Travel Anxiety in Pets

Anxiety caused by a certain event is called situational anxiety, and some dogs and cats can have mild to severe anxiety when faced with a long trip in the car. We avoid these situations when we can, but sometimes, as with a move or an extended vacation—we need to get our animals there. Training/desensitizing by taking the pet on multiple short trips to show them nothing bad will happen works often, but sometimes we don’t anticipate that situation long enough before it arrives, or, in rare cases, the short trips prove to have little effect on the anxiety. In such cases, we can resort to having a veterinarian examine our pets for any underlying issues, and then prescribe appropriate medications that range from treating mild to severe anxiety.

For Mild Anxiety

Composure chews:

These chew treats are a safe supplement that contains colostrum, a natural calming complex found in the milk of new mother mammals. They can be used chronically or just for the situation that causes anxiety.

Zylkene Capsules:

These capsules contain a proprietary blend of natural calming ingredients and a concentrated bovine-sourced hydrolyzed milk protein, similar to the colostrum in the Composure Chews. Just as with Composure chews, Zylkene can be used chronically or situationally.

For Moderate to Severe Anxiety


This medication has a mild sedative effect and can be used in healthy pets that experience travel and other situational anxiety. It is best to take Trazodone on a test run before the big trip to see if your pet responds as desired to the medication. Your doctor may or may not ask for a small blood panel to check the liver and kidneys before prescribing Trazodone.

Dexmedetomidine (Sileo)

Sileo is a gel that is placed in the mouth and absorbs through the gum tissue. Just like Trazodone, Sileo is best given before beginning the journey that will cause anxiety.