How to Prevent Motion Sickness in Dogs

Taking your dog for a “Bye-Bye” ride in the car should be a fun experience for You and Your Dog.  Unfortunately, some dogs may have issues with motion sickness while traveling in a vehicle.

Learning how to identify motion sickness symptoms and alleviate future stressful car rides can help you and your dog have more fun adventures together.

6 Proven Ways to Stop Car 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 past traumatic travel experience, so they will literally worry themselves sick.

    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 any 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.

    Some dogs that are taking any current medications may become nauseous in a moving vehicle, which can cause vomiting or diarrhea.

Symptoms of Motion Sickness in Dogs

Vomiting and Diarrhea are some of the most disastrous symptoms of motion sickness, but there are a few more symptoms dog owners should be aware of.  Some of the most common symptoms of motion sickness in dogs may include:

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

How to Help 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.  We have found 6 Proven Ways to Stop Car Sickness in Dogs.  Trying any of the following methods to help alleviate your dog’s stress level and motion sickness symptoms can help them enjoy their next car ride.

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.

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

Playing soothing music in the car will lower your dog’s anxiety and help them stay calm.

3. Limit your Dog’s food consumption before travel:

By limiting your Dog’s food intake, you will help reduce his chance 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 keep them distracted and feeling more comfortable during the ride.

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 and stretching their legs, walking, sniffing new places, 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 your usual vehicle.

6 Proven Ways to Stop Car Sickness in Dogs

How to Build Up Your Dog’s Tolerance

Over the next few days, help your dog get accustomed to car rides by gradually building up their tolerance.  Spend some time with your dog in the car while the car is turned off.

Take short trips (about 10 minutes) 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 or a small treat for a good experience.

Motion Sickness Supplements

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

Under the guidance of your veterinarian, the over the counter medication, Dramamine, can be safely used on your dog.  Yes, it is the same Dramamine used for humans.

Always check with your vet before giving any medication to your dog.

Note: Dog owners should avoid the “Non-Drowsy Naturals” Dramamine tablets, because the amount of ginger in this product may be 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.

Some of the side effects of Dramamine include sedation, loss of appetite, diarrhea, difficulty urinating, and vomiting.

You can give your dog Dramamine about 30 to 60 minutes before a car ride.  Also, give your dog a small amount of food when giving your dog Dramamine to reduce the severity of the side effects.

Your vet may also prescribe the motion sickness medication, Cerenia, a medication that is by prescription only.

Other Recommendations

  • Using Lavender oil aromatherapy can calm a nervous dog while traveling. You can add the scent to your dog’s blanket to help calm him down.

  • Some Calming Herbs, given in tincture form, can be used to ease anxiety and reduce motion sickness in dogs include Ginger, Cocculus Indicus, CBD Hemp oil, Passionflower, and Skullcap.

  • See the ASPCA Travel Safety Tips.

Conclusion

Motion sickness, unfortunately, happens to dogs and humans. If you have tried several of the above-mentioned methods and they just aren’t working for your dog, the best solution may be to simply take a break from the car.

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