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dog car sickness and travel


Travelling in the car can be a very stressful event for your dog/s, especially if they know you might be taking them to the veterinary hospital. Fortunately there are lots you can do to help your dog cope with car travel. 

The above video explains signs of travel sickness or anxiety in dogs and what you can do to help reduce travel related problems:

Fortunately there are lots of things you can do to help your dog cope with car travel: first check the following signs of anxiety sickness and then follow the advice below.  

Signs of dog car travel anxiety and sickness

Despite 90% of pet owners stating their dog travels well in the car, 10-25% of dogs display signs of stress related and sickness behaviours in the car, including:

  • Agitation
  • Panting
  • Salivating excessively
  • Trembling
  • Vomiting
  • Barking
  • Whining
  • Urinating/soiling
  • Attempting to escape

Reducing your dog’s stress levels will, in most cases, help to reduce the symptoms of travel anxiety and sickness too.

How to reduce or prevent your dogs car travel stress or illness

Desensitisation is the key to car training and is done prior to anticipated travel as follows:


Place an Adaptil Collar* on your dog.


Begin by teaching your dog to sit calmly in the car while the car is stationary.


Use treats with quiet praise and calm play to get your dog to associate the car with good things.


Keep sessions short. This allows your dog to become comfortable with the car before proceeding to the next step.


The next step is to encourage the dog to get into the car with the engine running, again using treats and praise.


Once your dog is happy and calm in the car, start taking them on short trips with each successful trip getting progressively longer but always interspersed with shorter ones.


Consider using a travel cage or carrier, to provide reassurance.


If you don’t use a cage or a carrier, consider using a leash or a harness to attach to the car seat belt, to restrain your dog for safety reasons. These will allow the dog to sit or lie down and also prevent them from moving around in the vehicle.


On the day of travel, only feed a light meal (do not limit water).


Keep the vehicle well ventilated and never leave your dog unattended in the car.

Allow your dog to exercise and toilet every 2 hours.

*The use of Adaptil has been clinically proven to help reduce the dog signs of stress in this process and makes it a positive learning experience, making it quicker and easier for all. There are different formulations of Adaptil available. Speak to your vet to determine which formulation may be more suitable. 

WE RECOMMEND: Adaptil Spray or Collar

Adaptil Collar

Adaptil Collar large

The Adaptil Collar is easy to use and convenient as it releases the dog appeasing pheromone constantly (even when the dog...