare and lower the visual sensations that dogs can experience when on trips which can often cause travel sickness.
They can also provide shade and help to lower the interior temperature of the car making for a more pleasurable experience for your dog.
We found these shades on Amazon to be particularly effective and great value.
There are several things that you can do to help your dog to reduce his anxiety levels when he is in the car.
With some thought and preparation your dog can learn to enjoy his outings and trips.
As with all things, if you have any concerns about your dog’s health or wellbeing then you should always get the advice of your vet or other qualified professional.
Last update on 2023-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API