Motion Sickness in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions

Motion sickness is not limited to humans—it can affect our canine companions too. If your dog becomes nauseous or anxious during car rides or other forms of transportation, they may be experiencing motion sickness. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and solutions for motion sickness in dogs.

Causes of Motion Sickness in Dogs:

  1. Inner Ear Imbalance: Just like humans, dogs have an inner ear structure responsible for maintaining balance. When the motion-sensing mechanisms in their inner ear are disrupted, it can lead to motion sickness.
  2. Stress and Anxiety: Dogs that experience stress or anxiety related to travel can be more prone to motion sickness. The combination of stress and the motion of the vehicle can trigger nausea and discomfort.
  3. Developmental Factors: Puppies are more susceptible to motion sickness due to their immature ear structures and lack of exposure to various types of motion.

Symptoms of Motion Sickness in Dogs:

  1. Nausea: Look for signs of drooling, excessive swallowing, or vomiting during or after car rides or other forms of motion.
  2. Restlessness and Anxiety: Dogs with motion sickness may display signs of restlessness, panting, or pacing.
  3. Loss of Appetite: Some dogs may experience a decreased appetite or refuse to eat before or after travel.
  4. Excessive Salivation: Excessive drooling is a common symptom of motion sickness in dogs.
  5. Lethargy: Dogs may appear tired or drowsy during or after travel due to the discomfort of motion sickness.

Tips to Manage Motion Sickness in Dogs:

  1. Gradual Exposure: Gradually expose your dog to short car rides or other forms of motion, allowing them to acclimate and build tolerance over time.
  2. Crate Training: Using a well-ventilated crate or carrier can help dogs feel more secure and prevent excessive movement during travel.
  3. Proper Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation in the vehicle by opening windows slightly or using fans to circulate air, reducing feelings of nausea.
  4. Restrict Food Intake: Avoid feeding your dog a large meal before traveling. Instead, provide a light snack a few hours before departure.
  5. Medications and Supplements: Consult with your veterinarian about medications or natural remedies that can help alleviate motion sickness symptoms in your dog.

Preventing Motion Sickness in Dogs:

  1. Desensitization: Gradually exposing your dog to different types of motion, such as car rides or short boat trips, from a young age can help prevent motion sickness.
  2. Positive Association: Create a positive association with travel by providing treats, toys, or praise during and after trips.
  3. Calming Techniques: Utilize calming techniques such as playing soothing music, using pheromone sprays, or utilizing anxiety-reducing products like Thundershirts.
  4. Professional Guidance: If your dog’s motion sickness is severe or persists despite attempts to manage it, consult with a veterinarian or professional dog trainer for additional guidance.


Motion sickness can make traveling stressful for both you and your dog. By understanding the causes, recognizing the symptoms, and implementing the appropriate strategies, you can help alleviate your dog’s motion sickness and ensure a more enjoyable travel experience for everyone involved. Remember to consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance based on your dog’s specific needs.

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