Car sickness is a very common occurrence for puppies and dogs! Some dogs will grow out of car sickness as they get older, but some will need a little help along the way. It can get worse over time if not managed and can take the fun out of walks and adventures. If your dog has felt car sick before, they can then have a negative association with the car, and this will be reinforced each time they get in.
Symptoms of car sickness:
- Lip licking
- Excessive drooling
Why do dogs feel car sick?
The most common cause of car sickness is a combination of stress alongside feeling wobbly and unbalanced in the car. We can help treat car sickness by looking at both the stress factors alongside the feeling of motion sickness.
How to help with motion sickness:
- Allow for good airflow by lowering windows slightly
- Try to keep your dog facing forwards; sometimes side windows can be a stimulus for motion sickness
- Limit food intake 2 hours before travel
- Someone to help distract your dog on short journeys with a toy or by giving attention
- Prescription medication can be a short-term aid to help with nausea
How to help with stress and anxiety in the car:
- Try to change vehicles, if possible, to create a new experience for your dog
- Slowly build your dogs tolerance to the car by feeding and playing in and around the car with the engine off, spending time in the car with the engine on but stationary, and then begin short journeys
- Reinforce good behaviour with small treats (as you would with all training)
- Don’t travel anywhere with negative associations during training time, instead head for a walk in the park or a family member’s house
Non-prescription medications to try:
There are a few different products which can be bought online and can help some dogs stay calm and settled during car travel which we would recommend if you are struggling.
- Adaptil Travel Spray-contains a pheromone which can help with reassurance in new situations
- Adaptil Collar-contains a pheromone which can help with reassurance in new situations
- Zylkene calming capsules-a calming supplement which can be added to food to help with stress
- Yucalm calming capsules-a calming supplement which can be added to food to help with stress