Authored by: Dr. Lindsey, DVM
Dog’s commonly get motion sickness. It’s understandable that if a dog doesn’t go on car trips very often, they may become stressed and anxious about it which can turn into motion sickness. Puppies seem to get motion sickness more than adult dogs. Some puppies will grow out of the motion sickness as they get older. For those dogs that don’t, there are some suggestions that can make road trips more pleasant for them.
Some signs to watch for that a dog may be getting motion sick are whining, pacing, excessive panting, lip licking, or drooling. When dogs get motion sickness they may get vomiting or diarrhea or both. Some dogs can have medical conditions that predispose them to getting sick in the car such as an inner ear infection or vestibular disease.
Fortunately, there are some ideas that may help dogs have a better experience on car rides. For puppies it’s very important to get them used to car rides frequently to help them become comfortable with it. I usually recommend starting with short trips like to the mailbox or around the block and using positive reinforcement. Gradually work up to little bit longer trips such as a drive thru. Eventually, work up to long car trips. It’s recommended that even on long road trips to take frequent breaks and allow the dog time to stretch their legs and go to the bathroom. Other tips are to use a carrier or dog seat belt, try playing music or a podcast softly, and make sure to keep the car cool. For dogs that still have a tough time with motion sickness, talk to your veterinarian about other options such as dog pheromone collars, calming supplements, anti-nausea medications, or anti-anxiety medications.
Dr. Lindsey graduated from Colorado State University in 2009 and works in general practice, shelter medicine, and more recently as a civilian contractor veterinarian for the Army. She is also certified in acupuncture and resides in Palm Springs, CA.