Behavior: Dogs & Car Anxiety 101

The open road, wind in your fur, and exciting destinations ahead – the idea of a car ride sounds thrilling to us, but for some of our four-legged friends, it can be a nerve-wracking experience. We'll be your guide through the world of car ride anxiety in dogs and cats, offering practical steps to turn those anxious car rides into enjoyable adventures.

Roadblocks to Relaxation

Car ride anxiety is a common concern among both dogs and cats. Whether it's the motion of the vehicle, unfamiliar sounds, or the sights beyond the window, various factors can trigger anxiety during travel.

Rule Out Motion Sickness

Sometimes, the symptoms of motion sickness in dogs resemble anxiety – lip licking, drooling, and panting. Addressing motion sickness can alleviate associated anxiety. Cerenia®, an FDA-approved medication, effectively prevents motion sickness in dogs. If your pet's anxious behavior subsides after using Cerenia®, motion sickness could have been the underlying cause.

Use Pheromones and Aromatherapy to Your Advantage

Harness the power of pheromones with Adaptil® for dogs and Feliway® for cats. These odorless messages provide a sense of calm and comfort during stressful situations. Apply them to your pet's carrier, car, or floorboards. Ensure a 10-minute wait before allowing your pet back into the car or carrier, and remember, never directly spray your pet.

Scents like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood are believed to reduce anxiety and positively impact behavior. Research suggests that introducing lavender during car rides led to dogs spending more time resting and less time moving or vocalizing.

Make Use of Window Shades and Thundercaps

While obstructing the view outside is unsafe for drivers, tools like window shades or Thundercaps can help ease motion sickness and anxiety.

Give Seatbelts and Crates a Try

If your pet travels in a carrier, make it a haven of comfort by ensuring they enjoy spending time inside. Covering the carrier or crate adds an extra layer of security during travel.

Opt for seatbelt harnesses that attach securely to your vehicle's seatbelt system. The Center for Pet Safety certifies certain seatbelt harness combinations for crash safety.

Build Long-Term Comfort

The foundation of anxiety-free travel lies in a calm and relaxed pet. Techniques like mat training and using devices like the Treat&Train® help condition relaxation, laying the groundwork for a stress-free journey.

Consider Medication

In cases of severe anxiety, medications can be a valuable tool. Consult your veterinarian to explore medication options tailored to your pet's needs.

By following these steps, you can transform your pet's travel experience from one filled with anxiety to one of excitement and joy. So, gear up, hit the road, and watch as your furry friend learns to love the adventure as much as you do.

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