Doggy motion sickness can happen anytime — even during the shortest of car rides. Just like how children are more likely to be affected by motion sickness than adults, the same goes for puppies and younger canines.
Younger pups tend to experience motion sickness because the ear structures (responsible for balance) are not yet fully developed. This results in them being unable to balance themselves during car rides and can easily lead to nausea. Some pooches outgrow motion sickness, but others may not.
If your pooch had been nauseous during the first few car rides of his life, he may start associating car rides with a feeling of queasiness, and that could lead to him throwing up each time he goes for a ride. Carsickness may also be triggered by stress, so if your pup is only ever in the car to go to the vet’s, he may end up puking.
Signs To Look For
Here are a few ways to tell if your pup has motion sickness:
Smacking or licking of lips
Listlessness or inactivity
The best way to prevent motion sickness is to ensure that your pup has a comfortable car ride throughout. Try lowering the windows in your car by a couple of inches. This helps to balance the air pressure inside the car with the air pressure outside, helping to reduce your pup’s nausea and discomfort. Also, do keep your car cool and well-ventilated as a stuffy vehicle can make your pup feel uncomfortable.
If your pooch has associated car rides with stress, try these tips:
Take super short car trips to his favourite places like the park or the beach.
Slowly build your pup’s tolerance for car rides. You can do this by getting your pooch used to approaching the car, then hop in with him and spend some time in the car (while the engine is switched off, and with the windows down to ensure proper ventilation). When Fido looks like he’s ready, start the engine and drive around your neighbourhood to build a tolerance.
You can use treats to make the car a fun place, but be careful not to overfeed as this might cause him to throw up.
- Buy special toys to keep in the car, so that your pup can only access and play with it during car rides.
*This article was updated on 5 Aug 2020. It first appeared in PetsMagazine.com on 30 Sept 2016.