7 Tips for Keeping Dogs Comfortable During Car Rides

7 Tips for Keeping Dogs Comfortable During Car Rides

Author WDF Staff


Most dog owners want to take their dogs wherever they go. However, some dogs absolutely hate car rides. They get sick, scared, and very uncomfortable, which makes going on an adventure or a beach day a nightmare. It is not very pleasing to be in a car with a dog that is constantly getting sick, so many dog owners asked us how they can keep their dogs comfortable during car rides.

Luckily, our team consists of many experienced dog owners, breeders, and vets. We discussed it amongst ourselves and made a list of the most helpful advice on getting dogs comfortable during car rides. Here are 7 tips for keeping your dog comfortable during car rides.

1. Get your dog used to your car

Our team members agreed that taking your time and slowly getting your dog used to your car is the best way to start. We can still remember when we were kids, and our parents used to take us on 2-hour trips on winy roads. To be honest, we became car sick more than once. The same can happen to your dog. Make sure you start slow and give your dog time to adjust. For example, you can start by simply allowing your dog to get in and out of the car. Give the dog some treats and create positive experiences involving cars. Start with short 5-minute rides around your block and work your way up until your dog can easily handle long car rides.

dog being petted in the car

2. Planning

The second thing you should do before any trip is to plan it. More precisely, plan your dog’s mealtime. They are less likely to become car sick if they have an empty stomach. If you feed your dog and shortly after set off, they might become sick and vomit. That is a recipe for car accidents. You can’t focus on the road and safety of yourself and others if you have a dog vomiting all over your car. Plan your dog’s meals, so they don’t get in the way of a comfy car ride.

3. Start with positive trips

If your dog always expects something bad to happen after a car trip, they will feel nauseated more easily. You should include short trips that end up with fun activities. Don’t go for a first-ever car ride and end up at your vet’s clinic. Instead, take your dog for a ride and go to a dog park or a beach, somewhere your dog will be happy to go. Start working on your dog’s positive associations. Every time your dog goes into a car, the result is something fun. If your dog is in a good mood and excited, they are less likely to feel sick.

dog looking through a back window

4. Schedule breaks

Unlike us, our dogs cannot hold their bladder for so long. Your dog will need more breaks to feel absolutely comfortable. If you have to go on a more extended trip, you should regularly schedule stops and ensure your dog is as comfortable as possible. If the trip is really long, you should schedule a longer stop where you will allow your dog to run a bit and get rid of that nervous energy they might build up. Plus, they will be a lot happier if they get tired. Who knows, your dog might even fall asleep.

5. Physical activity before the trip

There is a popular expression among dog owners, and it goes like this, “A tired dog is a happy dog.” That is entirely true, and even many behavior problems can be resolved by increasing your dog’s physical activity. One of the best pieces of advice we got from more experienced dog owners was to get our dogs tired before going for a longer trip. The dog will feel more comfortable because their lack of energy will prevent them from focusing on the car ride. The more tired your dog is, the more pleasant the car ride will be.

dog in back seat

6. Give your dog things to do

The safest way to transport your dog is in a travel crate. However, many of us drive our dogs in the back seat or in the trunk. That can be pretty boring to our dogs, so we always provide them with something to chew or play with. If your dog has a delicious bone, their instincts will take over, and they won’t focus on the car’s motion. The second thing you should give your dog is a blanket. They should be very familiar with it, and the blanket’s scent will provide comfort.

7. Medications

If none of these tips work, you can always give your dog anti-nausea medications. This is not something we immediately advise because it is a lot better to get your dog used to car rides without the need for drugs. However, if nothing works, you can always give your dog something like Cerenia, Dramamine, or Gravol. However, before you do that, you should talk to your vet. Your vet will know what the safest option for your dog is. Some meds will sedate the dog, and some will simply deal with the motion sickness.

World Dog Finder team

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