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Dogs riding in vehicles

If you have a 4 legged companion that hates riding in the car, there are some things you can do to help ease the stress and anxiety of the dreaded car ride.

There are 2 major reasons dogs have difficulties riding in a car: motion sickness and fear.

Signs your dog has issues riding in a vehicle include: drooling, vomiting, pacing, increased panting, urinating and defecating.

Puppies tend to get motion sickness more easily than adult dogs.

Limiting food and water a couple of hours prior to a trip can lessen the amount of mess you might have to clean up later. Also, give your dog enough time to do their “business” in their normal bathroom location before trying to get them in the vehicle.

Remember to allow fresh, cool air inside your vehicle to help keep your dog comfortable.

Both motion sickness and fear-related car issues can be adjusted, it will just take gentle, consistent handling and patience on your part. First, get your dog used to being outside around your vehicle with the engine off. Reward your dog when they approach it. Once they are comfortable being around the outside of the vehicle, open the door and allow them to approach/ get into it themselves. Don’t try to force them inside, that can add fear to the situation and prolong the adjustment period. After they are used to sitting / laying down inside the vehicle with the engine off, turn the vehicle on. Allow them to get comfortable with praise by being calm inside the running vehicle. Continue the process with taking very short trips (down a long driveway or around the block). Gradually, increase the length of car rides. Make sure to take them happy places during the car rides to promote positive reinforcement results.

Other helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • if your dog is used to a crate, have a crate inside the vehicle to recreate their “safezone”.
  • Don’t play loud music in the vehicle. Louder music can add stress to the situation.
  • Never allow your dog to ride in the back of an open pick-up truck.

If you have tried all these steps and your dog still has motion sickness, there are prescription medications to help with it. Setting up an appointment with us and having a discussion about what is happening before, during and after car rides will allow us to recommend the best solution for you and your pet.

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Thank you for your understanding and patience.