How to Deal with Dog Anxiety when Travelling
Are you travelling with your dog? Here are some tips to lessen the anxiety.
Look for alternative solutions
If you have a nervous dog that is overcome by anxiety every time you go to the groomer or vet, then it is a good idea to look for an alternative means of transport. A good option includes securing your canine friend on the back of your SUV or van.
Another option is to look for a groomer or vet within walking distance from your home (this is an option many urban dwellers have). There are some service providers who will come to you, and a vet can offer in-home appointments. There has also been an increase in mobile grooming units.
If you are planning on traveling out of town and you know bringing along your pet is going to be more harmful than good (dog owners know how stressful it can be to travel with a dog), then use an in-home pet sitter so that everyone can be comfortable. Another option is a boarding facility.
Creating Visual Barriers
Using a solid-walled or covered crate is going to reduce what the dog is able to see outside the window, and this is going to be effective for dogs that get overstimulated. If there isn’t enough space for a crate, then consider using a harness or clip to keep the dog in a position where they cannot see outside. This means they have their eyes below the window level.
Creating a Pleasant Environment
Humidity and heat can worsen stress and motion sickness, make sure you have cool temperature in your car. The windows need to be cracked just enough to allow fresh air in (it shouldn’t be too much that the dog sticks its head out). There is a car-adapter version of the dog pheromone diffuser that helps in taking the edge off. You can keep your pet distracted and comfortable using toys for dogs or your old t-shirt.
Removing visual barriers
If you find that it is easier to travel with your dog when there are external distractions, then look for equipment that will make it easier for them to see out the window. You can accommodate larger dogs using a clip in a harness that will allow them to sit upright. You might need to get a booster seat for smaller dogs. Make sure the seat has safety restraints.
You should never let the pet roam free when the vehicle is moving, especially when you are traveling alone. If the dog is not secured, there is a high risk of injury. The pet can also distract you as your drive. This means it is not safe for both the pet and the driver.
Do Not Feed Your Pet
The less the water and food inside the pet, the less the risk of it coming back up when traveling. You should not overfeed or overwater them when traveling. Supplements to keep them calm perhaps, but not food. Accidents can happen any time, you should line the car seats with puppy pads.
Planning Your Itinerary
When traveling with an anxious dog, plan out your itinerary accordingly because you are going to take frequent breaks. You should plan well so you can know when to stop and let the dog shake off its anxiety. There are many rest stops along the way, take advantage of them. Always keep the dog’s collar and tags on them; before opening the door make sure you have secured the dog. When a dog is stressed, there is an increased risk of bolting. This is why you need to get out from the side away from the traffic.
Bringing a Friend
Reassuring your dog any time he’s stressed is important. Comforting your dog is not a reward for bad behavior, but a tool to use in managing their anxiety. It is hard and dangerous to comfort your drive when driving because it is a distraction. If there is a friend you can travel with, then you have someone to provide calm reassurance.