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While some dogs like the car, others are not as enthusiastic. Whether you suffer from anxiety or motion sickness, car trips can’t be fun! Here’s how you can help them feel more comfortable during their travels.

Preparation of the trip

Some of the most important things you can do to make your dog feel better in the car happen before he leaves the driveway! Thinking ahead and laying the right foundation for your next long car ride will make traveling with your dog much easier.

Self-training

The best strategy for long-term success to help your dog be happier in the car is to train properly. The use of desensitization and counter-conditioning techniques helps your dog to create new positive associations with the car, rather than remembering his anxiety or his swollen belly.

Start by making the car a fun place to be! Spend time with your dog in your stationary car and provide his favorite high-quality treats and toys. Once you are comfortable, add other steps to your usual routine, such as hooking up the travel harness and turning the car on and off. Then start driving – just walk down the driveway and back to get started! Take frequent breaks and extend your trips at each training session.

When you’re ready to hit the road, try to make most of your destinations a place where your dog will be delighted, such as the dog park or his favorite pet store. Although you can’t avoid trips to the vet or boring errands forever, the goal is to make a car ride seem like an exciting prospect — at least most of the time.

It doesn’t take long for your puppy to bounce in the backseat and wag his tail at a mile a minute! (Until then, learn more about how desensitization prevents your dog from barking at the doorbell and how counter-conditioning can help reactive dogs.)

Anxiety Management

Your dog’s anxiety is real and tools are available to help you manage it. There are relaxing pheromone sprays and diffusers, soothing herbal treats, compression garments like the Thundershirt and anxiety medications prescribed by a veterinarian that can help your dog find his Zen. Before your next big road trip with your dog, try a few methods to see which one suits him best!

Car accessories

If your dog is going to spend long periods of time in the car with you, you should make it as comfortable as possible! In addition to anxiety management supplies, pack the basics of the trip, such as food and water, bowls, leashes, poop bags and a toy or two. You should also consider making your car dog-proof!

A back seat cover can prevent dirt from getting into your pads through muddy paws or vomit from motion sickness. The hammock-style seat covers can also prevent your dog from getting distracted in the front seat and keep you safer in the back. Best of all, dog car seats secured with their seat belts offer a great way to keep your dog safe and comfortable in a comfortable dog bed that will protect him in matter of an accident.

Power Supply

It may be tempting to leave your dog loaded with food and water before a car trip if you are away for a while, but it is a good idea not to feed him before getting into a moving car. As anyone with motion sickness can tell you, a full and chatty belly with food will not help to live through a bumpy ride. Feed them a few hours before leaving to give their food enough time before hitting the road.

Exercise

Giving your dog a solid exercise to remove it will help you sit up, relax and maybe even take a nap in the car. Try to let them go for a long run or a good adventure at the dog park before getting in the car so that they leave tired and satisfied with the trip.

During the trip

Once you have completed all the preparation work, it’s time to hit the road! Here’s what you can do on your road trip to help your dog relax and enjoy the ride.

Frequent Stops

Long car trips prepare everyone to find a toilet and get out of the car! You should visit rest areas regularly to ensure your dog’s comfort, both for potty breaks and for stretching the legs. Experts recommend stopping every 1 to 3 hours, depending on whether you have a puppy with an overactive bladder or a softer mature dog. Make your stops even more beneficial for your dog by planning stops in advance at a dog park or on a pet-friendly hiking trail, where he can get out of the car for a longer time to frolic and burn off energy!

Enjoyment

Make sure your dog has packed two types of toys for your trip: a good chew toy or a durable chewing candy that you can enjoy on your own, and an active toy like a tug-of-war rope that you can use together. One helps your dog pass the time while driving, and the other allows you both to exercise and energize during your rest areas!

Relaxing Environment

Any good road trip requires great snacks and a finisher playlist—but don’t forget your dog when you’re setting the mood in your car! Although you may like to beat your favorite pop songs or bang your head to maintain your energy, your already stressed dog might appreciate something more discreet. Try relaxing indie or classic tunes, or play songs that you’ve noticed your dog seems to be having fun with!

You can also help dogs with motion sickness by keeping their car cool and opening the windows for fresh air. Pack a sweatshirt if you prefer to stay warm, as the lower temperatures can help avoid nausea!

With these tips, you may reach your final destination with a happy dog! Even if you can’t prevent all your anxiety or nausea, every little gesture will help and your best friend will appreciate your hard work, dog owner. If you’re feeling ready to hit the road, we’ve got tips for planning the perfect pet vacation so you never have to leave your dog behind!

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