As leaders in dog boarding services, All American Pet Resorts works with traveling pet parents daily. While some dogs can handle being in a moving vehicle and perhaps get some of the best sleep of their lives, others cannot!
And that's okay! All dogs are different with unique personalities, which is what makes them special in the first place, and it's up to the owner to make the best decision on whether to include their dog on their next trip or not based on their needs. To help in this decision, we're here to break down what travel anxiety looks like in dogs, offer some tips to make your next road trip less stressful, and help you learn about what to do if your dog is too anxious to travel.
Can Dogs Have Anxiety?
Just like humans, dogs can have anxiety, regardless of breed. In a study, by Smithsonian Magazine, 75% of the 14,000 dogs showed at least one anxiety-related behavior. Researchers have decided that anxiety in canines is completely normal and healthy behavior, perhaps even more common than we once thought.
Where Does Travel Anxiety Come From?
Dogs can naturally be anxious but can also have their anxiety develop through select experiences and situations they're put through. Travel anxiety is a form of anxiety that can be caused by:
- Developing a thought pattern of "getting in the car = going somewhere bad" (like the vets or groomers)
- Motion sickness or trauma from previous experiences while traveling in a car
- Feeling unstable, insecure, and unconfident while the car is in motion
- Loud noises (honking, engine noises, traffic, etc.)
Unfortunately, travel anxiety in dogs doesn't just go away overnight. It's important to learn more about what may trigger your dog's anxiety and the options available to help you help them!
What Are the Symptoms of an Anxious Dog?
While all dogs show their anxiety in different ways, common symptoms of travel anxiety include the following:
- Resistance when getting into the car
- Trembling and shaking
- Excessive panting, yawning, and drooling
- Continued lip-licking
- Urination, defecation, or vomit
- Attempts to escape the car
Ways to Reduce Your Dog's Travel Anxiety
No one likes seeing their furry friend suffering from anxiety in the car during a road trip, let alone any anxiety when simply driving to someplace like the park. To help make traveling with your dog easier, be sure to explore all your solutions before you pack your bags:
Make Your Dog Comfortable
Even if you're unsure where to start on curbing your dog's travel stress, ensuring your pup is comfortable is a great first step. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
- Exercise your dog before loading up the car to tire them out
- Lay out your dog's favorite blanket or something that smells like you
- Bring your dog's favorite toys and treats to keep them preoccupied
- Keep your windows up as the sound of wind can cause extra stress
- Invest in a harness or other seat belt to help your dog feel more secure
In addition, medication can be given to your dog to calm nerves, help them rest while the car is moving, and even reduce the chance of motion sickness and nausea. Be sure to contact your trusted veterinarian to discuss any travel anxiety medication possibilities.
Exploring the process of going on short trips around the neighborhood and giving a lot of praise, reassurance, and treats can help your dog associate being in the car with more positive things than negative ones. Over time, your dog may become comfortable with car rides, which would change things up greatly! But to get to this point, owners must have patience, determination, and time.
Explore Dog Boarding Options
If you don't need to bring your dog along on your next vacation, you might consider leaving him or her at a local boarding facility or doggie hotel, especially if they have trouble in the car.
Boarding services won't only ensure that your dog is safe and sound while you're away but also that they won't be alone during their time. They'll have plenty of opportunities to play with and get to know the local team and other pet guests!
All American Pet Resorts Provides Convenient Solutions to Traveling Pet Parents
At All American Pet Resorts, our team will put your dog up in their very own suite and give them everything needed to help them relax and play while you're away:
- An individual suite with a comfortable raised bed
- Multiple scheduled play breaks with staff or guests
- Multiple potty breaks
- Medication administration if required
- 24/7 staff to monitor your pup
- A specialized blend of food that's safe for sensitive skin and stomachs
You can even let our team know if your pup is shy and doesn't prefer to be around other dogs. As long as your dog is friendly with people, we can make it so they don't have to interact with other dogs! Check out our FAQ page to learn more about our dog boarding services.
Should You Travel with Your Anxious Dog?
While taking your pup along for a road trip is always fun, dogs with severe travel anxiety are likely to have a better time when left in the care of professionals at All American Pet Resorts. There are things you can try to help them get over their anxiety, like giving them what they need to be comfortable, but unfortunately, there's no one way to do it.
Whether you're having trouble reducing travel anxiety in your pup or starting to consider traveling may be easier for the both of you if they stay back, All American Pet Resorts will be there. From our comfortable and spacious boarding suites to our friendly and certified dog hotel staff, there's no wonder why dog owners trust us with their best friends for one night, one week, and even longer!