Many dogs will experience car sickness on short or long trips because they are unable to adapt themselves to the shifting movements and varying speeds of a car. Even a smooth ride on a fairly calm trip can upset the delicate digestive system of a dog.
Car sickness, also called motion sickness, is caused by the over-stimulation of a dog’s inner ear, resulting in a miserable car riding experience for a dog. Stress can also make a dog carsick if it associates the car ride with an unpleasant memory like going to the vet and getting vaccinations or some other unwelcome treatment. If a dog is frightened by noisy vehicles – garbage trucks, semi-trucks, etc., it can experience stress whenever it’s in the car and near the source of these kinds of noises. Separation anxiety also can occur as a result of being removed from familiar surroundings and can trigger a bout of car sickness.
When a dog vomits while riding in the car, the most obvious reason is car or motion sickness. A scared dog may also pant more rapidly than usual, will salivate heavily, or even pace back and forth by the car and resist getting into the vehicle. Sometimes a dog will whine and pull away from you when trying to put it into your car. When a dog acts this way before the car’s engine is even started, it’s a pretty good indication it’s not going to enjoy the ride and will get carsick.
Desensitizing your dog to car rides does not have to be a difficult process. A good first step is to make the car ride more inviting and fun by acclimating your dog to the car itself. Load your dog into your parked car and feed it while the car stays parked without the engine running. This will help your dog associate the car with something enjoyable.
After your dog becomes accustomed to the car and appears to be looking forward to going for a ride, you can start the car while your dog is eating inside it, but don’t drive anywhere. Just stay parked wherever you are. Once your dog feels comfortable eating in the car and appears to have no problem with the engine running, take your dog for a short ride around the block.
Be sure to lower your car windows to equalize the air pressure and allow your dog to breathe fresh air. Keep your car cooled down if the temperature or humidity is high, as heat can increase the chances of your dog feeling nauseous. You may also want to bring along one or two of your dog’s favorite toys or treats.
The best way to prepare your dog for a long trip by car is to not give it the usual amounts of food or water just before setting out. A dog will travel better and is less apt to experience car sickness if it eats just 1/2 or 1/4 of its usual serving of food before the lengthy car ride. If a dog begins exhibiting signs of car sickness on the trip, make a stop and take it on a short walk. A little longer walk may be necessary if your dog seems unusually stressed by the ride. Spending more time walking will give your dog an opportunity to release some, if not all, of its stress.
Luckily, the majority of dogs will outgrow car sickness, although some dogs will always have a tougher time adjusting to traveling in a car. If this is the case with your dog, before putting your dog in the car, give it the natural supplement Calming Soft Chews. These chews will help your dog relax when traveling by car, and also work great for handling stress when a dog is staying at home. Calming Soft Chews have been proven to help dogs suffering with separation anxiety and nervousness. The Calming Soft Chews are safer than over-the-counter products which often cause drowsiness in a pet.
Dogs with car sickness do not make for a pleasant and carefree trip or vacation. Using a dog seatbelt may help your pet feel more secure and will diminish feelings of instability. A carsick dog is less likely to have an unpleasant trip and feel safer if it’s wearing a car seatbelt or harness when riding in the front or back seat.