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Dog Car Sickness

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Dog Car Sickness

Can Dogs get Car Sickness?

Yes! Dogs can get car sickness for various reason. Motion sickness in puppies is common as their inner ear isn’t fully developed. Fully grown dogs may get sick in the car due to fear of anxiety.

Why do Dogs get Car Sickness?

Motion sickness in dogs

The most common reason for car sickness in dogs is motion sickness. Motion sickness is more common in younger dogs. This is because the ear structure that helps with balance isn’t fully developed in younger dogs. In most cases your dog will outgrow motion sickness with age.

Dog car sickness from Anxiety

Many dogs become anxious and nauseous when travelling in the car because they are not used to the situation. Lots of dogs that get car sickness only experience car journeys a few times a year and get overwhelmed and anxious by the situation.

Some dogs will only experience car trips when visiting the vet. In this case your dog may associate traveling in the car with the stressful experience that follows. This may cause vomiting in diarrhoea.

Similarly, dogs that experience motion sickness when they are puppies may associate future car rides with the unpleasant experience.

Other Reasons why your Dog gets Car Sick

Some dogs have medical conditions that cause them to get sick in the car. Inner ear infections or vestibular disease may make your dog nauseous and throw up in the car.

Another possible reason for your dog getting sick in the car is the medication they are on. Some medications can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

Signs of Motion Sickness in Dogs

There are a few telltale signs that your dog is getting motion sickness.

  • Whining and Pacing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Licking Lips
  • Inactivity or tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you notice any of these signs it is best to give your dog a short break from the car. Stop the car and take your dog for a short walk. This may settle him and temporarily relieve his stress.

Helping your Dog get used to the Car

Helping your dog to overcome the stress of traveling in the car and travel sickness will allow him to more comfortably accompany you on trips. Getting your dog comfortable with travelling in the car can take a lot of time and effort but it is possible.  

To ease your dog into travelling in the car, it is best to start slow. Taking your anxious dog on shorter car journeys will help him start to realise that not every car journey has to be a stressful experience.

Start by placing your dog in the car and starting the engine. Stay in the car for a few minutes without moving. Repeat this process for a few days and slowly incorporate short drives around the block. Gradually work your way up to longer rides in the car.

Throughout the process praise your dog for his bravery and give him treats.

Dog Car Sickness Prevention Tips

  1. Keep your dog facing forward – When looking out a side window there is more visual stimulus that can induce motion sickness in dogs. Facing your dog forward or covering the side window of your car can help with this. 
  1. Air Flow – Lower the window slightly to allow some air into your dog. Fresh air blowing can help with your dog’s nausea.
  1. Limit food before traveling – Limit your dog’s food for a few hours before your car journey. Having less in your dog’s stomach means it is less likely for your dog to vomit. 
  1. Distract your dog – Keeping your dog entertained might make him forget that he is in a moving car. Have a passenger give your dog attention or keep him entertained with his favorite toy.
  1. Take regular breaks – Take regular breaks so that your dog can get some fresh air and he will be less likely to throw up.
  1. Build up your dog’s tolerance to the car – As mentioned earlier, you can help your dog overcome their car anxiety by easing them into it. Start by just sitting in the car with the engine on and eventually ease your dog into short journeys. 
  1. Prevent negative association – During training don’t travel anywhere that your dog could have a negative association to. Instead pick a local park or somewhere that your dog sees as a reward that makes the car journey worth while.

Medication for Dog Travel Sickness

There is medication available for dog’s with car sickness. But because all dogs are different and there are many possible causes for travel sickness it is best to speak to your vet about your options to help your dog’s sickness.

Cerenia – Cerenia, also known as maropitant is a highly effective medication to treat dogs with motion sickness. It is safe for your dog with many years of proven safety and efficacy. Cerenia is non-sedating so it will not make your dog feel drowsy. For most effectiveness this should be given to dogs 2 hours before travel.

Some over-the-counter human antihistamine can be effective in treating symptoms of car sickness in dogs. It is always best to speak to your vet before treating your dog with human medication as they may also have negative side effects. It is best to steer clear of giving your dog human medication.

Dog Sickness Natural Remedy

If you prefer not to give you dog medication there are some natural alternatives that can help your dogs car sickness.

Ginger for Dog Car Sickness

There are many studies that outline the benefits of ginger for dogs. It is a natural remedy that helps control nausea and vomiting. Giving your dog ginger an hour before traveling could help settle his stomach.

There are some great dog treats that contain ginger which are highly effective in helping prevent car sickness. Read our review on queezibics for dogs for more information.

CBD for Dog Car Sickness

As a natural pain relief, CBD is also a safe natural alternative to medication to ease your dogs motion sickness. CBD can be given to your dog in the form of dog biscuits infused with CBD or hemp oil added to their food.