Some dogs literally jump at the chance to ride in the car. They crave the breeze from an open window in their face, ruffling their ears. For them, riding in the car even for a short trip is a delight! Sadly, not all canines enjoy the experience of car rides, and some can be hard to wrangle for any road trip or vet visit.
It doesn’t matter how large or small your dog is, or what breed they are. Dogs of all sizes and breeds may endure travel anxiety. If your dog has ever been so petrified of riding in the car that they tremble or vomit, they most likely have a case of dog car anxiety.
The good news is that as a pet parent, you directly impact your pet’s environment and may be able to minimize their uneasiness. They take their cues from you, the person they love and look up to most! With these tips, we’ll give you some pointers on how to calm a dog’s anxiety before traveling in the car.
Exercise Your Dog
Exercising dogs is essential to drain their excess energy and put them into rest mode. Toss a ball around with them in the backyard or take them for a walk. Since walks are such a treat for them, it’s a two-for-one benefit to provide both exercise and a reward. Let them explore, sniff around, and expel that energy! Getting them all tuckered out is the key to easing their mind and making them calmer. If your dog is all tired out, they’re more inclined to nap or wind down once in the car.
Calming Chews for Dogs
A calming aid for dogs may help reduce travel anxiety before the next car trip. Natural ingredients like passion flower, hemp seed oil, and chamomile powder work together to improve your fur baby’s sense of calm and well-being. Better yet, calming soft chews are beneficial for digestion and may taste as good as dog treats! With that being said, be mindful of the correct dosage for your pooch’s weight.
Building off our previous tip, if you’ve already given your dog some exercise to tire them out, they’ll most likely be more receptive to supplements. It's the perfect time to offer them a calming chew - when they’ll be open to it.
Calm Yourself Down
It might seem silly, but another tip is to get yourself into a more relaxed state. What does that have to do with calming my dog’s stress and anxiety, you ask? Well, if you’re anxious about getting your dog in the car without a hitch, your pup may pick up on your nervous energy and become anxious themselves.
Take a moment to breathe - by inhaling for a few seconds, then exhaling. When speaking to your dog, speak in a calm voice and talk slowly. Your dog can reflect the vibes you put out, so the vibe you want to put out is definitely "cool as a cucumber."
The more you think of getting your dog into the car as a difficult task, the more it will be. In that case, it helps to view it as not such a big deal. It’s no problem; you’ve got this!
Give Them Incentive
Instead of putting a leash on your dog or picking them up and forcefully placing them in the car, you might consider a different approach.
First, get inside the car and leave the door open. Hold a treat in your hand, encouraging your dog to come to you and work for it. Rather than physically putting a leash on them or picking them up, the smell of the treat becomes the leash - and the treat itself is an incentive for your buddy to jump into the car with you. Once your pup has joined you in the car, show some positive reinforcement by giving them the treat, words of encouragement, and a loving pat!
Another incentive to offer your pooch is a brand new memory foam dog car bed. Packed with memory foam, this car bed for dogs helps them feel secure and comfortable in the car. Adjustable straps keep the bed in place, and supportive bolsters protect their spine and neck.
Let Them Adapt
Your four-legged friend may not love car rides overnight; it will take some time for them to get used to riding in the car. Maybe start with a brief car ride to the park, then next time make it a little bit longer. Before long, your dog may be able to enjoy road trips and vet appointments won’t be such a hassle! All you can do as a pet parent is support them along the way, think positively, and ease into it by trying some of these tips to preserve their peace.
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