Tips to Help Relieve Your Dog's Car Anxiety

Tips to Help Relieve Your Dog's Car Anxiety

Some dogs get excited when they see the car door open, but not every dog loves car rides. There are various reasons why your dog hates the car, like motion sickness, previous accidents, the idea of being trapped inside a giant moving machine, or even a negative association of going to the vet. 

If your dog is not happy with the car ride, he or she can make everyone inside miserable. Fortunately, there are ways to help your canine companion enjoy a nice trip. For example, Dope Dog offers a variety of CBD dog treats to relax your companion before the ride. 

With that in mind, here are some tips and tricks to help your dog cope with the ride.

Related: 10 ways to help your nervous dog

Getting Use to The Car

Dogs can be trained to associate the car with something wonderful by using the process of desensitization and counter conditioning. 

Desensitization is a method that gradually introduces your dog to the car. Counter conditioning involves changing the dog's emotional response from a negative experience to a more positive feeling about being inside the vehicle. 

It depends on how the dog reacts, but you might have to teach him to ride in the car starting 10 feet away while the vehicle is parked in the driveway. The best thing to do is to start with the backseat. The trick is to find the point where your companion is more relaxed and comfortable, then slowly transition to the front. Make each process a positive experience by giving your dog a treat or toy to reward them. You can even play games to keep them entertained. The goal is to make the car ride feel positive and exciting. 

Move the dog closer, once he becomes more relaxed. If the dog stops eating or playing, it means you are moving too fast. If that is the case, then take a step back until your four-legged friend relaxes again. Once The dog is more adapted to the car, it’s time to add more elements to the fun. 

For example, you can have him sit in the driver seat, close the door, or make a remote lock beep. Don’t forget to pair each step with a reward like tossing a treat or toy in the back. Remember to keep the dog safe and secure with a harness attached to the seatbelt while the car is moving. 

Once the dog is in the car, the first step is to turn the car on and off, but don’t go anywhere, just let your companion associate the sound of the engine with something fun and entertaining.

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Enjoy The Car Ride

dog with head out of the car

Now that the dog is looking forward to getting in the car, the next step is to add some motion. Start with a short distance ride like the end of the driveway and back. The goal is to get your companion adjusted to the ride by driving in short increments. Don’t forget to make every trip as pleasant as possible by praising him or using treats as a reward. 

When you decided to venture away from home, choose a place that your dog will enjoy like Petsmart, they have a lot of toys and treats. You can also drive to the park or the woods to let your companion come out and play.

When you associate the car ride with something positive, your dog will start looking forward to a nice trip. Keep in mind that even after you teach your companion to ride in a car, not every destination will be pleasant, sometimes they will have to make trips to the vet or groomers, which can be quite stressful. Make sure that these destinations are far apart, and only happen a few times, but always take toys and treats to make the situation more rewarding.

Related: Keeping dogs calm during fireworks

Prevent Motion Sickness

Puppies are more likely than adult dogs to get carsick, but a lot of them grow out of it as they mature. For those who don’t, here are some tips to help reduce nausea, vomiting, and stomach upset:

  • Lower the window for fresh air
  • Keep the temperature cool.
  • Ask the vet about anti-anxiety medication or motion sickness meds.
  • Give your companions food and water a few hours before the trip.
  • Exercise the dog about 20 minutes before the car ride
  • Spray dog pheromones in the car that mimics the odor of a nursing mother dog to relax the adult dog.

Check out Dope Dog for CBD dog treats to help your companion relax

Relax The Dog

Some dogs are naturally anxious, and getting in the car makes them even more anxious. Luckily, there is a way to combat this. 

Dope Dog offers CBD dog treats such as 6 mg Peanut Butter CBD Dog Treats, Sweet Potato 3 mg CBD Dog Treats, and Asian Carp 3 mg of CBD. They also have CBD oils such as Salmon Dropper with 200 mg of CBD and unflavored dropper with either 500 mg of CBD or 200 mg of CBD oil

The CBD compound can react to your canine companion's brain receptor to release chemical signals to promote relaxation. This can help your dog feel calm and relax during the entire car ride.

