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4 min read

How to Prevent Dogs From Vomiting in the Car


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As a responsible and caring pet owner, you know that one of the greatest joys of canine ownership comes from including Fido in your daily routine and experiences. From a quick trick to the hardware store to a car ride to your local park, automobile transportation is an important activity for both you and your pooch. Add in longer road trips home or to exotic locales and you can see how a bout of motion sickness, either for you or your canine, can put a serious damper on enjoying quality R&R with your pet.

When your dog is uncomfortable riding in a vehicle they will often vomit, causing a stressful scenario for you and your pooch. Vomiting for your dog often is associated with numerous unpleasant bodily reactions along with uncertainty regarding whether their human will be upset regarding their action. For humans, vomit in cars can lead to huge messes and monetary consequences, especially if renting or traveling in someone else’s vehicle. Fortunately, there are a number of preventative measures that can be taken to prevent dog vomiting in cars, helping to make travel for both you and your canine a more pleasant and relaxing experience.

Causes and Prevention of Vomiting in the Car

Inner Ear Development

Just as some humans are more prone to car sickness, so can certain dogs suffer this condition disproportionately. As your puppy grows various structures in the inner ear continue to grow and develop. The inner ear is responsible for helping maintain balance and equilibrium. If your puppy has a problem with car sickness, they may grow out of it as their ear structure changes as they age.

To help young puppies maintain balance and equilibrium, ensure that they have the ability to look out windows and be engaged with the scenery. Providing visual stimulation is a great distraction as well as focal points to help maintain visual balance and point of reference. Consider using specially designed car window grates to allow access to open air and passing scenery while keeping your pooch safe and sound in the car.


While commercials and movies are chock full of examples of dogs enjoying themselves, head hanging out the window, the truth is that new situations are stressful for pooches. Until your dog has learned how much fun going for a car ride can be they can often be stressed and nervous about a new situation. Nerves frequently lead to stomach upset for your dog which can result in vomiting in the car during rides.

Help make car rides a fun and non-stressful experience for your pet by slowly adjusting new dogs to the concept before undertaking long adventures. Start with letting your dog hop into the car while stationary, being sure to provide plenty of treats and praise. After Fido has become comfortable, begin with short rides around the block advancing slowly to trips to the local pet center, park or other positive experiences. If your dog learns to only associate car trips with veterinary visits to get poked and prodded it can be difficult to develop excitement and calmness so be sure to keep things happy, upbeat and fun.

Improper Feeding and Watering

One of the other main contributing factors to your dog vomiting in the car is improper timing by pet owners when it comes to feeding and watering before a big car ride adventure. Sometimes it may be impractical to acclimate your dog beforehand. Nervous car-riding dogs may need urgent veterinary care or maybe you and your four-legged family member are going on a lengthy trip or move. Regardless of your dog’s comfort level in the car, feeding a large meal, unusual food or allowing access to large amounts of water can create a recipe for disaster when it comes to your dog vomiting in the car.

Prior to any big trip consider withholding food for 6-8 hours before. This will ensure your dog has an empty stomach for the ride and can help prevent vomiting. Clean, fresh water should be provided but in limited quantities until you’ve reached your destination. Consider making frequent stops along the route for a small drink of water and perhaps a dog cookie or two to hold your pooch over. This will serve double duty in helping build excitement as your dog gets to check out new smells and sites along the way.

Importance and Effects of Prevention

Taking preventative steps towards reducing or eliminating your dog vomiting in the car is an important part of good dog ownership. It can take hours to several days after a vomiting incident for your pooch’s stomach to get back to normal. In addition, each incident of vomiting in the car may increase the chances of Fido developing a negative association with car rides, which puts a serious damper on future adventures.



Whatever your dog’s reason for vomiting, know that both they and you feel the stress and frustration. Upset stomachs can put a big damper on otherwise happy vacations and trips, causing undue stress on both you and your pooch. With a few small steps and a little bit of preparation, you and your dog can stop worrying about the ride and enjoy the adventure together along the way.

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