Attempting to travel with an anxious dog is distressing for everyone involved. It’s stressful and upsetting for both the poor pooch and the person who doesn’t know how to help. Identifying and implementing some effective tips for reducing the symptoms of your dog’s travel anxiety can make the process less frustrating and more efficient. That may mean using natural, organic calming chews rather than CBD for dogs or medication, or it may require proactive counterconditioning. Read on for those and more possible solutions.
Ensure It’s Not Motion Sickness
Motion sickness is relatively rare in adult dogs, though not unheard of, but not all that uncommon in puppies. If your dog’s travel anxiety consistently includes throwing up in the car, it’s worth checking with the vet to be sure your dog doesn’t have an inner-ear issue. Although, if your dog did have motion sickness as a puppy, it might still associate the car with feeling miserable, causing it anxiety. Negative associations can also result in travel anxiety if car trips always end at the vet, the groomer, boarding, or anywhere your best friend doesn’t like going.
Engage in Some Counterconditioning
If negative associations are responsible for the anxiety, effective counterconditioning could solve the problem. Try to make the car a place of positive associations. Train with your dog as often as possible, weather permitting, inside the car. Reward your beastie bestie with treats and affection for being brave enough to face the dreaded car. Be sure to take him or her on car trips to the park, dog park, or other places that promote dog fun.
Try Natural Calming Treats
Calming treats can often work wonders to reduce a dog’s anxiety levels. However, both over-the-counter antihistamines and anti-anxiety medications can have some unwanted side effects. On the natural end of the spectrum, the THC often present in CBD-based dog treats makes many owners uncomfortable. Instead, combat dog anxiety with all-natural, hemp-based dog treats.
Keep All Passengers Safe
There are additional concerns regarding dog travel anxiety, as well—ensuring the safety of everyone involved, human and canine. When dogs feel stressed or anxious, they are often compelled to seek the comfort of their human for reassurance. That can present a significant safety issue if their person happens to be driving. Having your dog jumping onto you or attempting to do so while you drive can obscure your vision or cause the wheel to jerk. So if your dog is prone to trying to join you when stressed out, be sure they are crated or otherwise secure during your travel.
Consider Alternate Arrangements
If it seems like nothing is working and your dog continues to remain anxious and distressed, alternative arrangements might be called for. If you don’t think your dog will deal with travel, it’s worthwhile considering leaving your best buddy at a reputable pet boarding facility or dropping him or her off with trusted friends.
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