As we pull out for our family vacation to start a 21 hour drive to Jackson Hole with horses, dog, and kids, it occurs to me that we have not really taken our two year old, Rat Terrier , Dozer, on many road trips, well none really.
As we started along he shuffled around and started pacing and running over the kids legs which started a bunch of fuss on its own and he also started panting heavily. Our little pal was experiencing a little dog anxiety in the car that needed to be managed quickly.
I searched through my brain for tips and tricks I have used in the past to address dog anxiety in the car pronto. Here is what we did and should have done to have a calm dog that endured the road trip. It worked and reduced his dog anxiety in the car and now tries to jump in whenever we hit the road.
1) Stay Calm. The worst thing you can do is get anxious yourself or like my kids start getting anxious yourself. Dog anxiety requires calm and comforting. Comfort your pet and let them know that all is good. This may seem like a no-brainer but with 20 hours to go it is a reason for you to feel a little anxious but not the best way to manage dog anxiety in the car.
2) Find a Comfortable Spot. Road trips can lead to a jam packed area and not much personal space but dogs feel the best when they have a place to curl up that is comfortable. If you can lay out their own blanket on the bench at least they have a familiar spot that is all theirs. This may also be a back window (for the smaller set) or tucked in a corner on the floor. Let them find a spot they love and then make it nice for them. If the spot has to be moved later that is fine.
3) Use Calming supplements. There are supplement options to calm your pet but our favorite is Calm Hemp CBD Spray. Biochemist formulated with calming CBD from hemp and terpenes to provide a soothing sense of Calm for pets so that anxiety can be reduced on a car ride, a trip to the vet, a bath or during loud noises like construction and fireworks. This works wonders!
I am lucky since before we hit the road there is no doubt that Dozer had given himself a good run as he seems to be perpetually in motion without human assistance. This probably helped with allowing him to settle in and some Calm CBD Hemp spray.
5) Ease into Car Trips with Fun. Our situation was not ideal, hitting the road for an extended trip without your dog having a lot of car experience is not ideal. It would have been more ideal to start slow and initially go to fun places that are rewarding. Jackson Hole was incredibly rewarding for Dozer but the association of a car trip to the fun place was far too long.
Consider, that often times dogs’ first car trips may be to the vet. See if you can add in some fun treats and a trip to the park so that hitting the road with you seems like a fun proposition.
We ended up okay after a bit and made our trip, at least relative to the dog, without any startling events but a little preparedness would have been helpful to fend off any dog anxiety in the car but Calm CBD hemp spray certainly was helpful and provided our dog with a sense of calm so that his anxiety in the car was reduced and we had a great trip.