My five-pound Maltipoo, Daisy, is my entire life. Therefore, it only makes sense that I try to take my fur child with me as much as possible. Driving to Whole Foods? Yep! Melrose Trading Post. You bet. The Grove? Absolutely. I think you get the idea…
Living in dog-friendly Los Angeles, I’m fortunate that so many places allow for the company of our beloved four-legged friends. However, getting to these places was a bit of an issue for my overly anxious pup. In fact, sometimes it was so stressful traveling even short distances that I questioned whether or not the whole experience is worth it for her.
Of course, once we arrived at our destination, Daisy was over the moon. You would never know that she was 12 years old at the rate that she prances through the sand at Rosie’s Dog Beach. However, the anxiety she so obviously experienced on the way had me worried.
I knew that I didn’t want to give her any conventional anti-anxiety medications. I also knew that I wasn’t alone. So many of my friends have identical experiences with their dogs. I decided I had to figure something out.
Over the years I have uncovered a handful of easy tips that will make traveling with (wo)man’s best friend easier for you and stress-free for your pup.
The first thing that I realized is that Daisy constantly had to be on my lap when we were driving anywhere. Despite her five-pound stature, she’s usually not much of a lap dog. This got me thinking that perhaps my lap was the only place she could really feel safe.
Turns out, when she was in the back seat, even a slight turn or brake would send her into a fit of anxiety. That’s when I tried this.
The booster seat makes Daisy feel safe, and also makes me comfortable knowing that she’s secure. I would recommend a dog car seat regardless of whether or not your pup is experiencing anxiety while traveling. It’s a great way to ensure their safety without having to resort to a dog carrier.
CBD For Dogs
You’ve likely heard about the incredible benefits of CBD for people of all ages. From reducing seizures to managing anxiety to decreasing the formation and spread of cancer cells, CBD is effectively showing that it has the potential to eliminate the need for a slew of convention medications.
One of the greatest advancements in holistic healing is the studies showing that CBD can also effectively treat our dogs. Remarkably, CBD has very comparable effects in our furry companions as it does you and me. I began giving Daisy this prior to our rides all over Los Angeles and I could immediately tell a difference.
What I liked is that the CBD didn’t make her act loopy or disoriented, she was still her normal, playful self, just without the anxiety associated with car rides.
I’ve also found it extremely helpful to walk Daisy prior to our car trips, no matter how far we are going. Allowing her to wear herself out in the form of a neighborhood walk before getting in the car definitely calms her nerves and makes for an easy ride!
Calm Mama = Calm Pup
For the longest time, anytime anything excited happened, I was my dog’s hype woman. Are we getting in the car to go to the beach? If so, we’re going to jump in circles and get super excited, because hey, why not? Turns out, in my search for ways to make my dog more Namaste in the car, I realized that this was a big no-no.
See, if you act like getting into the car is the biggest deal in the world then your dog will pick up on your energy and in turn also think it’s the biggest deal in the world (just not in the way you think it is). Act like a little car trip is no big deal? Your dog will follow suit.
Furthermore, I probably don’t have to tell you that dogs are incredibly sensitive creatures. I have found that playing calming music for at least the first 20 minutes of our car trip has really helped ease her nerves. Sorry folks, leave the EDM for club.
Also, I have also found success in calming essential oils, such as lavender. I usually keep a small lavender roll on in my car when going on long trips or sitting in traffic on the 405. The lavender not only calms Daisy but definitely keeps me chilled out when I quickly find myself gridlocked on the freeway. Just be sure to avoid applying any essential oil (lavender included) to your dog as it can be irritating to their skin. Instead, put it on your wrist and let Fido take a few sniffs.
Plan Out Stops
When Daisy and I go on long trips, I always make sure to plan out where we are going to stop beforehand. This way I know that she won’t start to get restless without a prepared stop in mind. Allow your pup to get 10-15 minutes of walking and sniffing at your stops. This will also allow for them to burn off any energy that they’ve been building up in the last few hours.
Finally, I recommend starting off slowly by bringing your pup on quick, easy trips. For example, a fast trip to the coffee shop down the street. Most dogs associate the car with something major, like the vet or the groomer. By taking your dog on stress-free journeys (or trips that end in something great for them, i.e the dog park), it will train their brain to stop correlating the car with something stressful.
A Final Thought
If you’re reading this and you live in Los Angeles, I don’t have to tell you how lucky we are to live in a place where so many restaurants, coffee shops, malls, beaches, etc. are not only are dog-friendly, but actually encourage you to bring your fur baby along. With that said, travel can be challenging for certain pups. However, by using these simple tips, you should see major progress in your pup.
Oh, the places you’ll go!
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