Tips that work when your dog is carsick

Does a short car trip feel more like a roller coaster ride for your dog? Here are some tips to help carsickness

By Laura Pakis, Certified Dog Trainer and Professional Blogger,

If the jingle of the car keys signals motion sickness for your canine and messy clean-up for you, don’t despair. You can take steps to make your animal companion as comfortable as possible when traveling in an automobile.

Don’t feed your dog 3 to 4 hours before travel

Many dogs suffer from car sickness, especially when they’re young. Some outgrow it, but in the meantime, you may want to make sure your dog has an empty stomach whenever it’s time to hit the road. Please don’t give him any food 3 to 4 hours before travel. Do make sure he’s had water.

Consider using Dramamine or Dog Benedryl

Either Diphenhydramine or Dramamine may also help prevent car sickness. Medication for motion sickness is not recommended for dogs with bladder disorders or glaucoma.

Watch your driving

If you know your dog is prone to car sickness, be sure to take it slow and be extra careful around sharp curves or up and downhills. Fast stops and starts are rough on upset stomachs. ASPCA experts recommend that you open the window a bit.  Fresh air does wonders for animals who tend to get car sick. Take note of the temperature; dogs cannot regulate their body temperatures as efficiently as humans can, so make sure it isn’t too hot or too cold in the car.

Looking out the window can bring on nausea in many dogs, so keep your pet safe and secure in a covered kennel, or get him to lay down on the floor. Some dogs do well wearing a specially constructed canine seat belt.

Desensitize your dog to the car

For some canines, the fear and anxiety attached to automobile travel cause nausea. You can help calm your pet by getting him used to riding in a car. Begin by simply sitting in the car without turning the engine on. Be sure to praise him. Do this on several occasions, and when he seems comfortable, turn on the engine. Again, heap on the praise and slowly work up to short trips around the block.

Finally, when you and your pet start taking long trips together, it’s a good idea to hit a rest stop every hour. Give him time enough for a quick stretch, a short walk, and a drink of freshwater.

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