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Panic attacks in a car. My dog is driving me crazy :(

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by paulareno, Nov 22, 2021 at 6:47 PM.


  1. paulareno

    paulareno PetForums Member

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    We used to travel on a train with our 4yo poodle. No issues.
    Used to take her in taxis. A bit anxious but enjoyed it mostly, especially with an open window.

    Got a car this year = poodle turned into a maniac

    We have tried:
    = dog calming valerian
    = dog cbd oil
    = motion sickness pills do nothing
    = she has her spare bed in a car
    = tried kong with treats [that she normally loves]
    = tried just treats
    = tried reassurance and another human travelling at the back
    = tried "down" command

    Nothing works here!

    On the last trip, she had a full-blown panic attack while laying down was panting and shaking.

    Running out of ideas now...

    the "cesar milan" approach is a big BS, she is ok going in a car. she sits. she is even ok for the first few minutes. yesterday she had a few minutes nap [wow!]

    ...BUT the longer the journey the worst she gets...2h in a car with her..that is VERY intense!

    In a title, l said she is driving me crazy because as a driver, she stresses me out while l have to focus on a road, l end up paying more attention to her and her well being instead of a road. That's impossible...:((

    Should we take this with our vet and try some mild sedatives? Is anyone using mild sedatives for their dogs?

    H.E.L.P.
     
  2. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    She sounds really anxious. Has something happened that gives her a negative experience?

    Why do you need her in the car ? I would give her some time off then slowly build up. Just sit in the car have some tasty treats. Short journeys, can someone sit in the back with her. I darent ask what the CM approach is. Don’t follow him.
     
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  3. paulareno

    paulareno PetForums Member

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    Hi, no the CM approach was actually sitting in a car. getting out. getting in. starting engine. getting out..and so on so on...but she is ok sitting in a car. the panic builds up the longer we are on a road.

    That's the thing, nothing crazy happened. She loves being with us and we are there in a car with her. no need to worry, no need to panic...yet still...uh :(
     
  4. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    Has she had a full vet check could have some sort of pain ? Does she cope on short journeys ?
     
  5. paulareno

    paulareno PetForums Member

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    nope, no pains, she is very active and healthy, l don't know if she has motion sickness maybe? friends said dog cbd oil helps with that...doesn't work on her...are there any motion sickness pills we can give her?

    she pants on short journeys, but not as much. she is definitely not a calm dog at the back seat :(
     
  6. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    Poor girl my friends dog is the same it does appear to be sickness maybe chat with the vets see if they can prescribe anti sickness tablets to see if it makes a difference.
     
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  7. Emlar

    Emlar PetForums Senior

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    I would have thought if it was motion sickness then she wouldn't have been okay with taxis either?
    Does someone sit in the back with her? I would maybe do super short journeys, like 2 minutes with someone in the back with her reassuring her, and build it up that way. I guess like with crate training, if she gets anxious, take it back a step.
     
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  8. Sarah H

    Sarah H Grand Empress of the Universe

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    Have you tried a covered crate? Block out any view and make sure there is plenty of bedding to keep the movement down to a minimum. I'd also work out how long it takes her to start getting stressed and stop just BEFORE that point. Get her out for a walk around for 5-10 mins, then get back in the car. Just break up your journey a bit more.
    You may find she is actually stressed with all length of journeys, it's just that by the point you know she's worked herself up into a right state! If she won't take food then she's too stressed, so work out that point in the journey and stop before that time.
     
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  9. paulareno

    paulareno PetForums Member

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    ok...this is all great but we have to travel between Kent and London. We have to. We do those journeys every 2 weeks.

    There is no way l can leave her in one location or the other.

    The car journey takes at least 1:35 up to 2h. It is impossible for me to stop to calm my dog on M2... :)

    Travelling with her does not help, we have tried that...:(

    l think the next step will be a trip to the vet for some motion sickness pills to rule that out...I was hoping to get advice on sedatives people use to keep dogs calm on long haul journeys, maybe l should post it separately. not sure anyone here has experience with this.
     
    #9 paulareno, Nov 22, 2021 at 8:09 PM
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2021 at 8:17 PM
  10. Silverpaw

    Silverpaw PetForums VIP

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    I don't know how well they work on all dogs but a thundershirt has a good effect on my dog as he's got older and a bit more 'stressy'.Could you break the journey up,stop at services or something (I don't know the journey you do at all)?And I know it might sound crazy but as dogs pick up and respond to our stress, you could try singing.It's hard to sound stressful if you work through your repertoire of songs :).
     
