19 September 2018

Tips for Avoiding Dog Sickness in the Car

The classic image of a happy dog with its head hanging out of an open car window may seem like an ideal outing, but the reality for many dog owners is much different. As many as one in every five dogs suffers from car sickness. If your pet is one of these unlucky ones, here are some tips to help you avoid dog sickness in the car.

Know the signs

Vomiting isn’t the only sign of car sickness. Shaking, excessive drooling, nervous whining, excessive panting, constant lip-licking, and complete inactivity are all signs that your dog is feeling sick.

Surprisingly, it’s not always motion that causes sickness. Most of the time, it’s anxiety over being in the moving car that triggers the sickness. Puppies have ear structures that are not fully developed yet. These immature structures are responsible for balance, so a moving car does make them feel sick. Older dogs may associate a car ride with bad memories or they may be afraid because they haven’t been in a car before. Be patient with them--they’ll get better over time.

Ride on empty

If your dog is prone to car sickness, make sure you stop feeding him several hours before you plan to travel. This will reduce the likelihood of an ‘incident’ and help your pet feel more comfortable while he rides.

Practice car comfort

Try letting your pet sit in the car while it’s not moving. First, start with the engine off. Work up to having it on, then to short trips. Bring a favourite toy to use as a distraction if necessary. Eventually you’ll build your pet’s confidence enough for longer trips.

Car safety

For your pet’s safety, avoid placing him in a seat with an airbag. These can harm your dog if they deploy. Also, restrain your pet with a dog seatbelt. In a crash, an unrestrained dog can be thrown from the car. Keeping your pet restrained will also limit the likelihood that he’ll injure himself while trying to explore the car.

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