Car-Sick Dog?

Five tips to help ease your dog’s anxiety during car rides.


Many owners find it necessary to travel with their pets. Whether it is a long cross-country trip or simply a short and quick trip to the veterinarian's office for a checkup, inevitably pets need to become accustomed to traveling. Although most pets travel without incident, there are a number of pets that do not travel well. These pets get nervous and or anxious during the entire trip; others get car sick and vomit or eliminate in the car or carrier during the trip. Conventional medications can help sometimes, but a more natural approach devoid of side effects is preferred.

Here are five tips to make traveling with your pet easier for you and your dog:
1. A few drops of a calming essential oil such as lavender chamomile placed on a cotton ball in the car 30 minutes before the trip may help calm the pet during the ride.

2. Pheromones such as DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) can be used to reduce your dog’s anxiety during car trips.

3. Herbal and nutritional remedies can also be helpful in reducing anxiety in dogs who do not like to travel in the car. Composure liquid made by VetriScience contains B vitamins, a milk protein hydrolysate, lecithin, and L-Theanine. This unique combination of natural calming ingredients is easily administered to dogs in a palatable liquid. Nutricalm, made by RX Vitamins for Pets, contains several herbs known for reducing anxiety in pets, including valerian root, ashwaganda, catnip, and kava kava,plus L-tryptophan, an amino acid known to induce restfulness.

4. Flower essences, alcoholic extracts of flowers, are well-known for reducing mild anxiety in many pets. One of the more commonly prescribed remedies is called Rescue Remedy, a mixture of five flower essences, made by the Bach company. Simply administering a few drops of the product to the dog during the trip, and when arriving at the desired destination, can help many pets suffering from mild anxiety

5. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is important to train your pet to accept rides in the car as a normal pleasant event. A dog trainer can offer help with this behavior modification.

Want to read more about natural and holistic healthcare? Check out the Natural Health Solutions column by Shawn Messonnier, DVM, in every issue of Dog World magazine.


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Mandy   Decatur, GA

4/4/2010 9:43:07 AM


My chocolate lab gets car sick after a few minutes ride. I heard very good things about the antistatic straps. Where can I order



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Phillis   Chatam, MA

12/8/2009 9:23:19 PM

Over 20 years ago I had a large, very carsick dog. A friend of mine introduced me to the static strap, a necessity for him as he traveled so much with show


For the past 2 weeks I have been searching for another one - to no a - until I found you. I am thrilled, for now I shall have the freedom of being able to travel with my new puppy and not have to leave him

I highly recommend the Mizter anti static strap to anyone and everyone who has the misfortune of having a carsick dog. Ii transforms the lives of both owner and dog to happy one

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Cathy   Morgan Hill, CA

10/28/2009 4:14:36 PM

My dog loves to ride in the car and is never nervious but he still gets sick. We live up on a Mountain so I think the turns are what bother him. He sometimes makes it all the way down but never makes it back up the hill. Do you have any suggestions. He is a small Jack
Thanks Much

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John-Henry   Reston, VA

3/11/2009 1:40:20 PM

Another tip is to use an anxiety garment such as the DogLeggs Surgi-Sox Torso. It is well known that placing a close fitting garment on most nervous or anxious dog calms them down, similar to swaddling an infant. One of the explanations of this effect is that dogs do not have a sense of their body boundaries and placing an anxiety garment on the dog helps them to "know their edges" and can help prevent car sickness.

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