Motion Sickness in Dogs: Is Your Dog Car Sick?


If you’re a dog owner that loves to take your pet along for the ride, you and your dog have probably dealt with motion sickness at some point. What causes motion sickness, and more importantly, what can you do about it?

Motion Sickness Causes

In puppies, motion sickness is common because the inner ear is not fully developed. Among adult dogs, motion sickness is often triggered by stress. They can associate car rides with past bouts of vomiting or unpleasant trips to the vet. However, if your dog normally enjoys car rides, there could be an underlying medical reason for his motion sickness. Ask your vet about side effects from medication, ear infections and other ear conditions.

Overcoming Motion Sickness

If your dog is not used to traveling in the car, the best thing you can do is start slow. On the first day of training, sit with your dog in a running vehicle for a few minutes. The next day, you can add a step by backing out of the driveway and pulling back in. After several days of baby steps, your dog should be able to handle 20 to 30 minute excursions. Don’t let your dog become overly anxious – if he becomes nervous, stop for the day so that he doesn’t start to form negative associations.

If you and your dog are experiencing difficulty overcoming motion sickness, there are a few things you can try to make him feel more relaxed. Keep the interior of the car at a comfortable temperature, and roll the windows down an inch or two so that there is a constant supply of fresh air. Bring something from home – like your dog’s favorite blanket – to help him feel cozy. You can also make car rides extra fun by giving him special toys and treats that are reserved only for traveling.

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