Dog Car Sickness: Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

Dog Car Sickness: Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

Dog car sickness is a common condition, it isn’t just a phenomenon that humans experience. The condition of car sickness in dogs is known as "motion sickness”. If you've never experienced it, it might be hard to imagine dogs getting car sick. However, it's a fairly common and concerning issue, especially if your dog frequently travels by car.

In this article, Furry® will delve into the details of dog car sickness along with preventive measures and remedies.

Symptoms of Dog Car Sickness

When experiencing car sickness, dogs may exhibit the following signs:

Head and Neck:

  • Holding the head high

  • Straightening the neck

  • Constantly licking lips


  • Being still or motionless

  • Trembling

  • Excessive drooling

  • Limpness


  • Closing eyes

  • Staring blankly


  • Rapid breathing

  • Panting


  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Fecal incontinence


  • Whining or growling

  • Grinding teeth

  • Loss of appetite

If you notice any of these symptoms, especially vomiting and fecal incontinence, it's likely that your dog is experiencing dog car sickness.

Causes of Dog Car Sickness

The condition of dog car sickness stems from a conflict between their sensory perceptions:

Auditory and Visual Senses:

While traveling in a car, a dog's ears and eyes receive signals of movement such as observing the surroundings and feeling the vibrations while sitting in the vehicle. However, their sense of balance signals that they are stationary while sitting still in the car, creating a conflict between these sensory inputs and resulting in car sickness.

Motion Senses:

The central nervous system of dogs receives conflicting signals from various sensory inputs, causing a sense of disorientation and dizziness.

Odors and Temperature:

Unpleasant odors from vehicle exhaust and changes in temperature inside the car also contribute to dog car sickness.

Stress and Anxiety:

Psychological stress and anxiety while traveling can also increase the risk of car sickness in dogs.

Additionally, factors such as age, breed, health status, as well as previous travel experiences, also influence a dog's susceptibility to car sickness.

Preventing Dog Car Sickness

To reduce the risk of dog car sickness, pet owners can implement the following measures:

Prepare the vehicle for the journey

  • Regularly cleaning and cooling it to minimize unpleasant odors and maintain a comfortable temperature for the dog.
  • Open windows to increase airflow and freshness inside the car.

  • Drive at a moderate speed and avoid sudden braking.

  • Stop the car if the dog shows signs of discomfort.

Prepare for your dog 

  • Feeding a light meal before traveling to prevent a full stomach.
  • Limit water and food intake during the journey.

  • Use a leash or crate to keep the dog securely seated.

  • Carry tissues and waste bags in case of vomiting.

  • Use air conditioning or fans to keep the dog cool.

Training Techniques

  • Familiarize the dog with car travel from an early age.

  • Gradually increase the duration and distance of car rides.

  • Reward the dog for calm behavior in the car.

  • Take the dog for a walk before getting into the car to reduce stress.

Using Dietary Supplements or Medications

  • Administer specialized anti-motion sickness food before traveling.

  • Consult a veterinarian for anti-anxiety or anti-vomiting medication if necessary.

Managing Mild Cases of Dog Car Sickness

For mild cases of dog car sickness, characterized by symptoms such as lip licking and excessive drooling, you can try the following simple remedies:

  1. Open the car window and encourage deep breathing to increase airflow and calm the dog.

  2. Offer the dog water and apply cold compresses to the head and neck to alleviate discomfort.

  3. Take regular breaks to allow the dog to relax and relieve symptoms.

dog car sickness

Dealing with Severe Cases of Dog Car Sickness

In severe cases of dog car sickness, with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or uncontrolled bowel movements, immediate and effective measures are necessary:

  1. Stop the car immediately when the dog starts feeling nauseous to prevent vomiting from spreading throughout the car.

  2. Take the dog outside to relieve them from the uncomfortable environment.

  3. Use waste bags or tissues to clean up vomit from the car.

  4. Provide water and easily digestible food to replenish the dog's health.

  5. Consult a veterinarian if the dog's car sickness persists or worsens for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Preventive Medications for Dog Car Sickness

To help dogs avoid car sickness, consider using various anti-motion sickness medications, including:

  • Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine): A common over-the-counter motion sickness medication for dogs, it alleviates nausea and dizziness.

  • Meclizine (Antivert): A histamine antagonist that prevents motion sickness and dizziness.

  • Cerenia: A potent anti-nausea medication suitable for severe cases of dog car sickness.

  • Benadryl: An antihistamine and anti-anxiety medication that reduces stress and tension during car rides.

  • Probiotics: Supplementing with beneficial probiotics helps balance the digestive system and reduces the risk of car sickness.

However, always consult a veterinarian to choose the appropriate medication and dosage for your dog.

medicine for dog car sickness

Tips for Safe Dog Travel

When traveling with your dog by car, consider the following tips to ensure safety, comfort, and minimize car sickness:

  • Avoid feeding your dog excessively or giving them too much water before the journey.

  • Keep the dog restrained in a safe position inside the car.

  • Avoid exposing the dog to stressful or anxious situations before getting into the car.

  • Drive at a moderate and steady pace when your dog is onboard.

  • Never leave your dog inside the car in extreme temperatures.

If you're planning a trip with your furry companion, consider these tips to ensure a pleasant and enjoyable journey! You can refer to the suggestions provided by Furry® in this article for a hassle-free and comfortable car ride.


These are the insights into dog car sickness along with preventive measures and remedies. Caring for and addressing car sickness in dogs not only ensures their comfort during car rides but also guarantees the safety and well-being of the entire family. Keep these points in mind to make your dog's car journey as smooth and comfortable as possible!

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