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  11. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Moderator
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    One of my dachshunds is very unsettled n the car. I've found a combination of things that help.
    I give him a soothing biscuit, Feelwells Goodnight, or Lily's Kitchen Bed Time biscuit, before the journey.
    We stop about 30 mnutes into the journey for him to stretch his legs, wee, drink, snuffle about.
    He travels best in a crate wih our other dog - I think he feels more secure as that's what he was trained to do - he's a retired show/breeding dog. He was at his most distressed on the back seat. My OH has occasonally driven with him in the passenger footwell and sad that was his calmest ever journey, but that's not ideal.
    Bobby is usually more settled on return journeys somehow.:confused:

    Have you tried short journeys leading to a nice walk? I do feel for you, it makes travellng quite an ordeal.
    Our female dachshund is great, curls up straght away and dozes.
     
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  12. paulareno

    paulareno PetForums Member

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    Thanks :) crate won't work because we never had her in a crate...l am willing to try but l feel she will find it very strange to be in a cage...we do keep her in "down" position. and you would think that laying down will take any stress away. she just ended panting and shaking last time, all while down in her bed...

    We are staying calm. Using calm voices. Having the radio on and getting her favourite treats. So all l can think f is some physical discomfort. She never been sick though. Not in a car not after the journey... Hence question about travel pills.

    Shes never been sick in a car or after...l would love to just make her drowsy and sleepy and no one would struggle with those dreadful 2h :(
     
  13. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Moderator
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    Ca
    Could you try a few shorter trips to something she enjoys, like a walk? She mght also lke a doggie booster seat n the passenger seat so she can see you and you can chat to her?
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Booster-De...9,B0813T51H7,B0735GGXGK,B07H9WZL2W,B084G3819X
     
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  14. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    Motion sickness doesn't have to end in sickness, so she could very well be suffering from motion sickness... and keeping her in a down would definitely not help motion sickness.
    At 4 years old and already showing anxiety around riding in taxis she sounds anxious... but still sedation should be a last resort and only given under the guidance of a vet... even then sedation is not a cure and if it is motion sickness then sedation could make matters worse.

    If you have no one that can look after her (family members or professional) then my advice would be to speak to your vet about this issue and then hire a dog trainer with experience of this issue.
    Your dog sounds scared, and forcing the issue will just make that fear grow.
     
  15. MilleD

    MilleD PetForums VIP

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    Would she be happier in a kennels? Or with a dog sitter? She certainly doesn't sound happy in the car, and that's a long time to be stressed out every 2 weeks :(
     
  16. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Yes your vet can prescribe the canine equivalent of Valium. I had very similar problems with one of my collies when she was about 18 months old. Like you I tried everything over several months but having spent a fortune on pretty much every calming treatment on the market, plus short journeys, etc. etc. nothing worked except Valium. From what you've described it doesn't sound like motion sickness to me,
     
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  17. Calvine

    Calvine PetForums VIP

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    Friends of mine had something similar and said that Yucalm was brilliant (in her case). It's a supplement, so easily and cheaply available.
    With a cat of mine the vet recommended Diazepam (which is the Valium suggested above by @Twiggy). He was epileptic and had to see a vet every three months to be able to get the Phenobarbital, guess it's a controlled drug, and ironically, although the meds treated the epilepsy, he still had a fit in the twenty minute trip to the vets by car, so I asked the vet for something to give him before the car trip and he was given Valium which worked every time.
     
  18. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Ask your vet about dimenhydrinate or dimenhydrinate neither are sedatives, one is used for motion sickness the other for allergies, but both also have a drowsy effect that can help. They're very safe and short acting.

    I wouldn't do drugs only though, I'd look in to ways of making her feel more comfortable in the car.
    Think about things like road noise and the vibrations of the car. She might feel more comfortable in your lap for example. Or maybe a crate where she can stand up but still have the sides to lean up against.
    If she's not crate trained, I'd still do it, even if the crate doesn't work in the car, you never know when your dog is going to need a crate, and it's better that she be comfortable in it. Easiest thing to do is feed her in there, keep the door open, and just do all meals in there.
     
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  19. simplysardonic

    simplysardonic Moderator
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    This worked for my anxious/carsick dog & she now associates the car with good things, it does take time though.
     
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  20. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    @paulareno you've posted other threads about your dog panicking in other contexts. I think this may need to be addressed with a change in tactic of how you deal with her in general.
    Have you considered working with a professional? I think you might benefit from having an outside source watch your interactions.
     
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