Overcoming Car Sickness in Puppies


  • Positive Car Training: Create enjoyable car experiences and prepare your dog with energy-releasing activities and bathroom breaks before rides.
  • Comfort and Gradual Exposure: Offer a comfortable car space and start with short journeys, using treats to build positive associations.
  • Anxiety Management: For anxious dogs, slowly acclimate them to the car in a safe setting, then gradually increase drive lengths.
  • Veterinary Solutions: If necessary, seek veterinary advice for appropriate medications or natural remedies for severe anxiety or nausea.

Witnessing our canine companions struggle with car travel can be disheartening for any dog owner. The dilemma often lies in choosing between leaving our furry friends at home or enduring their discomfort during car rides. Neglecting regular car trips only exacerbates the issue, as dogs miss out on learning to associate car travel with positive experiences.

Puppies, similar to young children, are often more susceptible to motion sickness. This is partly due to their developing inner ears, which can create a disconnect between their sensory and visual perceptions in a moving vehicle. Fortunately, most puppies overcome this as they mature past their first year.

However, some dogs continue to experience travel-related distress beyond puppyhood. The mere suggestion of a car ride can trigger significant anxiety, necessitating a different approach from handling typical motion sickness in puppies.

Strategies to Alleviate Canine Car Sickness

  • Creating Positive Car Experiences: From the beginning, ensure every car journey is a pleasant experience for your puppy. This sets a foundation for positive associations with car travel.
  • Pre-Ride Preparation: Before embarking on a car trip, let your dog expend excess energy and have a bathroom break. This reduces restlessness and discomfort during the ride.
  • Comfortable Travel Space: Provide a cozy, soft area in the car, complete with a blanket. Some dogs prefer a booster seat where they can be securely fastened, offering a forward-facing view.
  • Gradual Introduction to Car Rides: Break journeys into shorter segments, incorporating frequent breaks. Offer water but avoid heavy meals. Intermittent treats can foster a positive connection with car travel without causing stomach upset.
  • Utilize Fresh Air: Slightly open windows to balance air pressure and provide fresh air, which can be a distraction and a source of sensory engagement for your dog.

Addressing Persistent Car Anxiety in Dogs

For dogs that have developed a deep-seated aversion to car travel, patience and systematic conditioning are key.

Behavioral Approach

  • Observation and Gradual Exposure: Notice signs of anxiety like lip licking or ear pinning, and start associating the car with positive experiences at a comfortable distance.
  • Safe Environment Inside the Car: Initially, feed and spend time with your dog in the stationary car, gradually introducing toys and familiar items.
  • Progressive Acclimatization: Once your dog is comfortable in a stationary car, start with short driveway maneuvers, slowly extending the journey length as your dog’s confidence grows.

Medicinal Intervention

If behavioral strategies fall short, consult your veterinarian. There are various therapeutic options, including natural remedies, anti-nausea, and anti-anxiety medications. Always discuss the appropriate choice, dosage, and potential side effects with your vet.

Combining prevention, behavior modification, and possibly medicinal aid can significantly improve most puppies’ response to car travel. Some dogs may simply need time to adjust, while others might benefit from additional support. The key is to patiently and persistently guide them toward associating car rides with positive experiences.