Teaching Your Dog To Ride in the Car

Hit the road with your dog while avoiding motion sickness and stress!

Riding in the car with your dog, with some, can be easy and effortless, while other dogs may have fear and anxiety surrounding it, but when you love your dog, you want to take them everywhere with you, even in the car.

Dogs may even jump right into the car and get excited to go for a ride, only to experience motion sickness and vomiting a couple of miles down the road.

If you don’t have a first-rate passenger, The Vet Set can help! Get some tried and true tricks that can better acclimate your dog to riding in the car.

Creating a Love For the Car

If you’ve adopted a dog, they may have past traumas from riding in the car. The car only meant they were going to the vet or perhaps they were even involved in an accident. Puppies, on the other hand, may not be triggered in the same way as dogs, but some may have an aversion to them.

The best way to help dogs and puppies love riding in the car is to replace any bad experiences, with new and positive ones — teach them that good things happen in the car.

Gradually introduce your dog to the car, this may look like popping up the back door and hanging out in it for a bit. Give your dog lots of attention (safely) when they’re in the car. It’s important to figure out what’s most comfortable for them, and this will likely come through trial and error. If they’re calm, many dogs like to be close to you and will sit in the front seat, but for their safety, it’s important to be buckled in a seat belt or crated in the back.

Once your dog finds a good place to settle, you can then transition by driving down the road to a gas station or to a nearby park to play. The gas station is neutral, while the park creates a positive reward. You can also create a series of small stops, and between each stop, you can give them treats, rubs, and their favorite toy. Keep an eye out that your dog is relaxed at each stop, if they begin to look nervous or stressed, you may want to wait until it passes. Go for a quick stroll or do some roadside trick training to help get their mind elsewhere.

While you’re beginning to build good experiences in the car, it’s important to keep more stressful rides such as those to the vet or to the groomers few and far between. If you do have to go, always make sure you have toys and treats around.

Motion Sickness in Dogs

Motion sickness can be another reason your dog may not love the car. To prevent motion sickness, ease your dog’s tummy with the following things:

  • Ensure they’re in a cool environment
  • Open the windows for fresh air
  • Reduce their water and food hours before the car ride
  • Decrease their stress beforehand with exercise
  • Talk to your vet about motion sickness medications

Your dog can learn to love the car, it may just take a few rounds of creating new positive experiences!

For more information on remedies for motion sickness or ways to calm anxiety in your dog, reach out to our Carroll Gardens vet clinic today!


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