Options to Calm your Pet for Travel
Pet travel with anxious and nervous Pets requires special consideration: your options to calm your Dog or Cat are: Crate Training, Noise Acceptance, Comfort Items, Pheromones, CBD, OTC and Sedatives. This guide shows you all your options:
- 1. Start Early with Pet Crate Training
- 2. Start to Normalize Your Pet to Travel Sounds: Engine and Road Noise
- 3. Include Your Pet’s Favorite Items in their Travel Crate
- 4. Test Pet Calming Aids
- 5. Try Pet Pheromones, Herbals and Pet Natural Supplements
- 6. Try Pet CBD treats and oils to Calm your Pet
- 7. Consider OTC Medications for your Fur Baby
- 8. Last, ask a Veterinarian about Pet Sedatives
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1. Start Early with Pet Crate Training
Weeks before your Pet’s travel begin to use the Crate they will travel in and start with just the bottom half, add their favorite treat, 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 Travel Sounds: 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 Your Pet’s 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 Pet Calming Aids Before you Try Sedative for Your Pet’s Travel
Herbs and some Natural Supplements can work over a longer time to calm anxiety. Natural dog sedatives for travel include many herbs and calming supplements. These take a while for your pet to get accustomed to and so you should begin introducing them at least 3 weeks before travel. If your Vet recommends supplements for your pet look for products containing:
- Magnolia Extract
- Philodendron extracts
- Whey protein concentrate
Rescue Remedy Pet is an all natural, popular and gentle option for your Dog. 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 Pet Pheromones before You Try Sedation for Flying with Pets
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.
Sedatives act much faster than Pheromones. If you have time to allow your Pet to respond to pheromones, this may be a more gentler option. Sedation may be a last resort but, you know your Dog or Cat far better than anyone. If you have tried other methods and they do not work, your veterinarian can prescribe sedatives to ease anxiety.
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 Thunder Ease.
6. Try Pet CBD Treats and Pet CBS Oils in Small Doses as an Alternative to Sedatives
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 (over-the-counter) Pet Medication that Have Sedative Qualities
Sometimes, no matter how many natural or holistic approaches you try, your pet may still need medication. Medication can relieve anxiety, nervousness 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 for Pets – 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 for Pets – 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 for Pets – 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 for Pets: 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 Veterinarian about Pet Sedatives for your Pet’s Travel
Prescription Anti-Anxiety Pet Medications a Veterinarian may prescribe for your dog or cat include; Fluoxetine – This is a fast-acting antidepressant. (Prozac or Sarafem) or,
Can I give my Dog or Cat Benadryl?
Yes, you can give your Dog or Cat Benadryl to Sedate them for Travel but, managing your Dog or Cat’s anxiety through medication or supplements requires talking to your Vet first about dosage, side-effects and possible reactions to existing conditions.
A Veterinarian can prescribe the safest medication. Try a more natural alternative: pheromone products: acclimating your Pet to other stress-triggering elements of air plane and vehicle traffic noises before opting to sedate.
Before giving your dog anything for travel, 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 pet medication is prescribed for your dog or cat’s travel, 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 about using a prescription to sedate your Dog or Cat for Travel.
To calm and anxious, nervous dog or cat for travel you to try Pet Crate Training,Normalize Your Pet Travel Sounds, Pet Calming Aids, Pet Pheromones, Pet CBD, and Pet Sedatives.
FAQ for Sedating and Calming My Pet for Travel
Can I give my Dog Benadryl?
Yes, managing your Dog or Cat’s anxiety with Benadryl or other medication can be effective, especially when you consult a Veterinarian about dosage, side-effects and possible reactions to existing conditions. A Veterinarian can prescribe the safest medication. Try a more natural alternative: pheromone products: acclimating your Pet to anxiety-triggers such as flying or vehicle traffic noises.
How Do I Know if My Dog suffers Anxiety when Traveling?
Anxiety—is the sensation of nervousness, unease, or apprehension often triggered by events and situations we do not recognize or. When Dogs feel anxiety, the trigger is often from a lack of being in control and being in an unfamiliar environment. If your Dog is triggered with anxiety and nervousness you might notice these symptoms:
- Crouching or cowering close to the ground or trying to hide in a “safe” location
- Increased Panting
- Their ears are pulled back
- Are your Dog’s muscles tense
- Trembling or have their tail between their legs
- Refusal to look at you or hiding against a wall
- Urination, defecation, release of the anal glands
- Wide open eyes, sometimes with the whites showing
What Can I Do for My Dog who is Anxious or Nervous When Traveling?
Socialization to travel, including noises and crowds include gradual and increasing exposure results in behavioral modification.
This is the best way to deal with travel anxiety in Dogs. It does take time, but it is worth it in the long run and is a much better fix than sedation.
Rather than using Dog sedatives for flying, which has many dangers we will outline below, it’s important to try train your dog to stay calm in different environments. Both you and your dog will be far happier for it.
These protocols involve teaching a dog how to stay calm when they are exposed to certain triggers, such as a busy train, airport, or a long duration in a car.
By getting your dog used to traveling in general, he or she is more likely to stay calm whilst flying.
The best way to deal with travel anxiety in Dogs is the use of positive reinforcement and gradually increasing your Dogs exposure to these triggers.
The word ‘gradual’ is key. You want to take baby steps to teach your dog that traveling isn’t so scary after all.
How to tell if My Dog Needs a Sedative for Flying?
If you Dog is not responding well-enough to behavior modification exercises such as increasing exposure noises, crate training, separation anxiety that are often triggers when flying with Pets and your Dog is still exhibiting signs of anxiety:
To Sedate Your Dog for Flying, You must speak with your Veterinarian for possible prescription medication including:
Prescription Anti-Anxiety Medications:
Fluoxetine – This is a fast-acting antidepressant. (Prozac or Sarafem).
Other Ingredients your Veterinarian may consider Include:
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.