Hodophobia is a scary name especially if it has everything to do with your dog. In case you are wondering what it is, it refers to your dog’s fear of traveling. Simply put, hodophobia is an irrational fear of traveling that your dog could be suffering from.
Wikipedia refers to hodophobia as an irrational fear, or phobia, of travel.
For most dog owners, you may have spotted your dog looking anxious during car trips. In case you cannot figure out why, your dog might be battling hodophobia.
Your dog’s anxiety might cause you to be anxious too, which usually arises when you have no idea of how to keep him still while you are driving. Have in mind that such anxiety predisposes your risks such as causing of an accident.
You, therefore, need to be careful and first ascertain the state of your dog before offering a ride invite since Dog Anxiety is a real thing. Let me tell you about my personal experience. When driving, my dog never wants to leave my side, regardless of the distance.
The truth is, we both suffer from anxiety while traveling, and on some occasions, my dog even wants to sit on my lap. It also gets harder because restraining him becomes an arduous task.
I, therefore, have to watch over my furry friend to prevent it from getting hurt, which honestly translates to putting my life at risk. The main issue, therefore, is to find a way of calming our dogs once they show signs of traveling anxiety.
I will, therefore, answer some of the questions that are relevant to this topic and provide suggestions on how to deal with this problem.
How Can You Overcome Dog Travel Anxiety?
The good news is, there are several ways of countering Dog Travel Anxiety, and therefore if your furry friend shows signs of restlessness, do not freak out. One useful hack is teaching your dog to have a favorable view of cars. Once the dog associates the car with anything good, he or she will be able to counter its restlessness.
You should also ensure that your car is well aerated before allowing your dog to go inside. Remember, this depends on the current climatic conditions. Fresh air helps calm your dog while restless. How then do you aerate your car?
It is pretty simple. You only need to open and lower your window a little bit to expel the hot air. In case you prefer air conditioning, make sure it is not set too high.
What if the weather is cold? For cold weather, you should warm your car up a bit. Do not let your dog enter a cold car, or else you will have trouble the entire journey.
Steps You Can Practice to Counter Hodophobia
To counter dog anxiety, here are some of the steps that you can practice:
Luring Your Dog Into the Car
Make sure that you don’t feed your dog before practicing this step. When going to the car, walk out with your dog on a leash. You can then give it a treat when you first open the car door to lure it into entering the car. What happens if the dog keeps on resisting and wants to go back to the house?
In that case, you should repeat the procedure several times six days minimum. With time, the dog will get used to getting into the car.
Taking A Ride
For every step your dog makes, you can either give him or her a treat as a way of praise. Praising your dog helps a lot when it finally comes to taking a ride. When going out on a trip, the first thing to do is buckle up your friend.
To keep it occupied during the ride, offer a favorite toy. Remember to practice this part a lot, especially if your dog does not like to be restrained.
Also, observe some stops along the way, which is even more necessary for longer rides. Why? Your dog needs to breathe since it is the only time it gets to stretch out fully.
The best way to travel is by ensuring that you and your dog are both safe. This doubles up as the best way of avoiding dog travel anxiety. The good news is, all the products that are needed to ensure that your dog is safe are easily accessible.
For a short car trip, dog seat belts come in handy because they can be taken off easily. However, for longer trips, you need a full harness or a car hammock. Always remember that your pet is at risk of injury when traveling, especially when you make sharp brakes or get involved in an accident.
For dog owners, you probably know that your furry friend loves riding with the head outside the window. Even though this is a common trait in almost all animals, it predisposes your dog to severe injuries. What then, are some of the products that can be used to secure your pet while driving?
Tethers work like a seat belt. They act as rigid dog harnesses that protect your dog on making a sudden stop. One precaution that you need to observe is never to attach the tether to the collar of your dog.
In case you are wondering, it is because your dog may either choke or break its neck. In cases of accidents, the tether and the harness are essential protection gears that prevent your dog from leaving the seat.
Another critical safety equipment is the booster seat, which is usually fastened to the vehicle keeping the dog seat in place when you make a sudden stop or start. It also protects during crashes.
The primary role of the backseat hammock is to fill the gap found between the back and the front seats. It, therefore, helps your dog stretch and relax by creating more room. In return, your dog will feel comfortable during the ride.
Pet carriers are usually instrumental when transporting your pet to the vet office or an outing. Remember, however, to fasten the carrier with a seat belt.
There are certain essential pieces of information that you need to find out before restraining your dog. These are as follows:
Does Your State Have Laws Regarding Restraining Your Dog?
