10 Ways To Calm Your Dog During Road Trips

Road trips can be fun with a well-behaved pet, but if your pet suffers from travel anxiety or car anxiety, then It’s not fun at all. Pets that have this kind of anxiety won’t last a minute inside a car. You’ll notice right away when your pet has this anxiety when you hear it whimpering, squirming, scratching, sneezing, or acting uneasy.

There are ways to calm your pet. It’s important to develop a car-friendly pet not just for road trips but to make vet visits easier.  

Ways To Calm Your Dog During Road Trips

Offer His Favorite Toys

Make your car an extension of your home by taking your pet’s favorite stuff like a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or trinket. Let it play with the toy and become settled before you start the car. 

Offer An Article Of Clothing

Take a shirt you wore yesterday or anything with your scent on it. Dogs associate smells with certain situations, and your shirt maybe something it associates with comfort, relaxation, and happiness.  

Play Soothing Music

Some dogs enjoy music, especially when you regularly play the same song at home. Play the same soothing song to calm your pet in the car.

Use Supplements And Pheromones

A few products are available from your vet or from a naturals store that will calm your pet during road trips. Supplements are used to calm your pet and ease nervousness without changing the personality of your pet.

Meanwhile, pheromones are given to dogs to help them calm down. Pheromones are chemical signals created by the dog’s body to communicate with other dogs. The most commonly used pheromones for relaxation are those created by mother dogs after birthing her pups.

This pheromone calms her puppies and gives them a sense of security. This chemical has been synthetically manufactured and is now used to treat anxiety in dogs. Just spray this on your pet’s toy or pet bed, take these when you travel with your dog.  

Buckle Up!

Small dogs may calm down by buckling them up. Use a safe car seat for dogs that is available in different sizes. Let your pet get used to this new car seat first before traveling long distances.


Sometimes, nothing can calm your pet, and the only way is to use medication. Ask your vet for a safe and effective medication to calm your dog when you travel. Vets will usually prescribe medications like antihistamines, sedatives, anxiolytics, and neurokinin receptor blockers. Don’t use these without your doctor’s recommendations. 

Take A Walk Before Riding The Car

Tire your pet out before riding the car. Take it out on a long walk or let it play longer so it will settle, rest and sleep during the long car ride. 

Desensitizing Techniques

Gradually introduce the car to your dog. Let it stay in the car while the door is open and then with the door closed, but the engine is off. Stay with him inside the car; play, offer treats, and let it know it’s something pleasant. After it has relaxed, you may start the car engine and after a few more minutes, drive your vehicle. 

Sit Near Your Pet

You can let someone else drive and just sit at the back with your pet. During the trip, pat it, scratch its head, or play with it to calm it down. 

Keep Calm And Don’t Get Too Excited

Dogs take cues from our behavior and voice tone, so whatever happens, stay calm and don’t sound excited when you train your dog. Make him know that a car ride is something normal and is an extension of your daily routines.

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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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