Dog motion sickness is more commonly seen in puppies and young dogs than in older dogs, just as car sickness affects more children than adults.
Sometimes puppies can grow out of car sickness, but they may need a bit of help.
Natural Products to Assist
There are some products on the market you can try:
Ginger is well known for its ability to alleviate nausea and vomiting. You can give your dog a small amount of fresh grated ginger (perhaps on a biscuit) about 30 minutes before car travel.
Also try ginger snap biscuits, or ginger in tablet form (be sure the tablets or capsules are dog safe).
Your vet will also be able to advise you if travel sickness medication is suitable for your dog.
A Relaxing Atmosphere
Apply a few drops of lavender or chamomile oil to a cotton ball and place it inside the vehicle about 30 minutes before your car ride. This fills the vehicle with a soothing aroma. (Be sure to remove the cotton ball so your dog doesn’t eat it!)
Associations With The Car
Unfortunately, if your puppy or dog gets sick while travelling, it can often develop into a negative association with the car. They get sick when they ride in the car, therefore they may get scared or uncertain of approaching or getting in the car.
Creating Positive Associations
If your dog or puppy is scared of going in the car (possibly due to being sick previously), it may take some time before they are comfortable again.
We recommend using a process of desensitisation and counter conditioning. (See our info sheet on desensitisation).
In simple cases, pairing the car with high value food/treats can work well. Start rewarding your dog for looking at the car and being near it, and then gradually move closer if they are comfortable.
In more complicated cases we may need to start teaching a fun activity such as scent games or tug separately, and then gradually pair that with the car in view, then closer, then around it and even in it.
Where to Sit?
Each dog will be different with what works for them. Some dogs prefer to see out the window or the front, others may be more comfortable in a covered crate or in the back with window socks covering the windows.
Booster seats may help some small dogs to see out and assist with their car sickness.
Remember to be safe with your dog and use crates, seatbelts or tethers while they are riding in the car.
To get in and out of the car, perhaps try a ramp (conditioned separately).
Make sure your dog is safe and secure whatever you decide to use.
Please reach out to us so we can help you come up with a plan specific to your dog 🚗