Carsick Dog? Here's How to Deal With Motion Sickness in Dogs

Carsick Dog? Here's How to Deal With Motion Sickness in Dogs

Author WDF Staff


Dog owners are aware that they need to transport their dogs. Car rides are a part of a dog’s life, and you will have to take your dog to different places, like the vet’s, groomers, or wherever you have to go that isn’t a walking distance away. However, that can be problematic if you have a dog prone to carsickness. Luckily, there are ways dog owners deal with that. Here are a few things you can do to deal with motion sickness in dogs.

1. Get your dog used to your car

If you are one of the lucky few that get a dog that doesn’t mind car rides, you can consider yourself lucky. However, most of us have to deal with dogs that leave a mess whenever we try to take them anywhere with a car. The first trick we learned was - Get your dog used to your car.

You can start by giving your dog treats and luring them into your car. Make them associate car rides with positive things like dog treats, dog parks, and overall fun times. Start by doing only a round around your block. Slowly increase the distance and time spent in a moving car. That way, your dog will get desensitized to car rides, and their motion sickness will become less of an issue. The principle is the same as any training - take your time and take it step by step. Don’t rush your dog and make the experience unpleasant for them.

dog in a jeep

2. Withold food

Dogs can go up to 5 days without eating. Withholding food before a big trip might be a good idea if you have a dog that is prone to carsickness. This will involve some planning, which means you probably won’t do that if something comes up and you have to take your dog with you. However, if you know you have a longer trip, you can withhold your dog’s food up to 12 hours before the trip.

If your dog doesn’t eat, their stomach will be empty, and even if they feel nauseated, there will be nothing to throw up. An empty stomach can counteract the motion sickness your dog feels. It will also eliminate the need for frequent potty breaks. You don’t want to have to stop just when your dog got comfortable inside the car and let them out to relieve themselves.

3. Control the dog’s environment

One of the things you can try to do is control your dog’s environment inside the car. Eliminate things that can worsen your dog’s motion sickness. Things like strong air fresheners, gasoline, or other sources of “weird” scents can exacerbate the dog’s car sickness. Make sure they are eliminated from your car. Keep the air fresh, and open the window so your dog can smell it.

Some dogs can get overstimulated by the passing scenery. In fact, it is a common reason dogs get car sick. You can try blacking out their windows. If your dog can’t see outside, they won’t focus on the quickly passing scenery. Some dog owners reported this worked really well for them. Other things you can do is;

  • Give your dog a shirt that smells like you
  • Use a travel crate or bag
  • Keep the car quiet
  • Use the Kong toy stuffed with treats

pug on car window

4. CBD dog treats

One of the things you can use to calm your dog down is CBD. There are different products you can use, but we prefer using chewable treats that contain CBD. If you are not familiar with its effects, you will be surprised to hear that CBD can ease your dog’s anxiety regarding car rides, provide calmness, and ease motion sickness. We understand if you’re skeptical about this, but try them and see how your dog reacts.

Besides being delicious, CBD dog treats’ most important effect on the dog will be the calming effect. Your dog will be more peaceful and sleepy during the car ride, which usually causes them anxiety. Some of these treats have a mild sedation effect, which is something you want for your dog, especially before a long trip. However, before you decide to give CBD treats to your dog, talk to your vet.

carsick dog

5. Medications

Medications are one of the easiest ways to deal with your dog’s motion sickness. Simply give them a pill before the trip, and your dog should be calmer, sedated, or not nauseous, depending on the medication. You can simply call your vet, tell them what’s bothering your dog, and ask if they can tell you or prescribe you any medication for your dog. However, this is not a long-term solution. It will provide a solution for a single trip.

Some of the medications vets can prescribe dogs are Dramamine, Gravol, Cerenia, Antivert, Bonine, Desyrel, or even Xanax. All of these meds can calm a nervous traveler. However, you should never try to medicate your dog without consulting your vet. Wrong dosages can have tragic consequences. Make sure you talk to your vet and give your dog a medication that is safe for them.

World Dog Finder team

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