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Car sickness in dogs

If your dog suffers from travel or motion sickness it could be due to a number of reasons. Here's what you need to know and how to treat it successfully.

Border terriers

A car sick dog is miserable and the condition can be caused by different factors. It may not be due to motion.

For many puppies their first experience of travel sickness may be associated with unpleasantness, such as leaving his/her litter mates for the first time, or with a trip to the vets for their first vaccination.

This needs careful handling to prevent it becoming a type of phobia.  When a young gun dog produces lots of saliva this will always result in vomiting.

Pleasant car journeys for puppies

Young gun dogs must be conditioned to associate all travelling with pleasantness.

Start off by putting the dog box on the lawn or the floor inside and encourage puppies and young gun dogs to jump in and out of the dog box. Give them treats when they have done this.

When they’re very familiar with the gun dog box, put it inside your vehicle. Start off by just doing very short trips, preferably on straight roads – a few minutes maximum – with the young dog inside, checking that there is no discomfort or uneasiness in the dog.

Over time, increase the travelling distance, always making sure the dogs are not apprehensive or nervous. It’s best not to start this training during a heatwave!

A travelling box with solid sides will stop the dogs from looking out, which also helps to prevent motion sickness.

Always keep the journey as stress free as possible with no loud music, shouting, and no treats.

Avoiding dog car sickness

Make sure there is plenty of ventilation in the car to keep the dogs cool

Car sick dog prevention

  • A dog box in summer can get very hot so ensure there is plenty of ventilation circulating through the vehicle to keep the dogs cool.
  • Some dogs do better when they are prevented from seeing out and there is less swaying movement on the floor in the front. So if it’s safe, try putting the dog in the passenger footwell to see if this makes a difference.
  • Avoid feeding your gundog immediately before travelling.
  • Make sure that your dog gets access to water regularly on a long trip.
  • Stop en-route often for the dog to exercise and get some fresh air.
  • For longer, essential journeys, ask your vet for some motion sickness tablets or a sedative.
  • Be equipped and ready with a large towel and baby wipes.
  • Don’t get angry with your dog if it is sick, as this will cause even more distress.
  • Most young gun dogs do grow out of being car sick dogs once their training starts regularly and then trips to shooting days become more enjoyable for all.