Sedating Your Dog For Travel
Are you about to go on a long road trip with your dog? While this can be fun for you, your dog may not like the long trip, and you may be looking into things you can do to help keep them calm and sedated. While most dogs do just fine when on these long trips and do not need to be sedated. There are many ways you can keep them calm and quiet when on these road trips.
Should You Use A Dog Sedative for Travel?
No, most dogs will do just fine when they are in the car. You can test this by going for a short car trip in your city to see how they act in the car. A trip to the pet store or dog park will allow you to see how your dog acts in the car. If they are going to ride in a crate or in a dog seat buckled in, make sure this is how they are riding during the test ride. If your dog is very anxious or nervous during this car ride, then you may want to consider giving them a mild sedative.
How To Prepare Your Dog For A Long Road Trip
You can do a few things at home to prepare your dog for the long road trip. If your dog is going to travel in a crate, it is best to let them spend time in this crate. Put a blanket in their crate so that they can spend time during the day sleeping in here. Make staying in a crate a good thing and give them a reward for going into their crate and resting.
Make sure that you close the door to the crate so that they are comfortable with the door being shut. Also, put the crate in the car and let them get used to the crate in the car. Even taking them for short car rides around your neighborhood will help them get used to spending time in the crate with the car moving. The more that you can get your dog used to riding in the car, the easier and less stress you will see when you are traveling with your dog.
What To Pack For Your Dog?
If you are about to take your dog on a long road trip, it is best to make sure that you have everything that you will need. This is a great list of things to remember to bring with you.
- Collar or Harness
- Toys and treats
- Blanket or bed
- Any current medication
- Waste Collection bags
When you are traveling, you need to have everything to take care of your dog. Never depend on the availability of food where you are going. Make sure that you have a plan of how you are going to set your dog’s space up once you get to where you are going.
What Can You Do If Your Dog Gets Car Sick?
Some dogs do throw up when they ride in the car. If your dog, unfortunately, gets car sick, there are a few things that you can do.
- Ask your vet for Cerenia: Cerenia is a commonly prescribed medication for a dog who is vomiting or get car sick. You can give this medication to your dog about 30 minutes to an hour before you leave to help decrease nausea.
- Work on getting them used to the car: Some dogs will get better with car rides after they have gotten used to the car. Take them for rides in the car can help them no longer get car sick
- Give them Dramamine: Dogs can also take Dramamine for car sickness, just like people. A large dog would need 25 to 50 mg, where a small dog would need 12.5mg.
What Is Available As A Dog Sedative For Traveling?
There are a few different options for sedatives for traveling. Commonly prescribed sedatives are Trazadone, Acepromazine, Gabapentin, or Alprazolam. Depending on other health issues that your dog may have and how sedate your dog needs to be will dictate which medication your vet prescribes your dog.
All of these medications your vet will have to prescribe for your dog as they are prescription medications. If your dog does not need strong prescription medication but just something to help keep them a little calm, there are some supplements that you can try.
These are something that you can try over the counter to help keep your dog calm.
- Benadryl: The dosage is 1mg/pound given twice a day
- CBD: Many calming treats contain CBD products. These will help keep your dog calm in the car.
- Chamomile: This is an herb that is found in calming supplements that can be used to help keep your dog calm on long car rides.
- Valerian Root: This is also great at helping with anxiety and helps your dog sleep better. This can be given before the car ride to help make your dog sleep during the ride.
It is best to give these sedatives to your dog before going on the car ride. It is better to know how your dog will react to these medications before you are on the road than when you are nowhere near your vet for help if you need it.
If you are planning a cross country move or just a long road trip with your dog, a mild sedative will help keep them calm and quiet for the trip. Remember to plan ahead and pack everything that your dog would need so that you can quickly and easily access it.
Always try any sedative that you are planning to give your dog on a car ride before your leave on your trip. Give your dog this sedative one day when you are home all day and can see how your dog reacts to this medication before giving the medication and leaving for a long road trip.
Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM graduated from St. George’s University Veterinary School in 2015. Since then, she has been at a small and exotic animal practice in Texas. In her free time, she loves making quilts and spending time with her husband Greg and their 4 fur kids. Two dogs, Ruby a schnoodle, and Bug a Japanese Chin, one cat named OJ and a leopard tortoise named Monkey.