Dog Car Sickness and What to Do About It
I am kind of amazed at how many dogs have car sickness issues.
I have one.
She loves going with me… but she hates the car.
She used to get car sick when she was a puppy.
Thankfully, most puppies grow out of car sickness. But there are a few dogs that, if not treated, continue to struggle as adults.
Here are some car sickness signs that you should watch out for when traveling with your dog:
- Excessive drooling
- Constant yawning or panting
- Vomiting (even on an empty stomach)
If you see any of the above signs, there are a few easy tricks to help your dog feel better in the car.
What to Do About Car Sickness in Dogs
Condition the Car
I have had a few dog training clients whose dogs who were so scared that they wouldn’t even get in the car.
For these dogs, I recommend feeding them in the car.
Just open the door and set his bowl inside.
Don’t start the car.
Don’t move the car (yet).
Just let him get a happy feeling regarding the car by allowing him to eat there.
I mean, I like all things snack related too! ;)
Once he is jumping into the car to eat, and is not at all fearful, you can start the car and feed him inside.
From there you can move the car out of the driveway.
Think race, not marathon.
You want to gradually build up your dog's tolerance to a car.
Take a few days to a week to work on this.
If your puppy or dog gets sick in the car, go for short, fun trips.
Drive to a nearby park and let him out to play.
Or take him for a hamburger (or grilled chicken is probably better!)
Remember those clients I mentioned: one of them had a HUGE black lab that refused to get in the car.
I suggested that after getting him into the car they make a short trip to McDonald's… all it took was ONE time, and the dog was psyched to get in the car after that. They thought I was a miracle worker!
Taking short trips repeatedly will help your dog realize that a car ride is not be a reason to get sick.
Crates are a HUGE help!
Sometimes the visual experience of the world moving can make a dog nauseous.
By blocking his vision, you can actually be helping out!
Crack a Window
A little bit of airflow can do wonders!
Turning off the A/C, opening the windows, and letting fresh air into the car will help prevent car sickness.
Teach Him to Lay on the Floorboard
The floorboard is another place that the dog won’t be stimulated by things moving so quickly.
It also puts him in a spot where he will feel the least amount of movement.
Follow these tips, and your dog will thank you for it!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.