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Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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Can I sedate my dogs for a 12 hour road trip Can I use over

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Can I sedate my dogs for aXXXXXtrip? Can I use over the counter ?

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer!

I would like to help you and your dogs with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

When do you leave on the road trip?

Does either dog have any medical problems that you are aware of?

Is either dog on any medication?


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
We leave on our trip June 25th from Chicago to Tennessee

Neither dog has any medical history or current issues and are on no medications.

Also, my husband wants to know if they can travel in their cage (they share one cage) in the back of his pick up truck. I am concerned about the heat and humidity as they are mostly inside dogs. Can you solve this debate between us??

Thank you so very much for your time!
I'll be moving on June 25th too!

I've been working on your answer....

In terms of the issue about the cage in the back of the truck, I would want to know:
- how hot is it there?
- how humid is it there?
- would they be in shade?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
About that time of year, it could be 90 degrees and usually rather humid. The cage is a hard shell fully covered with many large vents on both sides, so there would be no direct sun on top of their bodies, but on top of the cage itself.

The hours we are traveling are from 3am - 3pm, with the hottest of the day from about 10am - 3pm.

My puggle does seem to have some anxiety issues as we often travel with them 1.5 hours several times a year (inside the car) and he has the roughest time, the lab does much better.

Good Luck on your move!! :)
Ok - the issue of the Puggle in the crate is easy: ABSOLUTELY NOT!!

Any brachycephalic dog (like a Pug or a Boston Terrier or other flat-faced dog) is at very high risk of overheating and going into respiratory arrest in a situation like what you are describing. I am always anxious about flying these dogs, and think you would be taking a huge risk to put him in the crate.

The Lab might do ok in there until about 10 am or so... but after that I would be worried about him too. Those conditions are very unpleasant for dogs (high heat and humidity) and if you add a bit of anxiety in there, you are taking a risk.

If these were my dogs, they would be in the cab with me, even if that makes it crowded! (sorry, boyfriend!)

Now, on to the issue of sedation to travel. I'm glad you are asking ahead of time so you have a little while to try out some options.

    1. One of the things that I would strongly recommend is a DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) spritzer or collar. It contains a smell that calms dogs, but is not a drug and is perfectly safe. It has no odour to humans.

    Here is more about them:

    2. I would recommend purchasing some Composure Liquid from Vetri Science. It is composed of a protein extract from a milk product and a soy product plus a few other things. It seems to work great for dogs that have to travel, calming them safely. You should try it out at home first to see how your dog reacts to it.

    Here is more:

You can also find it on Ebay.

    3. Another thing to pick up would be BENADRYL (diphenhydramine). This should not be given if the dog has glaucoma.


The dose that one generally gives is 1mg/lb.

In a 90lb dog, that means a dose of 90mg. It comes as a 25mg tablet, so that works out to 3.5 tablets.

In a 43lb dog, that works out to 1.5 tablets.

Here is more about Benadryl:

    This would be given about 30 minutes before leaving home.

You could try this out at home on a trial run to see how it affects your boys.

4. Another thing that you could try would be Rescue Remedy.
More about it here:

It is pretty widely available at health food stores. If you don't have one near you, here is a link:

I have found the results variable with Rescue remedy. Some dogs do seem more relaxed with Rescue Remedy, some don't seem to have any change with its use. But it is safe!

    5. Also, in terms of preparing the dogs for travel, it is best if you do not feed them for about 8 hours before you leave. You can leave them with access to water up until you go, but I would skip the food. This will eliminate nausea, and probably prevent them from needing to defecate as well.

With some advanced planning, you can minimize the stress to your dogs, and get them through this as smoothly as possible. They may not enjoy the travel, and it will be stressful for them and you. But you can help to minimize this! I hope that this has provided you with some ideas on how to help!

Bon voyage!

If this has been helpful, please hit the green "Accept" button and leave feedback.

If you have more questions, click reply and I will be back to provide more information if you need it!

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.


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