Dogs like to chase cars, but not all dogs enjoy going for a ride in a car. Car sickness in dogs is caused by a variety of factors that can be overcome and your dog can become a welcomed happy passenger, if you start training and preparing them when they are puppies.
Dogs get car sick because they have a full stomach, or due to anxiety about the car ride, or just plain lack of experience that causes them to be fearful of a new situation.
Most puppies will outgrow car sickness and learn to enjoy the ride if taken out in the car on a regular basis.
Start your puppy with short car rides to a fun destination, like a dog play park or your favorite walking area. If all your puppy’s car rides in at the veterinarian’s office, the puppy will grow into a dog that hates car rides. Make the car ride before your puppy eats, or wait at least an hour after your puppy has eaten. Take your puppy for a short walk so the puppy will void prior to entering the car. Talk your puppy during the car ride, and offer reassuring strokes on the puppy’s head, this will alleviate the anxiety your puppy may feel. Your puppy or dog will need to be secured with a harness or in a travel crate for their safety as well as yours during the car ride.
These tips will work equally well on a full grown dog also, just be patient, it might take a little longer for a grown dog to become accustomed to car rides.
If you adopt a grown dog and do not know the dog’s history, it is possible that the grown dog had an unpleasant encounter with cars prior to your adoption. A grown dog that has been hit by a car, or that a previous owner punished for trying to get in the family car, may never fully recover from those experiences and be able to enjoy a car ride.
If the only time that your puppy or dog rides in the car is on the way to the veterinarian or for boarding, that puppy or dog will definitely have anxiety and will benefit from taking anti-anxiety medications, talk to your veterinarian about over the counter anti-anxiety medication for your dog. Both you and your dog will benefit from the dog having empty stomach prior to the car ride, no mess for you to clean up after the car ride.
If you have always wanted a dog that would enjoy riding with you in your car, but have ended u p with a dog that is fearful of cars and gets sick in your car, don’t give up on the dog or your dream. A little patience, a little effort and it is possible to take your dog for a car ride without them getting car sick.