Traveling with pets can be a challenge. Is your dog scared of getting inside the car? Even if you manage to get your dog inside the car, does it pant a lot, feels unsettled, or vomits? Many dogs suffer from anxiety and sickness while traveling in a car. In this post, we’ll discuss some effective ways to manage and alleviate car sickness in dogs.

These symptoms can cause unnecessary stress for your dog and ruin your trip. In this article, we will talk about some of the reasons why your dog might feel anxious in the car. We will also tell you a few ways to reduce car sickness in dogs.

Traveling with Pets: Causes for Your Dog’s Car Sickness

These are some of the reasons why your dog might feel scared or anxious in the car.

  • Many dog parents only take their dogs in a car when they are going to see a vet. Vet visits are often stressful incidents for dogs. If your dog feels that it gets a car ride only to visit a veterinary doctor it might not want to get inside the car or feel anxious when it is in it. 
  • Some puppies become nauseous due to the sideways movement of the vehicle. The car movement affects them because the inner parts of their ears are still developing. Older dogs might not get affected by the movement of the car. Puppies that are affected by the car’s sideway motions tend to vomit, whine, or pant excessively. 
  • Some car engines can be too noisy for the sensitive ears of a dog, which causes them to feel anxious. These dogs will try to show signs of anxiety by pawing on the ears or rubbing them against the car seat.
  • Your dog might have had a traumatic experience in the past that involved a car. Maybe it was left alone inside. Or it might have gotten scolded harshly for vomiting or scratching inside a vehicle.

traveling with petsPrevention of Car Sickness in Dogs

Dogs can be trained to like car rides if you associate fun-filled memories with the vehicle. However, you should always go slow with the training and try to follow your dog’s pace instead of your own. If you lose patience while training your dog, it might do more harm. 

  • If your dog has never been in a car, you can train it to get used to being inside the car. Start by letting your dog feel comfortable outside and inside the vehicle. Although the backseat is preferable for your dog, If your dog has motion sickness in the car you should put it in the front seat.
  • When you are training your dog to feel comfortable inside the car use verbal praises and treats. Try to take each step of the training slowly, such as opening the door, seating your dog, starting the engine, and driving.
  • If you do not want your dog to feel sick in the car, you can give it preventive medicine. There are several medicines available on sites like that you can use without a prescription. Or you can ask your vet to prescribe a preventive medication for your dog.
  • If your dog hates getting inside the car because of previous trauma, it might take a bit longer to train your dog. Remember that you will have to change your dog’s negative feelings into positive ones, so reward each step it takes towards your car with treats or verbal praises. Do not be impatient, scold, or punish your dog.
  • Do not make the first trip on the car a stressful one. Instead, take your dog to a place that it loves to visit.
  • Keep something that your dog feels comfortable around, such as a cushion or a blanket in the backseat. You can also keep your dog’s favorite toy or some treats. Puzzles and toys are great ways to keep your dog occupied during the car ride.
  • If you need to place a harness on a dog, make sure you put one that your dog is comfortable with, otherwise, it can make the anxiety worse.
  • Do not roll up the windows all the way. Instead, keep them down a few inches to allow the circulation of pressure inside your car. If your dog wants to put its head outside, do not restrain it unless it feels sick or nauseous.
  • Try not to feed your dog before your trip. You should also avoid a lot of exercise or playtime before the trip. 
  • You can use natural remedies like pheromones to reduce your dogs and anxiety. Pheromones are available at pet stores, and they tend to calm female dogs.


Your dog can be a perfect companion to bring along on a road trip. However, it can be problematic if your dog does not feel comfortable inside the car. You can try the methods we discussed in this article to teach your dog to love car rides so that it can explore some new places with you.

Looking for more tips for traveling with pets? Read our article about pet-friendly hotels, our post about pet-friendly getaways near NYC, or our dog-friendly activities in NYC and beyond…