Dog Car Sickness: Tips and
Prevention Recommendations For
Your Pups Motion Sickness
Having a dog that experiences car sickness is stressful for both the pup and the owner. No one enjoys seeing their pet in discomfort, and the thought of causing your dog any level of pain can reroute entire vacation plans.
That’s why we put together this helpful dog car sickness guide. Follow along to make your dog as comfortable as possible the next time the two of your need to hit the road.
Why Do Dogs Get Car Sick?
Any age dog, but particularly puppies and older dogs are prone to car sickness.
Balance and Ear Development
Puppies often get car sick because their ears are still developing and the motion of the car can upset those delicate structures.
More mature dogs might experience car sickness due to their natural levels of anxiety.
Common Signs and Symptoms
- Drooling Excessively
- Panting From Anxiety
- Pacing and Moving Around A Lot
- Excessive swallowing
- Sometimes Vomiting
Tips For Helping Your Dog With Car Sickness
Try the following tips and prevention methods to provide your carsick dog with the most comfortable car-ride experience.
1) Secure your dog with a harness or seatbelt designed for them
There is a range of harnesses, car seats, and seat belts designed to keep your pup safe and secure on the road. Find what fits your dog best, and use it consistently. Be sure your dog is accustomed to the apparatus you select prior to hitting the road for your trip. Use it for short jaunts around town so that anxiety about a new harness doesn’t add to any road-trip anxiety.
2) Block your dog’s view of the road and cars
Oftentimes, car sickness is triggered by motion, which is why it’s also called motion sickness. Affix a sunscreen, available just about everywhere, to the window closest to your dog’s seat belt to obscure his vision of passing cars.
3) Play specially-composed music
Music like Through a Dog’s Ear has been designed to calm anxiety in dogs. It’s been clinically tested and proven to work even in shelter environments. CDs are available, as is a portable player called the iCalmDog, which is pre-loaded with four hours of canine-calming music. Bonus: This is a great way to soothe nervous pups in a hotel room, too.
4) Give Your Dog Something to Chew On
This may be a time for a favorite edible chew like The Honest Kitchen’s beams. You want something that your dog can consume safely and something that is also very appetizing to him. Avoid new chews so that you know exactly how your dog consumes them in order to help avoid choking hazards (if you have any doubt, don’t use a chew). The key is for him to be so completely engaged in gnawing on his chew that he’s not anxiously pacing across the backseat. If you don’t have doggie seat covers for your car, make sure to bring a towel where he can do his chewing or you may end up with quite a mess on your seats.
How To Introduce A Puppy To The Car To Avoid Car Sickness
When re-introducing the car, it’s important to take your time. Don’t skip steps and don’t rush the process. Your puppy needs to be comfortable at one step before going on to the next.
Unfortunately, this can be traumatic since you’re taking him away from his mother and littermates as well as his first human family. Although you may already be in love with this fuzzy little creature, he could be frightened. This fright can lead to a fear of cars, riding in the car, and ultimately car sickness. That’s not the best way to begin his new life. Thankfully, though, you can help your puppy.
Use A Secure Crate In the Backseat
For his or her safety, the puppy should ride in a crate. Although most new puppy owners prefer to hold the puppy in their arms, it’s not safe. Not only can the puppy be endangered in sudden stops or in an accident, the puppy is more likely to be frightened at the scenery zipping by, and watching all these things could also lead to an upset tummy. Plus, should he panic and wiggle out of your arms, he could hurt himself or interfere with the driver. You can snuggle him later, but for his sake, on the ride home put him in a crate.
Place the crate in the back seat where it can be secured with a seat belt or tie-down so it will ride without too much jostling. If possible, have the crate opening facing so an air vent will blow across the front. You don’t want the air conditioning to blow there on full/cold but the puppy will do better with some airflow.
Drive Your Puppy Straight Home
Once you have your puppy, drive straight home. Don’t go visit anyone, don’t go shopping, and don’t make any side trips. Just go home. Let the puppy settle in before he goes visiting anyone.