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Travel anxiety is common among most dogs, whether it is driving in a car, train, or airplane some dogs are terrified of climbing into vehicles. This can prove to be a problem especially if you’re planning on a road trip with your dog.
In this article, we will talk about 9 natural ways to remedy your dog’s travel anxiety to help you treat your dog and make traveling comfortable for you and your pet.
Travel Anxiety Symptoms
If you think your dog has travel anxiety, look out for the following symptoms:
- Pacing and Restlessness
- Lip Smacking or Frequent Lip Licking
- Shaking or Trembling
- Panting, Whining, or Barking
- Drooling Excessively
- Reluctant to Get into Car
9 Ways To Remedy Your Dog’s Travel Anxiety
First, try training your dog for travel. Dogs may not be used to the feeling of movement beneath them and may end up feeling scared of the unfamiliar sensation.
If you only take your dog on car rides when going to the vet every couple of months it may negatively impact them and they may refuse to climb into the car.
If so, start by introducing them to the car first. Encourage them with treats or toys and let them sit in the car for a couple of minutes.
If your dog is struggling with being separated from you start leaving them for short periods and gradually increase it. Eventually, your dog should feel confident enough to go in on there own.
2. Drive Frequently
Now that your dog is comfortable getting into the car, try taking them on short rides frequently and gradually increasing the distance. If your dog seems as though they feel unsafe, strapping them in a safety belt may help them feel secure.
When taking them on drives make a trip out of it. Drive them to your local park or beach and other fun locations for them to run around and play. It will give them something positive to look forward to at the end of each trip and encourage them to travel.
Even if you are planning a trip by train or plane, traveling by car is a good first step to getting your dog used to traveling in a vehicle and getting them used to the stimuli. They will most likely find a trip by train or airplane easier once they have gotten used to car rides.
Scientists have observed that dogs, similar to humans, can have their mood affected by music. Calm or classical music will help them relax and decrease their anxiety. Create a playlist for you and your dog to enjoy and chill with on your ride.
Before you head out, take your dog for a walk or play a game of chase or fetch with them. By the time they get into the vehicle, they will be exhausted and may take a nap during your drive. After being tired out they won’t have the energy to stress about the trip ahead.
5. Essential Oils
Essential oils have been known to help humans with anxiety or stress, but they can be used for your dog too. Try experimenting with different oils and make a blend of those you like that will work effectively on your dog.
Lavender oil is one of the most popular options and is cheaper than most essential oils. It is also effective in dealing with separation anxiety.
Essential oils can be quite potent. If you want something more gentle for your dog then try Hydrosols. Hydrosols are created from the leftover essential oils and are slightly watered down. If your dog struggles with the potency of regular essential oils then this is a safer option.
Other essential oils that help with travel anxiety:
- Violet Leaf
- Roman Chamomile
- Linden Blossom
When applying essential oils make sure that your dog doesn’t ingest them as they can be harmful to your dog. Fill a spray bottle with some water and apply your choice of oils. You can then spray them into the air or onto your dog’s blanket.
Your dog may not like the smell or potency of some of the essential oils. Test a few to see which ones your dog likes before going on your trip to avoid any discomfort.
Natural supplements come in both solid and liquid forms. You can choose which ones work better for your dog, or use a combination of any of the options listed. However, remember to read the instructions first as it can be harmful to mix certain supplements.
Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic herbal substance that works well for both humans and dogs. They also provide pet-specific Rescue Remedy. Add a few drops to their water or treats before a trip to help ease their nerves.
If your dog suffers from mild to moderate anxiety, L-tryptophan and L-theanine are common supplements recommended by vets. They are known for being highly effective for travel-related anxiety.
7. CBD Oil
Another supplement that is popular for treating travel anxiety is CBD oil. They come in gummy, chewy, or regular oil forms. It is not only known to help with anxiety but also help with pain and even help heal heart problems and cancer.
It is also known to be one of the most effective ways to ease your dog’s anxiety and is a safe way to help them to calm down and relax.
Herbs are another great natural substance to use for travel anxiety. You can mix them into your dog’s food or feed it to them directly.
Chamomile tea is an excellent option to help ease your dog’s anxiety and is safe for them as well as humans. It also acts as a safe and natural sedative. It’s an excellent way to help them calm down and also helps with motion sickness.
Valerian is another natural remedy that people often use to help with insomnia. It works well on dogs and also acts as a natural sedative. It helps to calms the nerves and helps release physical tension. It is also known to help dogs that may get overexcited or hysterical. Unlike chamomile which works on relaxing the brain, valerian works specifically on easing anxiety and tension.
Herbs such as Passion Flower and St John’s Wort are highly effective herbal remedies you can give to your dog. Research and try different herbal remedies and see how your dog responds to them
As always, consult your vet before giving your dog herbs as some may be harmful to your dog. Here are a few safe options to give to your dog.
Lastly, try giving your dog a distraction. Give them toys and dog puzzles to entertain themselves with. Snacks can also be used as a quick distraction.
Petting your dog every so often may be a challenge when you are driving, however, giving them a reassuring rub every now and then will help them relax. Blankets can also help to ease their anxiety.
By applying these 9 natural ways to remedy your dog’s travel anxiety, you and your dog can experience and relaxed and peaceful trip. Going natural is a safer, healthier, and more beneficial way to treat your dog. And by testing and experimenting with a few of these tips, you are guaranteed to help your dog ride in peace.