How to Help Your Anxious Dog Enjoy Road Trips More

Photo by Andrew Pons / Unsplash

Just like people, dogs can develop anxious tendencies for no reason over common things like being left alone, social situations, and riding in the car. The best way to acclimate your dog to the car is to take them on frequent road trips starting as a puppy to get them used to it. If your dog is already grown and gets nervous when in the car, then here are a few tips that can make your trips more enjoyable for everyone.

Use Training Techniques 

Sometimes pets associate getting into the car with a trip to the vet, which may not be a very pleasant experience for them. Taking your pet to a variety of places like the local park for a walk, the dog park, and to socialize with other dogs can help them replace any negative connections they make with car rides with positive ones. Positive reinforcement is key in most training techniques used with dogs. 

When starting to train an anxious dog to accept car rides, start with baby steps. Depending on your dog’s level of anxiety, this might mean just sitting in the car with your pet for 10-15 minutes and then rewarding them with a treat. After a few sessions of this, try taking your dog for a quick spin around the block, and again rewarding them when you return home. If at any time your dog starts to show anxious behaviors, it’s time to call it quits for the day and return home immediately. Over time, you should be able to work your way up to longer and longer drives while keeping your dog within their comfort zone.

When Car Rides Are a Necessity With Overly Anxious Dogs 

Your dog’s breed, personality, and age are all factors that contribute to their anxiety. Dogs who may have had no problems with rides in the car previously can develop nervous tendencies as they age, such as shaking, gritting their teeth, and even defecating. There are certainly going to be times when slow training is not an option and you need to transport your pet in a timely manner. At these times, your best options may be medication from your vet or CBD pet products. Your vet can give you the lowdown on all of your options and what best suits your traveling schedule and dog’s needs.

Photo by Halie West / Unsplash

CBD Pet Products 

CBD products are an all-natural option to help calm your pet without any side effects that may be present in over-the-counter medications. Pet CBD is safe to give to your pet daily, which makes it great for overly anxious dogs. You can find CBD in the form of dog treats and liquid tincture that can be added to their favorite food, or squirted directly into their mouth for fast calming relief. When shopping CBD for pets be sure to find reputable companies that guarantee purity and safety for your pet.  

Create a Calming Safe Space

Another way to help your pet feel more comfortable in the car is to create their own safe space. If your dog is crate trained and your vehicle has the space, you can place a crate in the car when traveling. It may also help to cover the crate with a sheet to minimize the motion of objects they see. Another option would be to put their dog bed in your vehicle with some of their favorite toys. Toys and dog treats that distract them from the car ride and keep them busy for long periods are excellent options. Some ideas for this could include a toy that can be filled with peanut butter for them to lick out, rawhide chews, and dog safe-bones.

We hope these tips make your next trip with your dog more enjoyable. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to go places and do fun things with your best pal. These days, there are plenty of dog-friendly hotels, cafes, stores, and other places that make taking a trip with your pet even better. When traveling with your dog, always remember to have them wear their ID tag in case they get lost!

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