What Calms A Dog While Traveling? [Explained]
Travel With Dogs And Cats

What Calms A Dog While Traveling? [Explained]

Traveling can be stressful for everyone and this is especially true when it comes to dogs.

There are many reasons why we may need to travel with our dogs, whether we’re moving home, taking a dog-friendly vacation, or taking our best friend to the vet. 

For many dogs, traveling is simply another adventure for them to enjoy. However, many other dogs can become distressed when traveling in a car or a plane.

We all hate to see our beloved pets become distressed so it’s important to know how to calm them if necessary.

In this article, we will look at what calms a dog while traveling. We’ll explain what you can do to keep your pet calm and relaxed as they travel (see also ‘Medicine To Keep Cats Calm During Travels‘).

Get Your Pet Used To The Car

If you’re traveling with your dog in the car, there are several steps you can take to make your dog more comfortable.

Often, pets will become stressed if they’re placed in unknown situations or ones that have past negative experiences associated with them.

Many dogs only ever take a car ride when they’re going to the vet so they quickly begin to associate the car with bad experiences.

For dogs that haven’t taken car rides before, you can help them become used to the car through the process of desensitization.

Allow your pet to sit in the car without the engine being switched on. Begin by placing them in the same place they will be in during the journey, usually the back seat, and sit next to them.

Give them treats and plenty of praise.

Once the dog has become used to this, you can then introduce them to sitting in the back seat alone while you’re behind the wheel.

You should still pass them treats and give them praise. You can then progress to switching the engine on for short periods of time so that your dog can become used to the noise and vibrations.

Throughout everything, make sure you remain calm and positive. Dogs can sense anxiety and stress in their owners so don’t show them these emotions, even if you’re feeling them!

For dogs that already have bad associations with cars, you can take the same steps but be aware that the process will take longer.

Don’t force your dog to get into the car if they refuse, instead gently coax them inside and make sure that every positive step is rewarded with lots of treats and affection.

Give Your Dog Its Favorite Items

If your dog has a toy or blanket that it loves, you should put this in the car with them.

They will have positive associations with these objects and it can help them feel calm during the journey if they have these objects close.

They have familiar scents as well, which can also be of comfort to your dog. 

Change The Car Environment

There are several things you can do to make your dog feel more comfortable in the car. Some of these ideas won’t work for every dog so you may need to try a few things to see what works for your pup.

Many dogs prefer traveling with a window open. This allows them to feel a fresh breeze and enjoy the various scents that waft in through the window.

If you do open the window, however, don’t allow your dog to put their head outside. Although this looks cute and your dog may enjoy it, it can cause injury to your dog.

Different types of music can also act to calm your dog. Some of the most relaxing forms of music for dogs include reggae, classical, and soft rock.

Remain Calm Yourself

Traveling can be stressful, especially if things start to go wrong. Bad traffic, delays, or getting lost can all raise our own stress levels and your dog is sure to pick up on your anxiety and also become distressed.

No matter how badly the journey is going, try to keep your voice calm and relaxed, and make sure there is a positive tone to your voice when you talk to your dog.

You can try to avoid traveling stress by making sure you are well-prepared and have plenty of time to reach your destination.

If you’re driving, ensure you have any directions you need and that you take into account any possible traffic disruptions.

If you’re flying, double-check you have all of the documentation you need and set out for the airport early.

Buckle Your Dog

Buckle Your Dog

Some dogs will benefit from feeling more secure as they travel instead of being allowed to move around freely.

There are a variety of restraints you can consider for your dog such as travel harnesses or crates. 

The best option will depend on your dog and the size of your car. You may need to try a few different options before you find the best one for your dog.

If you do opt for a carrier or a harness, you will need to take the time to get your dog accustomed to it before you travel. This can take a few days or even a few weeks depending on your dog (see also ‘What Is The Safest Way To Transport A Dog In A Car‘).

Consider Anti-Anxiety Jackets

There are a variety of clothes available for dogs that can help keep dogs calm and less stressed. They work by hugging the dog’s body tightly in a similar fashion to swaddling a baby.

Anti-anxiety jackets often have a little weight to them as well so they operate in a similar manner to weighted blankets do for humans.

Some dogs can also benefit from other types of clothing such as sweaters.

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Calming Products

There are many different products on the market that can help to calm dogs. They can mainly be divided into two different categories.

Calming Pheromones

Pheromones are naturally occurring chemical signals that animals emit to communicate with others of the same species. For example, a female dog releases pheromones to help calm her puppies. 

These pheromones have been artificially replicated and can be bought to help soothe your dog.  There are several sprays available that can prevent your dog from becoming distressed.

Simply spray a blanket or favorite toy and give it to your dog when you travel. There are also collars available that will ensure the pheromones are with your dog wherever they go.

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Calming Supplements

Before you consider buying any calming supplements for your dog, we would recommend consulting with your vet first.

These supplements can take the form of pills or chewable tablets that your dog eats to help reduce their anxiety.

They have various ingredients that act to calm them down in the same way that some supplements can help with human anxiety.

These don’t always work for every dog and sometimes a specific brand will work when another one won’t.

After speaking with your vet, you may discover that finding the right supplement for your dog will take some trial and error.

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Final Thoughts

In this article, we looked at several hints and tips to keep your dog calm while you travel. If your dog still struggles to remain calm after trying these, you may need to speak to your vet about anxiety medication.

Last update on 2022-01-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API