Does your dog not like car journeys? 7 proven tips to prevent nausea, fear and vomiting

Hangai Lilla

2023. August 13 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Just like in humans, kinetosis or Locomotive syndrome, in dogs is related to the sense of balance. It is most common in puppies, because the structures in the inner ear used for balance are not yet fully developed. But unfortunately, as in humans, it is also possible for older dogs to suffer from kinetosis.


It is also possible that travel sickness is caused by anxiety about driving. For example, if a young dog has experienced kinetosis on its first few car journeys, it may later, despite being fully physically mature, continue to associate driving with bad experiences. Whatever the cause, every car journey need not be a tragedy. Here’s what you can do about it!

Make the journey comfortable and relaxing

Pay attention to what your pet sees! Looking out of the side of a window at a blurry landscape is not always pleasant, even for those who don’t mind travelling. Put your dog in the middle seat so he’s more likely to look ahead. We also recommend using a dog seat belt or harness to keep your pet stable.

Proper ventilation and cool air can also be a big help. If you can, lower the window a little or turn on the air circulation system. Be careful not to expose your dog directly to the air conditioning, though, as it can cause colds.

If possible, avoid eating for 12 hours before the trip, but if this is not feasible, reducing the food ration may help. Fresh water should be available to your pet without restriction, as in other cases.

Pack something that smells like home for the trip. This type of aromatherapy treatment is very effective not only for babies but also for dogs. A favourite toy, blanket or even your T-shirt can work. You can also give your dog a special toy that you only use on car trips. This not only distracts him, but makes him associate the car ride with positive things.

It is recommended to condition the puppy from the beginning

Prevention can also be very helpful in this case. If you can manage it, get yiur dog in the car from a very young age so that he becomes used to the terrain. Don’t drive anywhere, just look around, let him go exploring, smell everything. Praise and stroke your pet; you can even reinforce positive feelings with a few reward walls.

After a few days, you can start the car up so that not only the smells but also the sounds become familiar. You can even bring in toys to make the few minutes you’re inside a pleasant experience. If that goes well, you can pull out into the driveway later or drive it around the corner. Play, petting, cuddles and a nice atmosphere are still important. When you feel you’re ready, it’s a good idea to go on shorter trips, but first to places your dog will enjoy. Whether it’s a park, a run or a visit to a playmate.

Not every step may go smoothly, so be patient! If you feel the pace is fast, slow down a bit. The important thing is that neither you nor he gets nervous.

Preparations against travel sickness

If you don’t succeed with our previous tips, or only get a partial win, don’t think all is lost!

If you want to try natural remedies first, a lavender vaporizer can be a good way to reduce stress, but a pheromone calming spray or collar can also work. Ginger can reduce nausea, and CBD oil, gum or reward bites can also be effective in overcoming trauma.

If natural methods don’t help or are unsympathetic, you also have the option of anti-nausea and sedative medications. Be sure to consult your vet before trying any of these alternatives!

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