Dog Sedative For Car Travel | Travel With Doggie

Dog Sedative For Car Travel

So, you are going on a road trip and probably wondering how your beloved doggie is going to react, given its past reactions and how uncomfortable cars make it feel. You have probably also tried all possible methods to keep your dog calm and at ease, but nothing seems to be working and you find yourself thinking about sedating your dog for the long ride. Read on, as I am going to cover all that you need to know about dog sedatives for travel.

Sedatives And Safety

Before everything else, it is important to know how sedatives actually function and what they do. Sedatives help relax the brain. They will not make your dogs pass out, but they will make them calm, drowsy and clumsy.

It is important to take precautions if you are using a dog sedative for travel. I will list down the main precautions that you must take when you are travelling with a sedated dog:

  • Make sure you have a proper arrangement in place inside the car, where your dog can rest steadily while the car moves, because there is a high chance of it getting drowsy and shaky.
  • It is crucial that you first consult a vet before even buying a dog sedative. You need to have complete knowledge about the dosage, which should be decided on a number of factors including your dog’s past medical history, breed, size and age.
  • Sedatives can cause dehydration, so make sure you take short breaks during your travel to let your pet drink water calmly.

Opting For The Right Sedative For Car Travel

There are numerous choices available in the market of dog sedatives for car travel. The tricky part is choosing the right one for your dog according to its needs and the situation along with its mental and physical stability and, most importantly, the vet’s recommendations. I will list down some of the sedatives that are commonly recommended by vets, some of which are over-the-counter sedatives for car travel. 


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Alprazolam, popularly known as Xanax, is a very commonly used sedative for dogs. Although it effectively sedates your dog, it can have an adverse effect where the dog ends up becoming super energized and hyper. The dose should be small, around 0.01 to 0.1 mg/kg, and it should never exceed more than 4 mg in a day.


Amitriptyline is an anti-depressant, which is widely used for dogs to control their behavioral problems such as fear of travelling in cars and separation anxiety. It works by targeting the brain chemicals that normally get imbalanced and cause anxiety and behavioral problems. Amitriptyline’s side effects include loss of appetite, dizziness and clumsiness.


This sedative is commonly used by vets to control fear and aggressiveness in dogs. It does not have immediate effects, so it is important you start giving this sedative some time before your travel day so that the dog gets accustomed to it and you can get positive results. It is known to affect the serotonin level inside the brain which can cause anxiety in lower amounts in dogs. Like most sedatives, its side effects include loss of appetite, aggression and dizziness.

This is probably the most common sedative used by many dog owners to sedate their dogs. As such, I dedicated an article on benadryl with a whole lot more details. You can find it in this link.


Clomipramine is also a pretty common sedative used for dogs. It’s effectively used for treating behavioral problems, anxiety and travel sickness. It’s highly important that you give this drug only after your vet has recommended or called it safe to use. Its possible side effects include lethargy, increased thirst and heart rate and confusion. It’s crucial that you don’t give any more doses if your dog shows any side effect.


Also known as Sileo, this drug is also used to sedate your dog. It is only to be used if the vet prescribes it. The dosage depends on the size, weight and age of the dog. If your dog suffers from heart, liver or kidney diseases, it is advised that you don’t use it because it can have major adverse effects on your pet. Its effects include drowsiness, muscle contractions, and decrease in body temperature. It is important that you let your dog rest for a good 10 to 15 minutes after you have injected the drug.


This drug is also used as a sedative and muscle relaxant or for controlling anxiety. It is important that you consult your vet before administering this drug because it can have negative effects if it is mixed with some other medication. Its side effects include reduction in energy, decreased heart and breathing rates and diarrhea.


This antidepressant drug is also used as a sedative in many cases. It is an effective dog sedative for travel for short-term use. Like most drugs, it is important that you closely follow your vet’s instructions about giving this drug to your dog. Fluoxetine also has side effects like panic attacks, dry mouth, lethargy and sore throat. 

Final Thoughts

The products I mentioned above are all trusted and usually will not have any lasting side-effects, but I still recommend you go to your dog’s vet and discuss it with them before giving any drug to your pet in case your dog is unsuitable and will not be able to handle it. 

One important thing to keep in mind is to never use sedatives as a permanent solution to your dog’s car anxiousness and travel sickness. Always try to train your dog and make it adapt to such situations before the travel day.

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