Tips For Handling Dog Car Sickness

If you've ever taken your dog somewhere in the car, you're probably aware that they can suffer from motion sickness. This is more common in puppies and young dogs, but older dogs can suffer too. In younger dogs, their balance is not fully developed, so a car ride can unsettle them.

Once motion sickness starts, your dog may feel too stressed to go in the car.

The signs of motion sickness

There are warning signs that your dog simply isn't feeling good while they're travelling.

If they lick their lips or drool,  or even start yawning excessively, this could indicate a problem. . Whining or simply not moving are also signs of feeling unwell, prior to vomiting.  If your dog shows any signs of discomfort while in the car, do your best to calm them, or even stop the car to give them a rest.

How to handle travel sickness

  • Don't feed your dog before you set off. If they're not good travellers, feeding them is just asking for trouble.
  • Just like some humans, dogs travel best when looking in the direction in which they are travelling. Unfortunately this isn't always possible. Opening the windows on both sides of the car helps to keep the air pressure level, which can help your dog feel a little more comfortable.

Hopefully they'll outgrow their motion sickness, but if they don't you may need to encourage them to use the car.

  • Start by just putting them in the car for a few minutes, so they simply feel comfortable sitting in the car. One you have done this, take them on small journeys, but always to somewhere nice. A dog won't appreciate a trip to the supermarket if they have to sit in the car when they get there, but they will appreciate a trip to the park. A short trip with something nice at the end, is a great way to help your dog feel happier to get in the car. Over time, build up the journeys and if your dog doesn't get ill, reward him when you get to your destination with a treat.
  • Crates can help your dog travel. This not only limits their movement, but you can put in their favourite blanket and a couple of toys to help them feel more relaxed and comfortable.
  • Some dogs will just not make good travellers, so you may need to contact your vet. While there are over the counter medications available, your vet will make sure that you get the right drug for your dog and advise you on the best dose and way to give it to them.

Most dogs will respond to help or medication, but you may find your dog simply does not like the car. If this happens, don't force them, and try instead to work around it. If you go on holiday, it may be a good idea to find a dog sitter or put them in a kennel rather than force them to travel with you.

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