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Car sick dog on floorboard of car

Car Sickness in Dogs – Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions

Pet owners are highly sensitive about their pets and try their best to make them comfortable. But everyone needs to ride a vehicle once in a while. It may be a quick grocery trip, visiting your pet’s vet, or some other job. Hence, traveling is more like a necessity. Dogs are susceptible to motion sickness despite their enthusiasm for different activities. Car sickness in dogs is a common phenomenon but has no fatal effects.  However, a motion-sick dog can make your trip unpleasant and likely cause inconvenience for other passengers as well. This all-encompassing guide on motion sickness in dogs talks about all the essential facts related to the topic. 

What Exactly is Car Sickness in Dogs?

Although the term is self-explanatory, there is more to it. Similar to humans, motion sickness is typically exhibited in puppies. The issue relates to the sense of balance where your pet feels like they are moving rigorously. The main reason for it is the under-development of the inner ear component, which is responsible for balancing the body. 

Dogs can also suffer from higher degrees of car anxiety and may see the trip as traumatic. Therefore, it is essential to take the appropriate prevention steps. Sometimes older dogs also exhibit motion sickness. And the common reasons are the unfamiliarity of traveling or stress.

Symptoms Of Car Sickness in Dogs

Suffering from motion sickness is not hazardous. However, a discomforted dog may stress an enjoyable trip which causes inconvenience for everyone around. In addition to the sensory movement disturbance, your dog may also exhibit the following:

What Causes Motion Sickness in Your Pets?

Motion sickness is a prevalent pet condition. However, the exact reason differs for each pet. One primary reason for car sickness in dogs is the underdeveloped stage of the inner ear component. That is why you’ll mostly observe puppies less than a year old exhibiting this sickness. In this case, your dog will outgrow the issue in a year or so. 

In addition to age, stress or an unpleasant experience may cause motion sickness. Maybe your pet experienced some unpleasant conditions during their first ride, affecting subsequent travels. Or, your pet may also have an ear infection which may disturb their sensory systems.

7 Remedies to Prevent Car Sickness in Dogs

The occurrence of the phenomenon is certain. Especially if you have a puppy less than a year old, however, there are some remedies you can practice to ease your pet’s suffering. 

  1. Pet your dog and sit with them for a while before the trip so they develop confidence. 
  2. Put drops of lavender oil on a cotton ball and place them in your car for a soothing aroma. 
  3. Seat your dog in a middle seat, making them face towards the front because seeing the world rush by causes nausea. You can use a doggie belt to increase the safety of the seat.
  4. Lowering the car windows for a balanced supply of fresh air will also reduce the vomiting sensation. 
  5. Restricting food access is also a great remedy to prevent car sickness in dogs, especially when you have longer trips. Try to make a gap of 12 hours before the travel. However, don’t cut off fresh water for your dog. 
  6. You can also bring a toy or your dog’s favorite blanket to remind them of home. 
  7. Regular traveling sessions can also help your dog overcome the sickness. Begin by seating the pup in the car for a few minutes every day, don’t start the car for the first few days. 

When you observe some improvement, start the car with the pup seated and drive for some time. You can drive up and down the street close to the home. Seeing their home will keep the pup at ease. Gradually increase the driving time. You can drive your dog to a park, a playmate’s house, or another place they like. You can also create a treat for them, like playing catch after the trip, going for a walk, etc.  

Additionally, it is a good idea to bring a towel to put under them for easy clean up. 

Dramamine for Dogs – Motion Sickness Medication

You can always try medications if nothing from the abovementioned remedies works for your pup. Dramamine is a popular antihistamine that prevents nausea and car sickness in dogs. It also works as a soothing agent to reduce itchiness in allergic conditions. 

You can find Dramamine tablets pretty easily at pharmacy stores like CVS or Walgreens.  There are two types of Dramamine to be aware of, dimenhydrinate or meclizine. The dosages are dependent on which type you have.  If the dramamine has meclizine in it, the dosage is 25 mg once a day. Otherwise dramamine without meclizine is 2-4 mg per lb. Be careful if you find ginger in the products as the concentration may be too high for a dog.  It is advisable to err on the lower dosage range to be safe.  

Other natural chemical compounds which aid nausea and vomiting are CBD and CBDA. They are readily available for pets in Pet CBD products and you can mix them with your dog’s favorite food.  They are also available in treat form which makes administration very easy. 

CBD (cannabidiol) is a trusted remedy for many pets.  However, finding the right formula may take some research. All Paws Essentials has developed some of the best CBD treats and oils for pet anxiety. Our Trinity Blend formula has both CBD and CBDa which is hard to find.  Our CBD treats for dogs are also sought after and can be given to the pickiest pets. 


Car sickness in dogs is not a red-alert issue. The common causes of the sickness are underdeveloped ear components, traumatic experiences, or unfamiliarity with traveling. However, in some rare cases, motion sickness is also caused due to ear infections.

If your pet is medically fit, the remediation guide above will help you cure its motion sickness. Taking your pet for a drive every day builds up their confidence. Although younger pups outgrow the problem after 12 months, the sessions still help. 

But if you are low on time, you can also purchase anxiety medications. If you want a more natural approach, CBD and CBDA are the most common solutions for pet anxiety, nausea and stress.

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