How to Keep Your Dog From Getting Car Sick — and What to Do If It Happens

June 30, 2018


Hitting the open road with your dog can be an incredibly fun experience. It’s not only exciting for your pup to see — and smell — new places, but it’s fun for you to witness your dog’s happiness as you roll the windows down and travel somewhere new. But if you’re considering a road trip with your furry companion, you should be prepared for the possibility that your dog could get motion sickness. Even during the shortest of car rides, some dogs are very susceptible to canine car sickness, meaning the only trip you’ll be going on is one to the vet.


So, why is it that some dogs easily become sick while traveling in the car, while others are seemingly fine? “The exact mechanism of motion sickness is not well understood, but it is most likely linked to the centers of the brain that control balance and process motion,” said Daniel Edge, DVM, MBA, Director of Veterinary Specialty Operations at Zoetis. “It can also be related to fear and anxiety about car rides. Just as people are individuals, dogs are as well, so not all dogs will suffer from the same condition and to the same degree.”


Just like humans, it’s imperative for dogs to be prepared for road trip, especially to help prevent motion sickness. Edge notes that feeding your dog only a small meal before traveling may help reduce the symptoms of motion sickness, as well as making frequent pit stops for your pup if your road trip is going to last more than a few hours.


“Just like people, dogs need occasional breaks to stretch their legs, run off some energy and relieve themselves,” Edge said. “Ideally, you should give your pup a 15-20 minute break for every 2-3 hours that you are on the road.”


Additionally, the American Kennel Club