How to Calm Your Pet for Travel

You have many options to calm your pet before and during travel. including crate training, noise acceptance, Comfort Items, Try Pheromones, CBD, OTC and Prescription Medication.  This guide shows you all your options:

  • 1. Start Early with Crate Training
  • 2. Start to Normalize Your Pet to Engine and Road Noise
  • 3. Include Favorite Items in their Travel
  • 4. Test Calming Aids
  • 5. Try Pheromones, Herbals and Natural Supplements
  • 6. Try CBD treats and oils to Calm your Pet
  • 7. Consider OTC Medications for your Fur Baby
  • 8. Last, ask a Vet about Sedatives for Your Pet

1. Start Early with Crate Training. 

Weeks before the travel use the Crate they will travel in and start with just the bottom half, add their toys or blanket.

Then add the top half of the crate, always use positive reinforcement, modify their routine to enjoy treats in or near the crate and around the time of the intended travel, later add the door. See our article: How To Crate Train Your Pet for Air Travel.

2. Start to Normalize Your Pet to Engine and Road Noise.

Take your Pet on short trips with the crate or harness they will travel in and lower the window enough to allow road noise to seep in.  Close the window if they are anxious and gradually lengthen the time of exposure to noises.

3. Include Comfort Items During Travel.

Your pet can begin to accept the new crate’s smell and feel when you put their bedding and toys inside.

4. Test Calming Aids for Your Pet’s Travel.

Herbs and some Natural Supplements can work over a longer time to calm anxiety. If your Vet recommends supplements for your pet look for products containing:

Lavender

Ginger

Tryptophan

Melatonin

Thiamine

Magnolia Extract

Philodendron extracts

Whey protein concentrate

Alpha-casozepine

L-theanine

Rescue Remedy Pet is one option.  Their products are comprised of 5 different Bach Flower Remedies that constitute a stress reliever. It is completely safe to use on your dog. You just add 2-4 drops directly to their drinking water. There is also a spray that you can use on pet bedding and toys.

Supplements need time to become effective.  Up to six weeks sometimes to see the full effects of these supplements.

5. Try Pheromones.

Pheromones are a type of chemical communication between members of a species.

The vomeronasal organ, which is located between the nose and mouth, receives pheromones. Neilson says certain pheromones, called calming or appeasing pheromones, can sometimes help relieve stressed pets.

Jacqui Neilson, DVM, DACVB, owner, Animal Behavior Clinic

Some Pheromone products that are well-reviewed and popular are: Calming collars that releases pheromones, Dog Appeasing Pheromones OTC at your local pet store, frequently sold under the brand name Comfort Zone or Adaptil,  and Thunder Ease.

6. Try CBD Treats and Oils in Small Doses.

The American Kennel Club states:

If you and your veterinarian decide that you should try CBD as a treatment for your dog, there are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing CBD oil. Not all oils are the same; you’ll want high-quality CBD oil to have a better chance of it working.

  • Look for organic. If the CBD oil is not organic, it at least should not contain pesticides, fungicides, or solvents.
  • Don’t only shop based on price. Higher quality and purity are usually associated with a higher cost. A cheaper option could contain toxic substances such as pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals. Make sure your CBD oil is free of additives.
  • Get the analysis. The manufacturer should provide a certificate that certifies the amount of CBD that is in the product. Many CBD products contain only small amounts of CBD. You’ll also want to make sure there is little or no THC in the product.
  • Buy CBD as a liquid. You can buy dog treats containing CBD, but the best form to administer is an oil or tincture. This way, you can adjust your dog’s dose drop by drop.

Some of the most respected and popular brands are: Innovet, Verma Farms, Charlotte’s Web Full Spectrum, and Paw CBD.

7. Consider OTC Medications.

Sometimes, no matter how many natural or holistic approaches you try, your pet may still need medication. Medication can relieve anxiety and nausea. At these times, you will have to consult your veterinarian for help. Only your veterinarian will understand how medications, or what combination of medication and supplements, will help to calm your pet. These are some of the medications Veterinarians can advise or prescribe:

Acepromazine – This is a type of tranquillizer and is often used before anesthesia and surgery as a way to calm anxious dogs and cats. It works by suppressing the central nervous system.  (Aceprotabs, PromAce).

Mirtazapine – Is effective for nausea in pets and prevents  vomiting. This compound is used to treat depression in humans, but also can be used for cats and dogs. It is ideal for pets that feel queasy on long journeys.  It can stimulate appetite as a side-effect. (Remeron).

Metoclopramide – This is effective for treating nausea and vomiting in both cats and dogs. It requires a prescription but is very safe and easy to administer. It normalizes digestive function and allows bile to flow in the right direction.

Antihistamines: Medications in this drug class may lessen your dog’s travel anxiety and reduce their chances of carsickness through a variety of mechanisms, including their drowsiness-inducing effects and their direct action on your dog’s balance centers. A common antihistamine used for pets is diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

8. Last, ask a Vet about Sedatives

Prescription Anti-Anxiety Medications: your Vet may prescribe include; Fluoxetine – This is a fast-acting antidepressant. (Prozac or Sarafem).

Other Ingredients your Veterinarian may consider Include:

alprazolam
amitriptyline
buspirone
clomipramine
dexmedetomidine

diazepam
lorazepam
paroxetine
sertraline
trazodone

Before giving your dog anything, it’s always best to seek advice from your veterinarian. Your dog’s veterinarian can determine which sedative is best for your dog based on the problem that needs to be addressed and your dog’s overall health.

Whichever medication is prescribed, ensure you closely follow the dosing instructions that are provided and never give more sedative than is recommended. You should also always talk to your veterinarian about any questions or concerns that you might have.

Published by Stephanie Anne Fling

Everything Pet Travel Related by Air, Sea and Land.