You should start acclimating your dog as early as possible, as acclimating a nervous dog to a car can take weeks and even months. Start with short, fun trip destinations to help your dog get used to riding in a car. Take short trips to the park or to get a puppuccino. Gradually increase the amount of time your dog spends in the car until they are comfortable riding longer distances.
Even if your dog can hold their bladder for longer, they should get a break roughly every 2-3 hours so they can have a chance to use the bathroom and stretch their legs.
Dogs can absolutely get car sick. It’s particularly common for puppies to get car sick as their inner ear is not fully developed and it helps with balance. In these cases, your dog will grow out of it by the time they are 1.
To know if your dog is car sick, keep an eye out for these symptoms:
In addition to gradually acclimating your dog to the car, you can work with your vet to get anti-nausea and anti-anxiety medication. According to VCA hospitals, anti-nausea medications can prevent a stressed pet from vomiting during a trip. Never medicate your dog with over the counter motion sickness medication, and make sure to talk to your vet if you are looking for medication.
There are several ways to keep your dog safe in the car.
A harness is an easy option to secure your dog to the backseat of the car. Simply click the tether into the shoulder and waist seat belts, and then tether that to your dog’s harness. Choose a harness and tether that has been crashed tested for maximum safety. Additionally, opt for a harness with chest padding to reduce stress on your dog’s chest while they are strapped in.
A car barrier creates a separation between the front and rear seats to keep your dog from launching forward in the event of a sudden stop and also reduces any distraction to the driver. They are easy to install and remove by clipping them into the head rests and the seat grooves at the bottom. Since the dog is not restrained, this is a less safe option.
Dog booster seats pop dogs up in their own seat, and are usually used for smaller breeds. They are great for making sure your small dog can see out the window and helps calm them.