December 20, 2022 2 min read

Motion Sickness in Dogs - Tips to Make Travelling Easier with your Dog

Motion sickness is a very common problem for dog owners, and it is often more common in younger dogs than adults. This is thought to be due to the inner ear not being fully developed and many dogs will outgrow the issue by the time they are one year old. There is usually one of two reasons for dogs to get carsick: physical or psychological. And often the latter can cause the former. Many adult dogs still become anxious and nauseous when travelling and this can be because of the unusual and overwhelming stimuli associated with being inside a moving vehicle. Dogs may also suffer from car-related anxiety, if their early experiences in the car involved them being unwell, they may associate going in the car with vomiting.

Sign of motion sickness in dogs:

  • Excessive lip licking
  • Whining
  • Drooling
  • Yawning
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive panting
  • Trembling/shaking

Tips to make travelling easier and more comfortable for your dog

1. Limit what your dog can see

We can all understand how watching the world speed by in a blur can be nauseating, and one way to help your dog keep its eyeline forward is to buckle them into the middle seat in the car using a dog seat belt to keep them in place. Some owners find it useful to use a solid-sided crate to limit the dog’s field of vision. Keeping the car cool and well ventilated can also help. Lowering the windows will help to equalise the inside and outside air pressure.

2. Restrict your dog’s food intake before travelling

Some dog owners find that it can be useful to restrict their dog’s food intake for up to 12 hours prior to travelling, keeping the amount of food in their stomachs to a minimum can help to minimise stomach upset while in the car.

3. Help create a positive association with the car

Help to shift your dog’s mindset by bringing something that smells like home for your dog or maybe their favourite toy. The DoggyRade TravelPack for Dogs has been designed for dogs who experience stress or motion sickness when travelling. It can be used as a positive reinforcement tool for dogs who have issues around travelling and can offer a positive travelling experience for your dog with healthy, hydrating and nutritional treats that can even help after a bout of travel sickness. Shop the TravelPack for Dogs here.

4. Conditioning and desensitising to treat motion sickness

Help your dog to overcome car sickness by sitting in the car with them (without turning it on) for just a few minutes everyday. After a few days of doing this routine, slowly introduce turning on the car and letting it run for a few minutes. You can bring a toy to help make it an enjoyable experience. Again after a few days, the next step is to drive up and down the driveway to increase their tolerance. Finally, you can take a short drive to a place they like (the park or the beach) and if they get sick take a step or two back and begin the process again until they build up a tolerance.