How do you calm an anxious dog when traveling? What to Know

Tips for How to Cure Dog Car Anxiety

If you want to help reduce your dogs travel anxiety, here are a few precautions you can take to help him stay calm.

How can I tell if my dog has carsickness?

Your dog will respond well to medication if she has true carsickness. While vomiting in the car is commonly called carsickness or motion sickness, true carsickness results from an inner ear problem; consult your veterinarian about the specific medicine and dosage to try.

If your dog is prone to carsickness, avoid feeding her for a couple of hours before your trip. She may still get queasy in the car, but you’ll at least avoid cleaning up a mess. If you’re taking her on a long car trip, smaller treats given at well-timed intervals in lieu of a large meal before travel will help keep her sated enough for comfort over the long haul. (And this is not the time to experiment with new treats—stick with the tried and true.)

For many dogs, though, vomiting in the car is an expression of dread and fear of travel; motion sickness medicines won’t help these dogs. Some routinely react to car travel this way, others grow out of it as they become more accustomed to it.

Why does my dog have car anxiety?

A dog’s anxiety may be less about the car itself and more about the destination, particularly when the journey always ends at the vet’s, the groomer’s, or a boarding facility. Or something specific might trigger her anxiety, for example, the sound the car makes when you drive over rumble strips.

And sometimes dogs anticipate travel with anxiety because they’ve learned it will make them sick—in other words, they suffer from true motion sickness, which in turn makes them anxious about traveling in the car. But this is rare—there is usually another underlying reason for dog anxiety.

How to Alleviate Dog Car Anxiety