In conjunction with anxiety-relieving CBD oil, we have a few tips that can help your dog relax. Following these steps will increase your chances of helping your dog’s anxiety, and improve the overall experience of riding in the car for both of you. Below are six steps to assist you:

Step 1:q First, you will want to acquaint your dog with the vehicle. Try withholding a meal before attempting this training exercise. Before beginning this training exercise, place a small piece of dog food or treat in the car. Consider where you want your favorite furry friend ride during your adventures, you may prefer they ride in the back seat. Begin by walking your pet to the car with a loose lead for safety. You might want to consider walking around the car once and letting your dog take in all the sounds and smells. Next, you will need to open the car door and reveal the treat you have left in the vehicle. If he or she freely chooses to jump in the car, you are ready for step two, but don’t be discouraged if they don’t; keep practicing this step at least once every day for the next six days. Be sure to reward your dog for their hard work!

 

Step 2: Now that you’ve begun creating positive emotions associated with the car, you will need to build on this. While holding the loose lead, climb into the vehicle. From inside, try handing him or her a small bite of dog food or a special treat while speaking a fun yet calm voice about how fun the car is. With every treat move further into the vehicle. Until your dog responds without nervousness, practice this step up to three times a day. Let your dog’s behavior guide you when to move forward; a key sign you’re ready to move on is when your dog is walking to the car and sitting in it without hesitation.   

 

Step 3: Now that your dog is acquainted with the car, you might need to calm any anxiousness associated with the seat belt. While sitting in the car with treats in hand, attach the seat belt while reassuring him or her with calm, happy words, praising them for being so good. Remember to reward their hard work with their favorite CBD dog treats. Sit in the car for a few minutes with the belt attached. When you’re ready, use a release such as “Okay,” and exit the car with you in the lead. As an added reward, go for a quick stroll around the block. Don’t forget to practice this exercise regularly.

 

Step 4: Eating in the car might not seem ideal, but this simple act can help relieve your dog’s car anxiety. While repeating step three, serve an entire meal in your vehicle. You could even sit and eat with him or her. Use the release command when you are both finished and reward them with a quick walk. As you repeat this step, start the engine, but don’t go anywhere. You want him or her willing to eat while the motor is running. Keep practicing until they can. You will know that your dog is relaxed when whey they climb in and out of the car and enjoy eating while the engine is running.

 

Step 5: You’ve finally reached the last stage of this process. You and your best pal are ready to take the car for a spin. Following the previous steps, withhold the dog’s dinner until you return to the driveway. Continue using positive, verbal reinforcement while taking a short drive around the block (or somewhere no more than 5 minutes total drive time). Upon returning to your driveway, serve dinner just as before, while the engine is still going. Remember to use the release command and praise your dog for all of the hard work they have put in.

 

Step 6: Practice makes perfect. Keep practicing driving in the car with your dog, adding more drive time each time you go out. Watch for any signs of anxiety, such as drooling or whining; if he or she becomes nervous, find a place to stop and get out for a quick walk. As you keep going out with your furry friend, you won’t have to continue feeding dinner in the car, but rewarding them with a special treat or toy is a great way to keep improving your success.

Help your dog feel comfortable 

Adding a soft and cozy blanket to the seat or giving your dog a teddy bear can make the ride more enjoyable. A comfortable blanket can keep your companion warm and secure. 

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Conclusion

Car rides can be fun for one dog and miserable for another. However, you need some sort of transportation to bring them to the vet, groomers, vacation, or anywhere. Fortunately, there are a variety of tips and tricks to help alleviate your dog's car anxiety. 

CBD dog treats from Dope Dog can help your canine companion relax during the whole car ride. Other strategies like taking them to somewhere fun, having their favorite toy in the car, and slowly desensitizing them can help. 

With that in mind, we hope that all the information that we have provided can be of great assistance to bring your canine companion on the road.

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