July 21 2016
Does your dog get car sick? Did you know that 1 in 5 dogs suffer
from car or motion sickness? Dog motion sickness is real and can happen even on
short jaunts. Know that most carsickness episodes in dogs are brought
about by stress and not the motion itself. Your final destination may be
what is making your dog worried or sick.
Signs of Car Sickness
What's the Cause of Car Sickness?
your dog is a pup, ear structures used for balance may not be fully
developed yet. Many puppies outgrow motion sickness.
older dogs associate a car ride with something traumatic - maybe they were
abandoned at a shelter or remember being car sick as a pup. Consider
avoiding car rides for a couple of weeks.
How to Help
Try to make the car ride as comfortable as possible for your dog.
Many dogs seem to love going for car rides because they get to spend more time
with you and love to hang their head out the window. In fact, your dog may hang
his head out the window to prevent nausea.
by getting your dog used to the car with the engine turned off. Then spend
time in the car and create a positive association. Try feeding him
in the car, give him his favorite bone in the car or brush him (if this relaxes
him). Do not start going places in the car until he is calm and relaxed
from these visits. Then progress from sitting in the car, to sitting in
the car with the ignition turned on to taking short trips around the block
or to his favorite pet park.
your protection and your dog's, use a doggy seat belt that allows him to
face forward while traveling rather than looking out the side windows.
Some dogs get overwhelmed by all the visual stimuli passing by. Either use
a doggie shade or place your dog in a crate, so your dog will not get
thrown about should you get in an accident or stop suddenly. In the event
your dog becomes ill, it will be a place to contain the vomit.
your dog rides in the front seat, understand that an air bag detonating
could be a potential hazard to your dog, similar to small children.
Additionally, in the case of an accident, your dog may go through the
- Food. Make sure
your dog has an empty stomach before the ride. Avoid feeding
your dog approximately 3 - 6 hours before a car trip. Provide plenty of
food and water when you reach your destination.
dogs can handle long car rides whereas others can't. A good rule of thumb
is if your dog gets car sick, stop every hour or two to give him a chance
to have some bathroom time.
- Windows. Lower your
car windows a few inches to balance the pressure inside the car with the
pressure outside the car. Also be sure to keep the car cool and well
ventilated as a hot and stuffy car can cause your dog to become ill.
- Toys. Buy
special toys that your dog enjoys and only give him access to them in the
- Medications. Talk to
your veterinarian about possible anti-nausea drugs should you exhaust all
other options. Some vets will prescribe Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate),
which is also used by people who have motion sickness or an all-natural
Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before purchasing any
over-the-counter treatment for dog motion sickness so the appropriate dosage is
given and should there be any adverse reactions.