Dog & Puppy Car Sickness
Dog & Puppy car sickness is a common problem
and one that can be very frustrating for their owners. It generally starts as a puppy and gets worse if not addressed properly. It can start innocently from a variety of early negative experiences associated with the car such as an unpleasant visit to the vet or a visit to the groomers that was really scary. Puppies do not have good balance so if they become fearful early on this can lead to anxiety, drooling, nausea and even vomiting. Once the symptoms start then just getting into the car can trigger a negative response which leads to sickness. Being aware of how dogs develop carsickness can help you prevent the condition from happening by making sure that trips in the car are short and positive. If you already have the problem then you will need to back up and start over by turning the car into something positive. The condition can be reversed so take heart.
The first step to treating dog & puppy car sickness is to use a travel crate without bedding. This will ensure that your dog does not vomit all over your car and if your dog does get sick it will be easy to clean up. Secondly, make sure that you keep your dog from eating or drinking for at least a couple of hours before traveling. To begin the process of getting your dog used to riding in a car you simply bring the dog out to the vehicle, put him in it and then take him out, without the car running. You can repeat this routine of in and out a few times before moving on to closing the car door.
The next step to treating dog & puppy car sickness will be getting your dog into the crate (note: your dog should already be used to getting into it’s crate), closing the door and then going to the driver’s seat as if you are going to drive, but not turning the engine on. This should be repeated several times. If your dog is getting sick before you can go beyond this point then back up and repeat the process to the point that your dog was not getting sick. After you have succeeded in getting to this last point you can now make the big move, starting the car. Once the dog is in its crate you can move to the driver’s seat and start the car. If your dog is doing fine at this point shift into drive, then reverse and then back to into drive again. Do not immediately drive off. Take your time when doing these exercises and do not rush them. It may take a couple of days or even a week or so to get through all of the steps. If you have a problem always take a step back to where you last succeeded.
Now that you have been able to get in and out of the car without trouble you can start the actual driving. Your first ride will be to go to the end of the driveway or just a couple of car lengths down the road. Park the car, get out and walk the dog back to your house. After about 30- 60 minutes go back to the car, load up the dog and drive back to the house. This should provide you with two very short trips without getting sick. Once you can drive this short distance successfully then increase the distance a little at a time. Maybe you will go to the end of the block or just around the corner but no further.
As a few days go by you will slowly increase the distance you drive until you can go for a ride to wherever you need to go. Make sure you don’t try to go too far too fast or you could wind up setting your progress back. Each dog will adjust to the car ride in their own time. If you think your dog is not ready to go more than around the block, that’s ok. You can take as long as you need to get him adjusted to car rides that last longer than just a e minutes. Most dogs can eventually adjust to riding in the car without getting sick by just desensitizing to the car. There are a rare number of dogs who do not adjust well and then you might have to resort to medication which your veterinarian can advise you on.