Does Your Dog Have Anxiety While Traveling?

“We rescued an 8 year-old springer/cocker spaniel from a puppy mill about 8 months ago. She is a loving dog and is a joy to have around the house. She is very friendly and gets along well with other dogs. We had her spayed in May and had some tumors removed. Our only concern is going on trips to visit our children. She barks and whines constantly as soon as we start our trip and does this for 3 to four hours- which is how long it takes to get to our destination. Our vet gave us some pills that puts her to sleep, but she is so doped up that we worry about her. We would prefer not to have to medicate her. Is there a chapter in your book on how to combat this problem. Thanks in advance.  Thanks, Daphne.”

Adam replies:

Is she currently sleeping in a crate at home? When you travel with her, is she in the crate? Let me know and we’ll go from there.

Daphne replies:

Yes she has a crate- and used it everyday as her comfort zone. We take it with us on our trips, and she gets into it – no problem- but the whining and barking starts up as soon as we start driving- and until the meds kick in. hope this helps/.

Adam replies:

I recommend that you start feeding her meals in the car. Do it with the engine off for the first week, and for the second week, do it with the engine on (idling).

Another thing that works frequently is to start taking her for short car rides… but only to play. So, if you have a park a block away from your house, drive her to the park and if she has something that she loves doing (like chasing the ball) let her chase the ball.

If you don’t live near a park, then just drive her to a cul-de-sack near your home and do the same. It’s just anxiety. Soon she will begin to associate a “positive” with riding in the car.