Pets: Fear of Car Rides

From various conversations in person and around the internet, I have learned that there are quite a few people out there with this same problem: Their dog or puppy vomits when they take it for a car ride.

Why does this happen?

  • Motion sickness – seeing the scenery go by may cause your pet to become car-sick. Motion sickness is more common in young dogs and puppies than older dogs, similar to car sickness being more common among children than adults. This is because the inner ear structures which are used for balance are not yet fully developed.
  • Fear – it is not a natural feeling for a pet to be moving at high speeds in a giant box, so the sensation or the car itself may be foreign and scary to your pet.

What can be done to help?

  • Practice. Take your dog for short car rides at a time to build up their courage if they are fearful of the car.
  • Keep it cool. Turn on the air conditioner so that your pet doesn’t overheat.
  • Face forward. Your dog will feel less sick if he faces forward rather than sideways out the window. You can achieve this by putting your pet in a crate, or using a special dog seat belt.
  • No snacks. Be sure not to feed your pet just before going for a ride as this may amplify their queasiness.
  • Speak with your veterinarian. They may be able to provide medication to help your anxious pet.

If your pet continues to experience these problems, it is advised that you consult your veterinarian.

About Stacy @Trupanion

Stacy Kowalchuk is a dog mom to her rescued Whippet-mix, Ellie. During the week, you can find Stacy surfing (the internet, that is) and managing Trupanion's presence in the social media world. In her free time, Stacy likes to bake, especially cupcakes! To balance her culinary affinity, she also likes to stay active, especially with activities that include her dog such as hiking and going to dog parks.

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