Does Your Dog Suffer From Car Sickness?

by | Sep 11, 2023

Motion or car sickness in dogs can be so unpleasant for both the person driving the car, passengers, and anyone else game enough to travel in the car after they have asked this question “Does Your Dog Suffer from Car Sickness?”

Oh, my goodness, how brave is the person who still travels in this car when they have been advised that this is a recurring episode and sometimes the smell can be overpowering!

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Over the years as I have gone to the breeder and picked up my new puppy I am always thinking, will we get home without any car sickness episodes, or will this be a harrowing experience for both myself and my new puppy?

I would say, in about fifty percent of cases when collecting a new puppy, there has been incidences of car sickness when I have needed to find the next safe spot to pull over and calm my new puppy, plus offer water so that the puppy will not hydrate.  I do take coconut water with me when collecting a new puppy as I have found the puppy is more willing to have a few laps of coconut water rather than (normal) water, however, I do offer both options.

I prepare by taking with me a nice thick towel to either put into a crate for the new puppy or to put on the lap of the person nursing my new puppy to alleviate either the puppy or person holding to not so drenched with the expelled tummy contents.  Not a nice experience!

My question to you is “Does your dog suffer from car sickness?”… and if yes, what precautions do you put in place prior to travelling in your car with your new puppy or an older dog that has this issue?

I rehomed an older dog some years ago, who had the most severe issue of car sickness I had ever encountered.   It was miserable for us both to go anywhere in the car, however, I had to find a remedy for this young dog as I was always travelling in my car with my dogs, either to a training session, an outing, time away from home for a few days or competing in dog sporting events which could mean that I was travelling some hundreds of kilometres.

I tried taking her very short distances on an empty stomach, but this did not work, I even tried taking her only down a couple of streets away from home, and this did not work.  I even used to sing to her, to calm her down and also put her on the front passenger seat in a crate, where I could put my fingers through the wire gaps to stroke her with my fingers for reassurance, again this did not help.

This dog had had a couple of changes in her young life and to her, this was extremely stressful getting used to a different home environment, different people, and different family routines.  I felt so badly for her stress that I was determined to help her have a happy experience when being out and about so that she could relax and know that outings were fun and something to look forward to.

In desperation, I took her to my Vet and was initially given calming medication, which did help but not completely.

Back again to my Vet, where this time she was subscribed a mild “human” motion sickness medication.

This medication did not cure her, but helped to the point that we could go short distances without any mishaps, then as time passed, we gradually managed to extend the times between her bouts of sickness. 

I still kept her on the front passenger seat travelling in a doggie crate, still sang and talked to her constantly to reassure her, and if we got from point A to point B without any car sickness, I would tell her how wonderful she was, stroke her ever so gently and lovingly and I would keep my voice calm and soothing.

I did truly let her know how clever she was, and whilst this stress issue took many months until we had success, I did not once, convey to her it was an issue for me, I simply let her know we were working on this together. 

Therefore, the question “Does your dog suffer from car sickness?” have a resounding yes from you, be encouraged that with time, patience and sometimes veterinary help, this issue can have a positive outcome.

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Until next time…

With Love, Success and Inspiration,

Robin Oliver

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With Love, Success and Inspiration,

Robin Oliver

Robin Oliver Pet Dog Training
Professional Dog Trainer

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