You need first to ask yourself whether your state requires your dog to be restrained. Different places have different legislation’s, and for a number of countries, legislation’s to make dog seat belts a must are underway.
It is true that for dog owners, having your favorite pet around is bliss. However, you need to recognize the risk that comes with it. You must, therefore, ensure that you do not get distracted by your dog while on the highway.
Leaving your dog loose inside the vehicle might result in unwanted occurrences, a reason why most states require that dogs should be restrained.
In case of an accident, the dog may end up severely wounded or dead. A loose dog also predisposes you to the possibility of an accident that you ought to prevent.
In case you would like to find out what your state says about restraining your dog with seat belts while driving, just …
What to Do When Planning a Long-Distance Trip?
Dogs are not the same. While others love long-distance trips, some might have a problem getting into the car in the first place. Going on a long journey with your dog while driving, therefore, requires careful planning. Here are some of the things that you ought to do:
You need to make a list of all the things your dog needs on the trip. Remember, to fight hodophobia, your dog needs to be as comfortable as possible and giving him, or her everything it needs is a big step to comfort.
Tiring Your Dog Out
You should tire your dog out before the journey. An excessively active dog might be quite distracting on a long trip.
You should, therefore, drain all its energy to ensure that it sleeps all the way. Find an activity to engage your dog in.
Your dog needs to be entertained in the course of the long journey. You can, therefore, give your dog a bone to chew.
A hard rubber toy filled with treats would also be a good idea. You can also play some relaxing and calming music to help set the mood.
Pit Stops For Potty Breaks
When covering a longer distance, you need to make a number of stops along the way. Remember, your dog needs a potty break, just that it cannot communicate when it does.
Make sure, therefore, that you make regular stops so that your dog can take in some fresh air and stretch their legs.
On arrival, you also need to release the dog so that it stretches and go about its business.
When embarking on a long journey, you need to have plenty of drinking water, not only for your dog but also for you.
Keep Your Dog Comfortable.
Your dog needs to be comfortable during the journey. This can be done using a blanket or a bed. To curb dog travel anxiety, therefore, bring your pet a blanket or bed during the journey. They need to be soft and cuddly.
What Happens When You Get to Your Destination?
When you reach your destination, you should give your dog some time to adjust to the new surroundings. It can either be a hotel room or a different type of accommodation, but all in all, you should let your dog rest.
What is the Best Solution for Calming Your Anxious Dog?
We have looked at some of the practices that you can adopt to fight dog travel anxiety. You, however, need to ask yourself what the best solution for calming an anxious dog is.
Change of routine and exposing your dog to loud or new noises may redefine your dog’s behavior. Have in mind that behavioral changes are an indication that your dog is stressed by something.
You, however, need to note that the changes you notice on your dog are not purely a result of medical conditions; some are mental or emotionally related. In case you are worried about your dog, you can visit your vet, who will then prescribe a relaxation medication for your dog’s anxiety.
An example of a relaxant that has worked well on my dog is Trazadone.
There are, however, other natural remedies that will work wonders. A good example is the calming chews, which help dogs deal with anxiety.
Supplements for Canine Travel Anxiety
Note that there are certain supplements that you can offer your dog for a calming effect during anxiety. A good way of treating dog stress, therefore, is by using melatonin, which is a hormone that naturally rises in the bloodstream during sleep.
Melatonin is therefore an effective short-term relaxant. It may also help improve your dog’s quality of sleep. Another invention is the CBD oil for dogs, which have become pretty popular.
The only problem with these supplements is that there is no regulation regarding strength and potency.
On the brighter side, should you decide to use CBD oil, note that it is devoid of THC, which is the substance in Marijuana that gets people high.
You must, however, talk to your vet in regards to dosing before administering these supplements to your dog.
You can also opt for plug-in calming diffusers, sprays, wipes, and collars, generally referred to as pheromones. These contain a form of the hormone used by nursing mothers in calming their puppies.
Here’s to a Carefree Journey!
Ensure, therefore, that you go by our suggestions. Never forget to praise your dog during and after the ride for its good behavior. Hodophobia is a pretty scary condition. However, it is manageable with the right practices and supplements.
I would like to hear from you regarding Dog Travel Anxiety. Was the information provided helpful to you in understanding how to handle travel anxiety issue with your dog? You may leave your questions and comments in the section below and I will be happy to respond.
All the best!
Founder/Creator: Love A Rescue Dog 🐶
“Saving one animal won’t change the world, but for that one animal, the world changes forever”