If you are dealing with dog car sickness, then this post is for you. No one wants their dog to puke in their car and it can be an awful experience if it happens all the time. Our dog, Kirby, is a puker. He used to get car sick on every single car ride that was over 30 minutes. He still does sometimes but not nearly as much after implementing the tips I’m sharing with you in this post.
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get them used to the car in small doses
First things first, get them used to the car. I would suggest going on little car rides around the neighborhood every week or so. If they get car sick a lot, they will start to dread going into the car and you want to keep that from happening. If you take your dog around the block for ten minutes and they don’t get sick, make sure to praise them and give them a reward.
You want them to associate “going for a ride” with something to be excited about.
ask your vet about medications
When Kirby was still a puppy, the vet told us that he would probably grow out of getting car sick.
Nope. He did not.
So, after he was a year old or so, we asked our vet if there were any medications for dog car sickness. I am not going to list the suggestions our vet gave us because I am not a vet and cannot give medical advice, but I can recommend that you call your vet and ask them about natural remedies or medications!
keep them from moving / buckled in
The best thing you can do is get a seat buckle or hammock for your dog to sit in. We prefer a seatbelt and harness since we like to have a person sit in the back with our dog (more on that later). A hammock also takes up a lot of space and we like to pack our dog’s backpack next to him for easy access.
We really like this buckle and harness since the buckle fits right into a regular seat belt buckle and the harness is lightweight and easy to get on. We use this harness as Kirby’s regular harness too, so all we do is buckle him in and out and get out!
have one of you sit in the back with your dog
This obviously only works if there are two or more of you in the car, but if you are traveling as a group or a couple, sit in the backseat with your dog. This may be the number one dog car sickness tip that has helped Kirby not puke. My husband will drive and I will sit in the backseat with Kirby buckled into the middle seat buckle and his backpack on the seat on the other side of him.
We’ve found this to work really well, because like the tip below, you can have puke bags ready so they can puke straight into the bag. It is also comforting to your dog, having you back there with them to soothe them. Kirby usually lays his head in my lap or leans over me to get to the window.
For long road trips, sitting in the back with your dog is useful to get them what they need without having to stop the car. I can get him water, treats, or a toy to play with when I’m sitting in the back seat with him.
If you’ve tried all the things on this list except for this one. Try it on your next car ride!
have puke bags ready
This works only if you are sitting in the backseat with your dog, but I will usually have plastic bags, wet ones, and Clorox wipes in the car, ready to clean up a mess when needed.
When you sit in the backseat with your dog, you can have your dog puke directly into the plastic bag, so you don’t have to stop and clean your car mid-trip. It works really well for us and Kirby is now used to puking directly into bags or hotel trash cans when the occasion arises.
open the window frequently
If you aren’t on the highway, opening the window can be a great distraction for your dog. They get to sniff all the new scents and get a breath of fresh air which can help alleviate their nausea.
We don’t typically open the window when we are driving really fast, because it can irritate your dog’s nose and eyes.
give them something to do
Depending on how long you plan to be in the car. I would suggest buying them a new toy to give to them at the start of a long road trip. This will keep them occupied, but also associate a positive experience with the car ride.
feed them at least two hours before the ride
Do not feed your dog right before your car ride. You want the food in their stomach to be well digested before getting them all worked up in the car. We try and aim for two hours before a long drive or if we are leaving early in the morning we will give Kirby half of his normal breakfast amount and give him the rest when we’ve reached the destination.
give them treats to sustain them
Odds are if your dog gets carsick, they will not feel like eating until you reach your destination. I will usually give Kirby treats to sustain him for the length of the trip.
We’ve never taken him in the car longer than 7 hours in one day though, so depending on your trip, you may need to adjust.
Of course, always consult with your vet about eating habits and any specifics that could be unique to your dog’s conditions or breed.
Don’t scold Them If They Puke
Lastly, do not scold them if they puke.
Trust me, they feel bad enough already. This is not something you can really discipline them on, so please don’t think scolding them will make them do it any less. The best thing you can do is console them and let them know that you are not upset with them and just want them to feel better.
I hope these tips help you gets your dog car sickness under control and don’t forget to talk to your vet in case something more serious is going on.