Using Dog Tranquilizers for Travel

Dog tranquilizers can be bought over the counter or prescribed by your vet for various behavioral problems or after a surgery or before or after a disturbing event in the dog’s life. When you travel with your dog, you may administer tranquilizers, but you should also be aware of the possible side effects of these drugs and establish if using these is worth it.

Traveling with Dogs

Traveling with your pet may be required when you want to take your dog with you on a vacation or when you need to drive to the veterinarian’s office.

Some dogs may travel without any problems, while others will display an unusual behavior and may need to be calmed down.

Some vets will recommend the use of tranquilizers, but these may not always be the best solution.

Tranquilizers for Traveling

Traveling may be a stressful event for your dog and he may get used to traveling if he travels frequently enough. However, if you are planning a trip with your dog and you cannot predict his reactions, you may be tempted to get some tranquilizers that will keep the dog calm for several hours. These drugs may be effective but may also have some minuses.

The main disadvantage of tranquilizers is that they will affect the dog’s normal balance, so the dog will not be able to keep his balance when there are sudden movements and this may result in injuries during the flight/ drive.

Side Effects of Tranquilizers

While the tranquilizers will keep the dog calm for several hours, these drugs may have unwanted side effects such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Sleepiness, even several days after the drugs have been administered
  • Hypothermia or low body temperature
  • Dehydration

It’s important to administer only the recommended dose for your pet (per pound of body weight), as an overdose of sedative drugs may be deadly.

Contraindications for Tranquilizers

If your dog has a heart condition, the use of tranquilizers may not be recommended, so you will need to find alternative means of keeping your dog calm during the flight or while you drive. Sedatives are not recommended in dogs with heart disease that are taken on flights, as the high altitude also causes additional cardiovascular and respiratory issues.

Sedatives should also be avoided in dogs that have respiratory problems.

Alternatives for Tranquilizers

When you are planning a trip and your dog needs to travel along, you may use tranquilizers, if these are indicated by your vet or you may avoid using drugs and make your dog feel more comfortable by using the following tricks:

  • Use a kennel for traveling, where you place your dog’s blanket and a few pillows and toys
  • Hydrate your dog before the trip
  • Try getting your dog used to traveling by taking him on short drives in his kennel and gradually increasing the time spent on the road
  • Administer a low dose of benadryl (over the counter antihistamine), which will make the dog sleepy during the trip