Driving over to the local dog park to give your pet a nice fun walk can really be spoiled by the trip in the car. Car sickness can cause a trip to turn into a nightmare if you don't know what to do. Find out how you can help here! Car anxiety in dogs can really get in the way of a good trip to the park. This guide discusses tricks for easing their nerves.
Dog Car Sickness: What You Need to Know to Help Your Pup
Driving over to the local dog park to give your pet a nice fun walk can really be spoiled by the trip in the car. The last thing you want is vomiting to happen in the car. However, for those who suffer from dog car sickness, this can be a real problem. Dogs can become sick and stressed out while in a moving car. This can make it difficult to take your dog to many places without putting them through something stressful.
What is Car Sickness/ Motion Sickness?
Dog car sickness or motion sickness is a condition where a dog becomes upset and sick when traveling in a car. They are not used to the sensations and don’t have the proper defenses to deal with these new sensations. It is more common in puppies than in adult dogs. Puppies lack some key features that help grown-up dogs deal with these things.
However, it can also occur in adult dogs. Not every dog grows out of car sickness. If your dog can’t seem to manage any car trips without some accidents taking place, they likely have a case of dog car sickness. There is something you can do to help your puppy though.
What Causes a Dog to Get Car Sick?
Dogs getting car sick is quite often an unavoidable problem. However, its cause can vary depending on the dog.
Inner Ear Not Developed Fully in Puppies
Most dogs will have a form of car sickness while they’re young. This is a side effect of the way dogs develop. A puppy’s inner ear isn’t properly developed compared with an adult dog. This causes a problem with their balance that can be provoked by traveling in a car. This is a natural cause of dog car sickness. While there are things you can do to help dogs with this type of motion sickness, they will likely outgrow it over time.
Dog car sickness isn’t a problem limited to puppies. Adults can suffer from it too. The main cause among adult dogs is stress. This is particularly true for dogs who spend very little time in the car. Their only experience in a car may be traveling to the vets or groomers. They will then associate the stressful process of being in a car with going somewhere they don’t like. This can give them some real anxiety and stress about riding in cars. You will have to teach them that being in a car is okay, and overwrite that fear of the place.
Signs of Motion Sickness
If you’re concerned that your dog has motion sickness, then there are a few signs to watch out for. A dog can’t tell you when they feel unwell like a person can. To get around this, you’ve got to watch out for the signs of dog motion sickness.
- Whining – A dog that is stressed or experiencing motion sickness is likely to start whining.
- Pacing – A dog might begin pacing within the car to try and deal with the stress.
- Excessive Drooling – While not a pleasant sight, this is a common side effect of motion sickness.
- Lethargy – If your typically active dog is sulking about getting in the car , it might be a sign that something is wrong.
- Vomiting orDiarrhea– While unpleasant, these are some clear signs of dog car sickness.
How You Can Help your Dog’s Car Sickness
If your dog is experiencing any of these problems, then they likely have dog motion sickness. If you want to deal with this problem, then there are a few different methods you can try.
Make them Comfy
Making your dog more comfortable in the car will go a long way towards helping their motion sickness. This should relieve their stress and help them to relax in the car. Try to bring in fabrics that carry your smell for the dog to sit on, they will find this comforting. Anxiety blankets can also be really helpful for keeping a dog calm.
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Try to keep your dog facing forward while you’re driving with them. This will help to cut down on nausea. In people and dogs, motion sickness is provoked more by traveling oppositely to how you’re facing. This is a natural response to moving in a way that feels counter-intuitive. Try to ensure your dog is facing forward by using a seatbelt.
Roll Down Windows a Few Inches
Rolling down your car windows can work wonders for a car sick puppy. Doing this will allow some of the air pressure in the car to move. This helps the car feel more ventilated which should help with your dog’s anxiety. The fresh air will also be good for a bad stomach, helping to prevent motion sickness from turning into vomiting.
A crate can be really helpful for traveling with a dog for a few reasons. The first is just for safety. A dog in a crate won’t be able to roam about the car, so you can be sure they’re not going to get hurt in transit. However, this also helps to keep them facing forward throughout the trip. Being somewhere comfortable and secure will help to reduce their stress while traveling, making it easier for puppies with dog car sickness.
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CBD Oil for Stress
CBD Oil is a great tool for dealing with any type of stress in dogs. This applies to dogs suffering from car sickness. CBD Oil works by releasing a compound that travels through a dog’s system to reduce stress and tension. This will help you treat dog car sickness by treating the route cause of it, stress.
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Limiting your dog’s food before a trip can be really helpful for treating the symptoms. This particular way of treating a dog with car sickness isn’t going to address why they’re carsick, but it should prevent them from having accidents in the car. Don’t feed your dog for 12 hours before their big journey. This should reduce nausea and prevent them from throwing up in the car. You still need to give them access to freshwater though.
Distract with Toys
Part of your dog being stressed when driving in the car is them associating the journey will unpleasant things. You can try to beat this sensation by making the ride fun for them. Giving them access to some fun toys in the car can help them have fun in there. If they associate being in the car with having fun, then they’re less likely to suffer from dog car sickness.
Dog Motion Sickness Medications
If your dog’s car sickness is severe, then medication might be able to help. Vets can prescribe several different treatments that should help your dog. However, these medicines aren’t for everyday use. If your dog’s car sickness is getting in the way of them living their life, then training them to cope better in cars will be more helpful in the long run than constantly medicating them.
If your puppy is suffering from dog car sickness, then there is quite a bit you can do to help them. Between the solutions listed here, you should be able to show your dog that being in the car can be a relaxing or fun experience. Getting rid of their stress when they’re in the car should ease their motion sickness, and help them enjoy their trips.
