Dog Car Sickness: What You Need to Know to Help Your Pup Dog Car Sickness: What You Need to Know to Help Your Pup - SitStay

Dog Car Sickness: What You Need to Know to Help Your Pup

Golden Retriever with a red bandanna leaning out a car window on a trip

Driving over to the local dog park to give your pet a nice fun walk can really be spoiled by the trip in the car. The last thing you want is vomiting to happen in the car. However, for those who suffer from dog car sickness, this can be a real problem. Dogs can become sick and stressed out while in a moving car. This can make it difficult to take your dog to many places without putting them through something stressful.


What is Car Sickness/ Motion Sickness?

Dog car sickness or motion sickness is a condition where a dog becomes upset and sick when traveling in a car. They are not used to the sensations and don't have the proper defenses to deal with these new sensations. It is more common in puppies than in adult dogs. Puppies lack some key features that help grown-up dogs deal with these things.

However, it can also occur in adult dogs. Not every dog grows out of car sickness. If your dog can't seem to manage any car trips without some accidents taking place, they likely have a case of dog car sickness. There is something you can do to help your puppy though.


What Causes a Dog to Get Car Sick?

Small fluffy white dog leaning out a car window in a neighborhood

Dogs getting car sick is quite often an unavoidable problem. However, its cause can vary depending on the dog.

Inner Ear Not Developed Fully in Puppies

Most dogs will have a form of car sickness while they're young. This is a side effect of the way dogs develop. A puppy’s inner ear isn’t properly developed compared with an adult dog. This causes a problem with their balance that can be provoked by traveling in a car. This is a natural cause of dog car sickness. While there are things you can do to help dogs with this type of motion sickness, they will likely outgrow it over time.

Stress

Dog car sickness isn’t a problem limited to puppies. Adults can suffer from it too. The main cause among adult dogs is stress. This is particularly true for dogs who spend very little time in the car. Their only experience in a car may be traveling to the vets or groomers. They will then associate the stressful process of being in a car with going somewhere they don’t like. This can give them some real anxiety and stress about riding in cars. You will have to teach them that being in a car is okay, and overwrite that fear of the place.


Signs of Motion Sickness

Terrier laying in a dog bed in the passenger seat of a car getting ready for a car ride

If you're concerned that your dog has motion sickness, then there are a few signs to watch out for. A dog can’t tell you when they feel unwell like a person can. To get around this, you’ve got to watch out for the signs of dog motion sickness.

  • Whining – A dog that is stressed or experiencing motion sickness is likely to start whining.
  • Pacing – A dog might begin pacing within the car to try and deal with the stress.
  • Excessive Drooling – While not a pleasant sight, this is a common side effect of motion sickness.
  • Lethargy – If your typically active dog is sulking about getting in the car, it might be a sign that something is wrong.
  • Vomiting orDiarrhea – While unpleasant, these are some clear signs of dog car sickness.

How You Can Help your Dog’s Car Sickness

If your dog is experiencing any of these problems, then they likely have dog motion sickness. If you want to deal with this problem, then there are a few different methods you can try.

Make them Comfy

Making your dog more comfortable in the car will go a long way towards helping their motion sickness. This should relieve their stress and help them to relax in the car. Try to bring in fabrics that carry your smell for the dog to sit on, they will find this comforting. Anxiety blankets can also be really helpful for keeping a dog calm.

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Face Forward

Try to keep your dog facing forward while you're driving with them. This will help to cut down on nausea. In people and dogs, motion sickness is provoked more by traveling oppositely to how you're facing. This is a natural response to moving in a way that feels counter-intuitive. Try to ensure your dog is facing forward by using a seatbelt.

Roll Down Windows a Few Inches

Rolling down your car windows can work wonders for a car sick puppy. Doing this will allow some of the air pressure in the car to move. This helps the car feel more ventilated which should help with your dog’s anxiety. The fresh air will also be good for a bad stomach, helping to prevent motion sickness from turning into vomiting.

Crates

A crate can be really helpful for traveling with a dog for a few reasons. The first is just for safety. A dog in a crate won’t be able to roam about the car, so you can be sure they’re not going to get hurt in transit. However, this also helps to keep them facing forward throughout the trip. Being somewhere comfortable and secure will help to reduce their stress while traveling, making it easier for puppies with dog car sickness.

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CBD Oil for Stress

CBD Oil is a great tool for dealing with any type of stress in dogs. This applies to dogs suffering from car sickness. CBD Oil works by releasing a compound that travels through a dog’s system to reduce stress and tension. This will help you treat dog car sickness by treating the route cause of it, stress.

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Limit Food

Limiting your dog’s food before a trip can be really helpful for treating the symptoms. This particular way of treating a dog with car sickness isn’t going to address why they're carsick, but it should prevent them from having accidents in the car. Don't feed your dog for 12 hours before their big journey. This should reduce nausea and prevent them from throwing up in the car. You still need to give them access to freshwater though.

Distract with Toys

Part of your dog being stressed when driving in the car is them associating the journey will unpleasant things. You can try to beat this sensation by making the ride fun for them. Giving them access to some fun toys in the car can help them have fun in there. If they associate being in the car with having fun, then they’re less likely to suffer from dog car sickness.

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Dog Motion Sickness Medications

If your dog's car sickness is severe, then medication might be able to help. Vets can prescribe several different treatments that should help your dog. However, these medicines aren't for everyday use. If your dog's car sickness is getting in the way of them living their life, then training them to cope better in cars will be more helpful in the long run than constantly medicating them.


If your puppy is suffering from dog car sickness, then there is quite a bit you can do to help them. Between the solutions listed here, you should be able to show your dog that being in the car can be a relaxing or fun experience. Getting rid of their stress when they're in the car should ease their motion sickness, and help them enjoy their trips.

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dog car sickness By Jordan Ashley

Jordan Ashley
Jordan is an experienced author who enjoys writing about all things dogs. He loves all animals and when he is not working he spends his time curled up with his two dogs playing video games and maybe enjoying a craft beer.