Keeping your dog calm in the car


Is your dog a nervous traveller?

There are certain products and tricks you can use to try and calm your dog in the car. It’s difficult to predict which of these will work for a particular dog, so I recommend trying each of them until you find what works for your dog.

  • Toys and clothes: Providing your dog with a favorite toy, or an article of clothing with your scent (check your laundry basket) may help. This can calm your dog and make the car experience more enjoyable. Just be careful and make sure your dog is not likely to chew up and eat what you offer. After all, if they eat it, you’ll likely be trading travel anxiety for an intestinal obstruction. Those obstructions can require a costly surgery to resolve, so they’re best avoided. You can also try putting clothes on your dog, such as the ThunderShirt anxiety-reducing jacket for dogs. These jackets can help calm dogs in a variety of situations, including during car acclimation and travel.
  • Pheromones: Pheromones are chemical “signals” produced by an animal’s body that help them communicate with nearby animals of the same species. For several days after giving birth to a litter of puppies, a female dog releases a pheromone that helps calm and soothe her puppies, giving them a sense of security and comfort. This pheromone has been copied synthetically and is available in both a spray and collar form. It’s called Adaptil™, sometimes sold under the Comfort Zone name. Spray a little (a spritz or two) on your dog’s favorite stuffed toy or blanket prior to car travel, or put the Adaptil Comfort Zone Collar on your dog to help decrease their anxiety.
  • Homeopathic preparations: Essences of flowers and plants make up homeopathic remedies that may help to calm some pet’s anxiety. One of the more popular products for dogs is called Rescue Remedy for Pets — some people swear by it.
  • Conditions within the car: Some pets might travel better if there’s soothing music or fresh air in the car. Try playing classical music (not “classic rock,” but classical 😉 and/or opening the windows a bit. Just don’t let your dog put their head out the window. Doing so risks injuries to their eyes, ears, nose, throat, and skull
  • Restraint: Some dogs will feel less anxious if they feel more secure in the car – and this isn’t a comment on the way you drive (unless you do drive poorly, then it definitely is). Travel crates, carriers, and travel harnesses are all great ways to help your dog feel more secure during travel. An added bonus is that restraints are also important tools to keep both your dog and the other occupants of your car safe during travel.

Thanks to for the tips in this article.