Stress and anxiety in dogs is a common occurrence when travelling. For some dogs, travelling is associated with a journey to the vets and can cause stress.
It can make car journeys not only stressful for your dog, but also for you as the owner. It’s not nice to see your dog so anxious whilst you’re driving and can make the whole journey a bad experience. Common signs of anxiety in dogs when travelling include:
- Whining and barking
- Attempting to escape
- Tail between their legs
Whether you are just taking your dog to the vets, or if you are planning a longer journey, maybe on a family holiday or day out, here are some positive things to do to help prevent your dog from getting stressed whilst in the car:
Get your pet used to the car
Help your dog to get used to being in the car by training them to sit calmly in a stationary car to start with. Help them to feel comfortable in the car with their harness on. Never leave your dog unattended in the car.
Use treats, and play games whilst in the car. This will help them to associate the car with good things.
Start with short trips
Take your dog for short trips in the car to start with, possibly to the park or the pet shop. Gradually build up the journeys so that they last longer.
Use toys or a blanket
Give your dog an item of clothing with your scent on, or their favourite toy or blanket to keep them calm during the journey. A toy will also help to keep them distracted during the journey.
Some dogs travel better when there is music playing or if the window is open. Be careful not to open the window too much to reduce injury to your dog or incase they try to escape.
Secure your dog
Be sure your dog feels secure in the car. You can use a harness or a dog cage, which will help them to feel calmer. Make sure they are comfortable. A harness or dog cage will also prevent them from moving around and jumping into your lap whilst you’re driving.
Don’t feed prior to travelling
To reduce travel sickness, avoid feeding your dog a couple of hours before you plan to travel. This will help to prevent any accidents in the car.
Make loo stops
If you are travelling a long way be sure to make plenty of pit stops to give your dog some exercise and a chance to go to the toilet and have some water.
Exercise your dog before a long journey, this will help them to burn off excess energy and help them to settle during the journey.
Consider using nutracalm, which has a unique formula that naturally helps to reduce stress and anxiety for your pet. If you are worried about your pet’s behaviour, you should always consult your vet, who will be able to offer advise for the best solution for your pet’s health needs. Ask your vet for more information on how nutracalm can help.