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What To Do For Dogs That Get Car Sick: A Guide to Preventing Motion Sickness

If you’re a pet owner, you understand the joy and adventure that comes with taking your furry friend on a road trip. However, the experience can be tough for dogs that get car sick. Motion sickness in dogs is a common problem and can result in vomiting, drooling, and anxiety, making the journey extremely uncomfortable for both you and your pet. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent car sickness in dogs, ensuring a safe and enjoyable trip for both you and your furry friend. In this article, we’ll explore what causes motion sickness in dogs, signs to look out for, and tips to prevent it.

Understanding Motion Sickness in Dogs

Motion sickness is a common condition among dogs that get disoriented and nauseous when traveling in cars, boats, or planes. It occurs when there is a conflict in the signals sent to the brain by the inner ear and the eyes. The inner ear, which is responsible for balance, detects motion, while the eyes see a stationary environment. The conflict between the two can cause a sensory mismatch, leading to motion sickness.

Signs of Car Sickness in Dogs

It’s essential to recognize the signs of motion sickness in dogs to prevent it from escalating. Some of the common signs you should look out for include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting or retching
  • Whining or crying
  • Lethargy
  • Panting
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lip licking

If your dog exhibits any of these signs, it’s best to pull over immediately and take a break. If left untreated, motion sickness can lead to dehydration and other complications.

Tips to Prevent Car Sickness in Dogs

  1. Get Your Dog Used to Being in the Car

One of the most effective ways to prevent motion sickness is to get your dog accustomed to being in a moving car. Start by taking short trips around the block, gradually increasing the duration and distance of the trips.

  1. Limit Food Intake Before Travel

It’s best to feed your dog at least three hours before travel to prevent motion sickness. A full stomach can worsen nausea and vomiting, making the journey uncomfortable.

  1. Keep the Car Well-Ventilated

A well-ventilated car can help alleviate motion sickness symptoms in dogs. Keep the windows open or use the air conditioning to regulate temperature and air quality.

  1. Use a Dog Car Seat

A dog car seat can help your furry friend feel secure and comfortable during travel. It also reduces motion sickness by limiting your dog’s movement in the car.

  1. Take Frequent Breaks

Taking frequent breaks allows your dog to stretch, hydrate, and relieve themselves. It also helps reduce the likelihood of motion sickness symptoms.

  1. Use Medications

If your dog experiences severe motion sickness, you can use medications such as Dramamine or Cerenia. However, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian first to determine the appropriate dosage and medication for your furry friend.


Motion sickness can be distressing for both dogs and their owners, but it’s preventable. Understanding what causes motion sickness and recognizing the signs can help pet owners take measures to prevent it. By getting your dog accustomed to being in the car, limiting food intake, keeping the car well-ventilated, using a dog car seat, taking frequent breaks, and using medication if necessary, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable road trip for both you and your furry friend.


Q1. Can I give my dog ginger to prevent motion sickness?

Yes, ginger has anti-inflammatory and antiemetic properties that can help alleviate motion sickness symptoms in dogs. You can give your dog ginger in various forms, including ginger biscuits, ginger capsules, or ginger tea.

Q2. Can I feed my dog during travel?

It’s best to feed your dog at least three hours before travel to prevent motion sickness. However, if you’re going on a long trip, you can give your dog small, frequent meals during breaks.

Q3. Can anxiety cause motion sickness in dogs?

Yes, anxiety can contribute to motion sickness in dogs. If your dog experiences anxiety during travel, consider using calming products, such as pheromone sprays or supplements, to alleviate their anxiety.

Q4. Can motion sickness be a sign of a severe health problem?

While motion sickness is common in dogs, it can also be a sign of a severe underlying health issue. If your dog experiences chronic motion sickness, consult with your veterinarian to rule out any medical problems.

Q5. Can puppies get motion sickness?

Yes, puppies can experience motion sickness due to their underdeveloped inner ear. However, motion sickness usually subsides as they grow older and their inner ear fully develops.

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