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Why Is My Puppy Always Sick In The Car? (4 Causes)

  • Vet Approved Content

If you have a puppy that is always getting sick in the car, you are not alone. Dog owners worldwide struggle with nauseous pups each time the engine starts running, leading many to wonder why their furry friends are struggling so much. 

In this article, we will discuss the details of motion sickness in puppies and help you better understand how to offer them relief going forward!


Is It Normal For Puppies To Get Sick In The Car?

Getting sick in the car is a normal occurrence in our young canine friends. Dogs of all ages can experience nausea on road trips, but it’s even more common in puppies. 

Experts believe that due to the balance centers in a puppy’s ear not being fully developed, this can lead to an increased chance of nausea and motion sickness. This may also be why some puppies outgrow their car sickness by the time they reach 1 year of age. 

Multiple factors are at play when a puppy experiences car sickness, all of which are completely normal. So if your growing pup struggles each time they are in the car, you are not alone!

4 Main Causes Of Car Sickness In Puppies

So why do our puppies get sick on road trips? Ranging from motion sickness to stress, there are a few potential causes of car sickness in our canine friends. To help you better understand your queasy pup, let’s discuss the common factors below. 

  1. Motion Sickness
  2. Stress
  3. Eating Before The Ride
  4. Medical Conditions

1. Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is the most common cause of a nauseous pup in the car. Humans can get sick on extended road trips or boat rides, and our puppies are no different. 

Motion sickness in puppies can result from their underdeveloped balance centers, abnormal stimuli that come with a moving vehicle, or even bumps and turns that occur on the road. Each of these factors can be overwhelming for a puppy, causing their world to spin. 

This is especially common if your puppy is not used to going on car rides, as the vehicle’s motion and outside stimuli can be overwhelming for them. 

2. Stress

Stress is another common cause of car sickness in puppies. Stress and anxiety in dogs has been known to lead to vomiting and diarrhea in some furry friends, and this can be heightened when a dog feels like they are not in control. This is comparable to the pit you feel in your stomach when you are in an unknown or stressful situation yourself.

Our dogs can quickly become anxious when they step into our vehicles, especially if they are not used to going on car rides. A lack of exposure to car rides can cause a dog to become fearful of the unknown, leading to nausea and other forms of car sickness. 

Not only can a dog become sick in the car if they are not used to car travel, but they can experience stress if they associate car rides with stressful experiences. For example, if your dog heads to the vet every time they step into your car, they may become nauseous due to anxiety of what’s to come. 

3. Eating Before The Ride

Eating before a car ride can cause a puppy to experience motion sickness in many cases. This is comparable to why we know we shouldn’t eat before going on a rollercoaster, as the ride will likely shake up the contents of our stomachs. 

While the average road trip is nothing like a roller coaster, it can still increase the chances of car sickness in a dog with a full stomach. Some dogs even have to be fasted before road trips due to how severe their motion sickness is directly after eating.

4. Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions can increase the likelihood of car sickness in our canine friends. For example, conditions involving the ears can lead to severe motion sickness in many cases, whether your pup has chronic ear infections or vestibular disease. 

While most puppies will not be struggling with any chronic medical conditions, it’s always best to be aware of how illness can impact other areas of your dog’s life. If your puppy has been diagnosed with any kind of illness, we suggest asking if they may experience any forms of GI upset as a result. 

Signs Of Motion Sickness In Puppies

While we tend to think of vomiting when referring to motion sickness in puppies, there are other symptoms of this uncomfortable condition as well.

To help you better monitor your furry friend during your next road trip, let’s discuss the most common signs of motion sickness in puppies below. 

Some symptoms of car sickness in puppies include:

  • Sudden lethargic or “ill” appearance
  • Excessive drooling
  • Constantly licking their lips
  • Whining
  • Pacing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach gurgling
  • Wide-eyed appearance

If you notice any of these behaviors in your canine friend, it may be time to pull over and take your pup for a quick walk. This can help to relieve your dog’s discomfort at that moment and hopefully decrease the chance of them vomiting in your car. 

Are There Medications For Motion Sickness In Puppies?

An over-the-counter motion sickness medication called Dimenhydrinate can be used in our canine friends. Often found with the brand name Dramamine or Gravol, this medication can prevent nausea in pups that are prone to car sickness. 

While Dimenhydrinate is approved for use in dogs, you should always speak to your vet before offering this medication to your pup. This is especially true if your dog is under 6 months of age, as any medication use should be closely monitored in our younger canine friends. 

If you have a puppy that struggles throughout every car ride, it’s worth speaking to your vet about the use of Dimenhydrinate going forward. 

Can You Prevent Motion Sickness In Puppies?

If you know your pup gets sick on every car ride, you are likely looking for ways to prevent their motion sickness on your upcoming adventures.

While the best methods of prevention will vary based on your dog’s specific trigger, each of these tips can offer your pup some much-needed relief!

Some of the best ways to prevent motion sickness in your puppy include:

Desensitizing your puppy to car rides is one of the most effective ways to limit motion sickness going forward. Stress is a major cause of most car sickness episodes in our furry friends, and getting them used to being in the car can limit car anxiety. Try your best to take your dog on as many short road trips as possible, and make sure their only road trips are not associated with vet visits. 

Try not to scold or punish your dog for whining or barking in the car. This is often a result of their stress from being in the car, and yelling at them will only heighten their nerves. 

Avoid feeding your dog any food in the 2 hours leading up to their car ride. If your dog is especially prone to experiencing motion sickness, you may need to push this to 6 hours. 

Try your best to keep the car as cool as possible. If you are traveling with your pet on a hot day, try cooling off the vehicle before you let your pup in. 

If your dog is known to pace in the car, try purchasing a harness that holds them in place or keep them in a crate for the duration of the ride. This can help some pups feel more secure. 

Always bring along your pup’s favorite toys. This can help to keep them busy throughout the ride, as well as offer them a sense of comfort. 

If none of the above methods help in preventing your dog’s motion sickness, you may need to consider offering medications for motion sickness, as well as speaking with your vet about anti-anxiety options. 

Final Thoughts

Motion sickness is an uncomfortable condition that plagues many canine friends. Be sure to review the information that we discussed above, and you can better help your queasy puppy going forward!


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. For the FULL disclaimer Visit Here

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