The following question comes from one of our valued clients about car sickness in dogs:
I do have one question that I really need help with. I just finished watching the part on the video about socializing my dog and I thought that just maybe you can help me with this problem. My puppy is a potcake, 5 months old, and was born in Freeport, Bahamas. I don’t know if it was the trip to Georgia (by plane??) or some other reason, but my puppy gets sick every time he goes for a ride in the car. The major drooling starts first and by the time he has a Santa beard of drool, he throws up. The last trip I gave him Dramamine and he didn’t throw up on the way back, but the back of my car was soaking wet. I just retired and I had visions of traveling with him. I want to go to Petsmart and take him with me to socialize him, but it is so traumatic for him. I’ve sat in the back with him and given him treats or played with him (without driving!!!) and it’s like Pavlov’s dogs – he drools and his ears lower. Is there anything you can suggest I do to help him? In the past, taking my dog with me just around town has helped to strengthen our bond and that is what I envisioned this time. Never thought about a dog that hates the car. Help!
Car Sickness In Dogs- Solutions
Car sickness in dogs is not uncommon. It’s a challenge I’ve dealt with many times with many of our clients. The video below gives some ideas for solutions:
- Everything with the car should be obedience related. Dogs have one track minds so keeping the focus on you through obedience helps keep the dog’s mind off of the impending doom of the car.
- Play the ‘car game’. Have your dog jump in the car for a treat and then allow the dog out. Getting in the car, for a car sick dog, is a big stress trigger. You want to desensitize that trigger by helping the dog realize that not every time he gets in the car results in a trip.
- Desensitize your exit triggers. Note the things that you do before ever going to the car and do those more often to ‘trick’ your dog into getting over the beginning of the stress.
- Plan out your trips so that you can fast the dog before going in the car.
- Drugs like dramamine can have their place but those don’t do anything to alter the mental state of the dog. That happens through training.
Car Sickness In Dogs- Prevention
You can often prevent car sickness in dogs by having your pup ride in a crate in the car, giving your dog fun experiences in the car from a young age, and associating treats with the car.
Best of luck, happy training.