Can you believe that about 54.6% of Americans travel with their dogs more than six times a month, each year?
From being a devoted companion to improving your cardiovascular health, our furry friends are more than just pets - they’re family. Driving with your dog, or even taking a walk, can be beneficial for all of you. It can also be an opportunity for some quality bonding time with your pup.
However, many canine experiences some stress before or during driving. Car anxiety in dogs can stem from different things-background noise, traumatic experiences, or being trapped.
Is your dog shying away from riding in the car? Don’t worry, we’ve got the solution for you. Read on to learn more about how to relieve dog anxiety.
Common Symptoms of Dog Anxiety
Are you aware that nearly 70% of dogs display anxiety? Dogs are wonderful companions, but they can also be anxious creatures. If your dog is anxious about car rides, there tend to express their displeasure in countless ways.
Here are a few symptoms to look out for:
- Destructive behavior
- Excessive barking
- Urinating or defecating continuously
That's why it's important to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of anxiety so that you can better help your pup when they're feeling overwhelmed.
How to Prepare Your Dog for Car Rides
Traveling with dogs doesn’t have to be difficult. The best way to help your dog get used to car rides is to start small and work your way up.
First, get your dog used to the idea of traveling in a car. Put them in the backseat or carrier and take short rides around the block. Once they're comfortable with that, start taking them on longer trips, but make sure to keep them close to you so they feel safe.
The most important thing is to be patient and take things slow. Some dogs will take to car rides right away, while others may take a little longer. Just be persistent and keep rewarding your dog for good behavior, and soon they'll be happily cruising down the highway with you.
Non-Medication Treatment Options for Dog Anxiety
There are several non-medication treatments to help your dog calm down during car rides. They include:
Try Kennel Training
One method is to have your dog sit or lie down in a carrier or kennel. This will give them a sense of security and containment, which can be soothing for some dogs.
Play Calming Music
Another option is to play calming music or audio recordings for your dog. This can help mask outside noises that may be causing them anxiety. Also, try using a pheromone diffuser or collar to release calming scents into the car.
Comfort Your Dog When Anxious
Fear is an emotion, not behavior. Comforting your dog not only controls fear but also reduces stress and anxiety. It’s important to not ignore or scold them as comforting your dog lowers their stress hormone cortisol.
If you've tried all of these things and your dog is still anxious, consider consulting with your veterinarian about other non-medication options.
Medication Treatment Options for Dog Car Anxiety
For dog anxiety medication, there are two main types: sedatives and anxiolytics. Learn more about them below.
These are drugs that calm the dog and make them sleepy. There are different types of sedatives that can treat car anxiety in dogs. The most common type of sedative is a benzodiazepine, which includes medications like Valium and Xanax. These drugs work to calm the dog and can be very effective in reducing anxiety.
However, benzodiazepines can be addictive and can cause side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion. For this reason, they should only be used as a last resort if other treatments haven't been successful.
Anxiolytics are drugs that reduce anxiety and nervousness. The most common type of anxiolytic is a beta blocker, which includes medications like propranolol (Inderal) and atenolol (Tenormin). These drugs work by blocking the effects of adrenaline on the body. This reduces the dog's anxiety and nervousness.
Beta-blockers generally have few side effects, but they can take up to two weeks to start working properly. Speak to your vet before starting them on anti-anxiety drugs.
There are several different medications that your veterinarian can prescribe to help your dog overcome his or her fear of car travel. With the help of medication, your dog can enjoy car rides and travel.
Tips to Reduce Your Dog's Car Anxiety
If you're going to be driving with your dog regularly, it's important to make sure that they're as comfortable as possible. Here are some tips that may help reduce your dog's car anxiety:
Get Them Used to The Car Gradually
If your dog isn't used to riding in the car, start by taking them on short trips within the neighborhood Once comfortable, start taking them on longer drives.
Make Sure They Have a Comfortable Space
If your dog is going to be riding in the backseat, make sure that there's a comfortable blanket or bed on them to lie on. You might also want to consider investing in a comfortable dog crate.
Don't Force Them
If your dog is resistant to getting in the car, don't force them. Make sure that they're not scared or anxious about getting in the car, or else they'll never want to ride with you again.
Car Anxiety in Dogs? Consult Our Reputable Vet Specialist
Car anxiety in dogs is a common problem that can cause distress and discomfort for both the dog and the owner. Thus, it’s important to understand the causes of car anxiety in dogs and to be aware of the available treatments. With the right treatment, travel anxiety in dogs can be managed and the dog can enjoy car rides again.
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