Original Question: Good Afternoon Dr. Greenway, you mentioned on your radio show last week that it is better to sedate an anxious pet than let them be anxious. Penny my dog has been a “basket case” in the car since day one. She stands up most of the time panting and whining. (e.g. 2 hour trip to cottage). What do you suggest as a sedative? We appreciate your wisdom as our vet left town and we are without one at present. Thank you. - Barbara
Thanks for your question.
Car anxiety in dogs is a common issue and you heard me correctly that providing some sedation is healthier so that your dog doesn’t experience extreme anxiety and nervousness. I did, however, fail to mention a critical point. A dog sedative for car travel will calm your dog down for the trip but it won’t reduce anxiety. Most veterinarians recommend that you combine an anti-anxiety product with a sedative product so that you get the best result and address each symptom your dog experiences during these episodes.
My licensing regulations prevent me from naming specific products as I could be seen endorsing them. I recommend you discuss the options with your veterinarian. Sedatives for dogs come as prescribed oral medication. There are great anti-anxiety products that are natural supplements and they work very well.
You will want to give a low dose of these products to start with and then you can slowly give a little more to create the right level of calmness for the trip. Keep in mind that every dog is different and will have a different tolerance level to these products so start with a low dose and add a little more over an hour or two before you embark on your trip.
I hope this helps. Good luck.
Dr. Clayton Greenway