How to Relieve Dog Anxiety and Stress in the Car

How to Relieve Dog Anxiety and Stress in the Car

Your dog is your best friend and you just want to take them everywhere, we get it! Sometimes that means going on a car ride. Now, most dogs LOVE riding in the car, but that isn’t ALWAYS the case. Some of our four legged friends become nervous or stressed when traveling in a vehicle. So, how exactly do we relieve dog anxiety in the car?

First, it is important to understand what might be causing this anxious behavior in your dog. If they’re still a puppy, motion sickness could be to blame. The sensation of being inside a large moving box might be unfamiliar while they’re still adapting to the experience. Be it vibration from the engine or confinement in a tight space.

Another possible root to their anxiety is a negative prior encounter with a vehicle. This could be a physical accident they were involved in or mental association like a trip to the vet. Be sure to associate the car with positive emotional triggers such as toys and treats. This method helps to develop a sense of excitement when going on car rides.

Traveling with an Anxious Dog

Anxious dog riding in the backseat of a car.

If your dog is dealing with travel related anxiety, it might seem easiest to just leave them at home. Luckily, with a little training you should be able to counter condition their emotional response associated with car rides. The key is to look for signs of car induced anxiety from an early age so the conditioning process can start when they’re still in a learning/discovery phase.

Dog Anxiety in Car Symptoms

Signs of dog anxiety leading up to or during a car ride can be pretty obvious. Common symptoms include heavy panting, noticeable shaking, or excessive drooling and possibly even vomiting. As you approach the vehicle, monitor your dog closely to see when their anxiety begins to kick in. This is where you'll want to start their condition training to create a positive association with the entire travel process. 

How Do I Keep My Dog Calm When Traveling?

Preparing an anxious pet for travel starts well before getting into the actual vehicle. Plan ahead to make sure every step of the way goes as smoothly as possible.

Limit Food and Water

An hour or so before travel, limit your dog's access to food and water. A full stomach can quickly be emptied all over the interior if they get sick. That will only further a negative association with the car and might leave you a bit frustrated as well.

Exercise Prior

A tired dog is generally more likely to be a calm dog. If you know a car ride is in their future, get out the ball or rope and tire that pup out! Make 'em tired and the ride might just put them to sleep like a toddler.

Create a Comfortable Setting

Calmness and comfort tend to go hand in hand. If a space is inviting, there is less likelihood of an anxiety attack. Make the car a happy place with their favorite blanket or toys to keep them calm.

Happy dog riding in a car.

Keep the Car Cool

This goes along with the comfortable setting mentioned above. A cooler environment often leads to calmer behavior. Keep the windows down for fresh air, but rely on the AC if outside noises during travel cause further anxiety.

Take the Introduction Slowly

Whether it's the first time or you’re trying to recondition an adverse association, don’t get frustrated if your dog doesn’t immediately change their tune and start loving car rides when you begin their training.

What Can I Give My Dog to Calm Down While Traveling?

Along with desensitizing your dog to car rides, consider adding a calming supplement to their diet. An all-natural calming chew with ingredients such as L-Tryptophan and organic chamomile can be an effective way to encourage relaxation. Additionally, CBD dog treats are growing in popularity as a daily option to further promote calm behavior in anxious canines.

Dog curled up on the backseat while riding in a car.

Dog Sedative for Car Travel

There are sedative options that your veterinarian can prescribe, but those often come with unwanted side effects. By opting for an all-natural dog relaxant, you can be confident in what you’re giving to your four legged friend. Just plan ahead so they can fully benefit from the desired effects of the calming chews.

Do Dog Calming Treats with CBD Really Work?

As is the nature with supplements, dog calming treats are not necessarily an immediate remedy to anxiety. Through consistent use, they become more effective over time at returning your dog to base behavior. By adding a calming CBD supplement to their daily routine, you’ll notice the positive effects over time.

Buy the Best Dog Calming Aid

Green Gruff RELAX over-the-counter CBD calming chews are designed to encourage relaxation and help settle your pet down when anxious. The coconut pumpkin flavor provides a tasty treat that dogs love baked into a highly nutritional supplement.


Buy Green Gruff RELAX Calming Dog Chews