If your dog actually throws up, you have evidence they are carsick, but how do you know if they feel nauseous? How can you tell if your dog gets carsick? What can you do if your dog gets carsick? Here’s what you need to know about carsickness in dogs.
Do Dogs Get Carsick?
Yes, many dogs get carsick. While puppies and young adults are more prone to carsickness due to the ear structures used for balance not being fully formed yet, some dogs don’t grow out of car sickness and will always struggle.
Do Some Dog Breeds Get Carsick More Than Others?
While any dog breed may get carsick, Bulldogs, Frenchies, Pugs, and other brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog breeds are more prone to carsickness due to their tendency to overheat.
What Is Carsickness in Dogs? What Causes Carsickness?
Also called motion sickness, carsickness is related to the sense of balance. It can cause nausea and vomiting, among other symptoms.
- Ear infections
- Vestibular disease
- Memories of a previous bad car ride
Symptoms of Carsickness in Dogs
Carsickness symptoms in dogs include:
- Excessive drooling
- Licking or smacking lips
- Inactivity or lethargy
How to Treat Carsickness in Dogs
Luckily, there are many things you can do to help prevent your pup from getting carsick on future rides. It’s never a bad idea to start with a trip to the vet to rule out serious health conditions like a severe ear infection or vestibular disease. After ruling out health problems, try these tactics to help your pup feel better on future car rides.
If your puppy got carsick the first couple of times you took them somewhere, they may always remember that feeling and start feeling ill before the ride even begins. Desensitization can help break the association between the car and feeling sick.
Once your dog associates the car with good things like treats and playtime, they may be less likely to get carsick in the future.
Keep Them in a Crate While Driving
If your dog is already crate-trained, keeping them in a crate in the car may help them feel more secure, less anxious, and less carsick. Plus, it’s much safer for both your pup and you in case of an accident!
Don’t Feed Them Before a Long Drive
Avoid giving your pooch food or treats for 3-4 hours before putting them in the car so they don’t have a full stomach - but always make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water.
Give Them a New Toy to Play With in the Car
Buy your dog a new toy or take one of their favorite existing toys and keep it in the car. A toy they only get to play with in the car can help make drives more exciting and less anxiety-inducing, reducing the likelihood your pup will get carsick.
Keep Your Car Cool
Hot, stuffy rooms probably make you a little nauseous, too, right? Remember that your dog should be in the back seat (airbags make riding in the passenger seat dangerous for pups) and that there is likely less air reaching your pup than is hitting your hands on the steering wheel. Crank up the AC or crack the windows to ensure your pup is cool enough.
Give Them Things With Your Scent for the Drive
Dogs find the scent of their human comforting, so giving them the shirt you wore yesterday to sniff during the drive may help keep your pup calm.
Stop Often for Breaks
Just as you should be stopping every hour or two on a long road trip to stretch your legs, your pup needs breaks to run around, breathe fresh air, and let their stomach settle.
Products to Help Prevent Carsickness in Dogs
When all else fails, talk to your vet about medications or other solutions to help prevent your dog from getting carsick.