How to Help Dogs With Car Anxiety
If your furry passenger is feeling the effects of car sickness, you are likely to be familiar with a few of these common symptoms:
- Excessive whining, drooling, licking lips, or yawning
- Unable to get comfortable and clear signs of discomfort
- Vomiting or dry heaves
It is important to understand that car sickness in our canine companions is usually a combination of factors. The first is motion sickness, something that many people also suffer from when riding in cars. If you have ever felt nauseous from being on a boat, riding a roller coaster, or trying to nap in the back of a moving car, then you are familiar with what your furry friend is feeling. Needless to say, it is not very comfortable!
However, over time, repeated experiences of car sickness can cause car anxiety for our dogs (as can other situations such as trauma from a car wreck or only getting in the car to go to the vet). It makes sense: If every time you got in the car you got sick, you would probably dread car rides, too. Unlike you, your dog doesn’t understand why, and may simply develop a phobia of car rides as a result.
So, the first step in such cases is to stop nausea that is causing the problem to begin with, followed by working on the dog’s anxiety that may have resulted from repeated episodes of car sickness.
Common Medications for Dog Car Anxiety and Motion Sickness
Until recently, many people turned to common over-the-counter medications for dog nausea. However, the side effects of these medications, which are potentially serious, have left others concerned about their safety.
An over-the-counter anti-histamine, this drug is sometimes recommended by veterinarians for dogs who show signs of motion sickness, mostly because it seems to have a sedative effect. However, drug overdoses have been known to occur and include the potential for extreme sedation, seizures, respiratory problems, coma, and even death.
This powerful anti-nausea medication is potent and lasts for 24 hours. It is available by prescription only and is administered by injection. One of the well-known side effects of this medication is the possibility of an allergic reaction, including swelling so severe it restricts your pet’s ability to breathe and can cause seizures, coma, and even death if not promptly treated.
In addition, even the product label warns that prolonged exposure may lead to “skin sensitization” in your pet. Some think the risk outweighs the potential benefits of the gains, particularly when there are natural alternatives that can treat nausea just as well.
A pharmaceutical-grade tranquilizer that also reduces nausea. This dog sedative for car travel anxiety depresses the central nervous system and is thought to block dopamine receptors in the brain. While some vets and dog owners do find the extreme sedation effects helpful for severe cases of motion sickness in dogs, the downside is that once your dog gets to the destination, they are likely to be “out of it” for several hours.
Does CBD Oil Help Dogs With Car Sickness?
If you are concerned about finding something that will help your canine companion without dangerous side effects, potentially life-threatening adverse reactions, and sedating your pal to the point that he won’t even be able to enjoy the fun at the other end of the car ride, then you may be delighted to find out about a natural product that may help.
Many pet owners and holistic vets are turning to high quality CBD for their dog’s car anxiety, a natural product that can help calm both mood and tummies in dogs in the face of phobias such as fear of car trips.
Tips for Addressing Dog Car Phobia in Dogs
Here at Lolahemp, we are big believers in the power of CBD oil to help with car sickness and car phobia in dogs because it worked for our rescued chihuahua, Lola . And, many of our customers report that our organic hemp oil has also been effective for their canine companions.
However, we also want to be sure that dog owners are aware of other things they can do to help their dogs overcome dog car phobias caused by motion sickness. To that end, here are a few great tips:
Ride on an Empty Stomach
Many pet owners make the mistake of feeding their dogs right before a ride or giving their dogs treats during the ride. While this may not bother all dogs, for those prone to motion sickness, it is likely to make the problem worse.
Practice Very Short Trips
One of the best ways to help your dog get used to riding in the car is to practice taking very short rides. Since motion sickness often takes 10 minutes or more to set in, these short rides can help your dog get used to riding in the car without feeling sick. In addition, it may even help her find her “sea legs” by giving her a chance to adjust to the motion of the car.
Reward and Praise Every Aspect of the Ride
Car phobia, just like other phobias in dogs, is usually handled through a process of reconditioning and desensitization. This means exposing the dog to the car without triggering the reaction threshold and rewarding and praising along the way.
For many pets, this may mean going back to square one, that is, getting in and out of the car while it is parked and repeating with rewards and praise. Then, taking a drive to the bottom of the drive and back, again rewarding and praising. This can help “retrain” your dog that the car is associated with good things.
Go to Fun Places
It is easy to overlook, but if the only time you take your dog in the car is for a trip to the vet where she gets poked and prodded, then there is a good chance that you have inadvertently taught her that the car is basically equivalent to going to the doctor. No wonder she hates that car!
Instead, look for excuses to take short rides to fun places like the dog park, on a doggy date to meet a favorite canine playmate, or to the lake. As long as the rides are short, and the fun trips far outnumber the less-fun trips, then your pooch will learn to enjoy the excitement of what comes at the end of the ride.
Can a Natural Product Help with Car Phobia in Dogs?
If you are interested in trying CBD for a dog’s car sickness, consider Lolahemp full-spectrum hemp oil for dogs. Our oils are made from certified organic hemp plants sourced from a family-run farm in the U.S. and are always lab tested for purity & concentration.
We also make CBD calming chews for easy administration, which include other natural calming ingredients to promote relaxation in even the most stressed pups.
Joey is the founder of Lolahemp. In 2015 he and his mother launched Lolawawa’s Pet Boutique, an e-commerce store for pets and pet lovers that donates a portion of profits to animal rescue efforts. In 2018 the son and mother duo launched Lolahemp after the success their own rescue chihuahua, Lola, had with hemp products. Joey & Susan are the visionaries behind the brand, oversee day-to-day operations & marketing, and run all of the company’s philanthropic efforts.