Proven Ways To Stop Motion Sickness In Dogs

Updated 02/07/2022 by Ava Jaine

Taking your dog for a ride in the car should be a fun experience for you and your pup. Unfortunately, some dogs have issues with motion sickness while traveling in a vehicle.

Learning how to identify the symptoms and using some easy prevention techniques can stop motion sickness in dogs.

Stop Motion Sickness In Dogs
 

What Causes A Dog to Get Motion Sickness?

The three main causes of motion sickness in dogs are Age, Stress, and Medical Issues.

  • Age

    Just as car sickness affects more children than adults, puppies and younger dogs are more susceptible to motion sickness.  This is because their equilibrium (ear structures that are used for balance) is not fully developed yet. As they mature, many puppies will outgrow motion sickness by the time they turn one.

  • Stress

    Stress can cause motion sickness in dogs. Some dogs associate going on a car ride with going to the vet or a past traumatic travel experience.

    Dogs that travel less frequently aren’t used to car rides and will often associate the car ride with feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated. This can cause more anxiety and stress, which can result in vomiting or diarrhea.

  • Medical Issues

    Some dogs may experience motion sickness if they have a pre-existing medical conditions such as ear infections or vestibular disease that will make them nauseated.

    Consult your vet and get your dog treated for their infection. They will have a more pleasant car ride after the infection is resolved.

    Dog motion sickness can also occur if they are taking any medications.

 

Dog Motion Sickness Symptoms

Vomiting and diarrhea are some of the most disastrous symptoms of motion sickness, but there are a few more symptoms you should be aware of. Some of the most common symptoms of dog motion sickness include:

  • Constant Yawning or Panting
  • Immobility
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Whining or Crying
  • Excessive licking of lips
  • Uneasiness

How to Prevent Motion Sickness in Dogs

If your dog is prone to motion sickness, it helps to be prepared before taking your dog on a car trip. Here are 8 Proven Ways to Stop Car Sickness in Dogs.

Stop Motion Sickness In Dogs
 

1. Use A Dog Seatbelt:

A dog seatbelt will not only help keep your dog safe and secure while traveling, but it will also keep them facing forward and sitting still.

Some recommend having the dog buckled in the front passenger seat to help reduce motion sickness.

But most dog seatbelt manufacturers recommend that your dog stay in the back seat to keep them safe from airbags and avoid distracting the driver.

2. Keep The Car Cool and Calm:

Keeping your car a cooler temperature will help regulate your dog’s body temperature and keep them comfortable while riding in the car.

Lower your car windows. This will help to equalize the inside and outside air pressure.

Play soothing music in the car. This helps lower your dog’s anxiety and helps them stay calm.

 

3. Limit Food Consumption Before Travel:

Don’t let your pup eat a big meal before going on a ride. This will help reduce their chances of having diarrhea or vomiting while traveling.

4. Favorite Blanket or Toy:

Taking your dog’s favorite blanket and toy along for the trip can help keep them distracted and feeling more comfortable.

 

5. Take Frequent Breaks:

If you know you are about to embark on a very long trip with a dog that tends to get queasy, plan for multiple stops.

Your dog will enjoy getting out of the car, stretching their legs and enjoying the fresh air.

Plan to stop at least every hour to keep your dog comfortable and reduce the chances of motion sickness.

6. Use a Different Vehicle:

If you have a dog that is afraid of your car because of a past accident or traumatic event, try taking them for a ride in a different car. This will help to avoid triggering your dog’s negative response to that vehicle.

Stop Motion Sickness In Dogs
 

7. Help Your Dog Love the Ride

A couple of days before your next driving excursion, help your dog get accustomed to car rides by gradually building up their tolerance.

Positive Association: Spend some time with your dog in the car while the car is turned off. Then, get out and give them a treat. Keep it as positive as possible.

Short Fun Trips: Take short trips (about 10 minutes long) around the block or to a nearby dog park. Your dog will learn to look forward to car trips knowing they aren’t always going to the vet.

Gradually increase the length of your car trips with your dog and reward them with verbal praise and a small treat for a positive experience.

8. Dog Motion Sickness Remedy

If you need some more help with your dog’s motion sickness issues, your vet can often recommend a medication to help your pup out.

Under the guidance of your veterinarian, the over the counter medication, Dramamine, can be used on your dog. Always check with your vet before giving any medication to your dog.

Note: Dog owners should avoid the “Non-Drowsy Naturals” Dramamine tablets. The amount of ginger in this product is too high for your dog.

Ask your vet for the recommended dose to confirm it is safe to give to your dog. This will depend on their health and any current medications they are taking.

 

Other Recommendations

  • Using Lavender oil aromatherapy can calm a nervous dog while traveling. You can add a small amount to your dog’s blanket to help calm them down.

  • See the ASPCA Travel Safety Tips.

 

Let us know in the comments below what you use to help your dog with motion sickness.

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