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Car sickness - by dogs

Published on 25 September 2020 at 09:51

What is motion sickness?

Motion sickness by dogs is a common problem. Motion or car sickness is more common by younger dogs than adults. The reason may be due to the fact that the parts of the inner ear involved in balance are not fully developed. Puppies will often “outgrow” motion sickness by the time they are about one year old. To be perfectly prepared you have to make sure to recognise some signals your dog could have. 

What are the signals?

It is a disturbance of the organ of balance by movements and fluctuations. If your dog gets sick while driving, you can quickly recognize this by the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Gagging or vomiting
  • Smacking, panting or drooling
  • Restless, trembling, excitement

When you travel with your dog it can happen that the dog gets sick. Good preparation is half the work, and this prevents the dog from getting car sick. Good preparation is important because about 58% of dog owners with a travel-sick dog still travel with the dog. This can also happen with small car trips to the forest or the beach.

Can it get worse over the years?

The moment you let the dog get used to driving, it can happen that the dogs associate this stress. This fear and tension is transformed into the above symptoms. Some dogs already gag when the car is started. It is therefore important to tackle this right from the start. Otherwise, motion sickness can get worse over the years.

Precautionary measures:

  • Bring water and treats
  • Drive carefully and do not accelerate too fast
  • Take your young puppy in the car as soon as possible for short rides
  • Make sure you create fresh air into the car 
  • Let the dog drink water and do not give food 2 hours before travelling
  • Bring a familiar toy or cuddly toy for the dog
  • Associate car trips with something fun like: a walk in the woods or a day at the beach
  • Regular breaks for the dog to get some fresh air outside and for stretching
  • Provide a good climate in the car, dogs cannot dissipate their heat, much worse than we humans.
  • Overheating is a serious risk, which can be recognized by a lot of drooling, slow behavior and heavy panting.


Have you ever seen your dog struggeling with car sickness?

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9 months ago

Usefull tips to keep in mind! My dog struggled with car sickness for a long period of time. I tried many things and maybe these tips will help!

Carlijn Elianne
9 months ago

Hi Lisa!

Thank you for your message! That's sad to hear.. I hope your dog is doing better after applying these tips. Let me know x