A dog will get sick riding in a car for two reasons: physical motion sickness and psychological issues. In some cases, if the dog is extremely scared then the emotional response will lead to the animal feeling ill.
Humans often suffer from motion sickness and your dog is not that much different. Many dogs also start to feel sick in an auto from the motion. It is extremely common in puppies.
Cause of Carsickness in Dogs
The motion sickness in young dogs occurs due to the inner ear not being fully developed so the dog’s control of balance is a bit off. A pup will often outgrow motion sickness.
Many dogs also become nervous and anxious as a result of the motion sickness. If a dog experienced car sickness as a pup, then the animal will naturally feel apprehensive about any long trips in the auto because the pooch does not want to feel nauseous and start vomiting.
Some dogs also become anxious about riding in a car if they had a traumatic experience in the vehicle or if they relate riding in the car with an unpleasant trip to the vet.
Tips to Prevent Carsickness in Dogs
Below are a few tips on how to make a car ride easier on your dog:
If your dog can only see out the side windows of the auto, then the blur of the hillside speeding past might cause the animal to become nauseous. You’ll want to put the dog in the back middle seat and ensure that the animal looks forward out of the windshield.
Use a doggie seat belt or safety harness to secure the pet in place. You can also use a solid-sided crate to limit your dog’s view out of the back windows, so the animal only sees what is in front of him.
Roll down the car’s windows to let fresh air flow through the car. It equalizes the autos inside pressure with the outside air pressure which can help reduce nausea in your pet. Keeping the car ventilated and cool will also help calm the dog’s nervousness.
Limit food intake before travel. In fact, you should not feed your dog for at least 12 hours prior to any road trip. However, do provide the dog with ample water.
Give your dog something he loves from home such as a blanket or dog toy. Often the familiar smell will help ease the canine’s anxiety.
Purchase a special toy for your dog to enjoy on the trip to take his mind off the motion of the journey.
Offer ample verbal reassurance to calm your pet on the road. Many pets are instantly soothed at the soft sound of their beloved owner’s voice.
If, despite all of your attempts to help Fido overcome car sickness, the dog is still miserable then you might want to seek the help of your veterinarian to receive prescription medication to help make riding in the car less traumatic on your dog. In time, most dogs overcome car sickness.