Car sickness is not unusual in young puppies, however, if it goes unchecked it can lead to more serious issues. Pups can start to anticipate that they will become sick and may become fearful of car rides. It can be difficult to get the dog to voluntarily enter the car. A dog that is always car sick and fearful of car rides has significant limitations. Trips to the park and out of town vacations with the family dog become a drama. Owners frequently limit car trips to just required veterinary visits, further confirming the dog’s stress about the car. Therefore what may start out as a simple case of motion sickness, can turn into a substantial behavioral problem.
Fortunately, with a young puppy, there are some simple steps owners can take to prevent car sickness and anxious behavior in the car:
1. Start out with several very brief trips to new locations right as soon as you get your puppy. These trips should not be very exciting, the main purpose is just to get the puppy used to the car. A five minute drive to a quiet park is a great starting point.
2. Use a crate to confine your puppy in the car at first or use a leash or harness restraint. Provide a long lasting chew and toys for your puppy in the car.
3. Classical music may help some puppies relax in the car. See http://throughadogsear.com/ Remember that even if you like listening to loud music, the noise can agitate some dogs, keep the volume low.
4. The scent of lavender may help some dogs relax in cars.
5. Limit how much you feed your puppy before the car ride and crack open a window during the ride.
6. Avoid very hot weather and extreme cold for the first trips. Try to have the car temperature comfortable when the pup first enters the car.
7. Relax yourself, remember that dogs are tuned into their owner’s emotions too.
If your dog is already very anxious about car rides you may need to consult with a trainer or behavior consultant to address your dog’s anxiety more gradually. In some cases, owners need to work with a veterinarian to address the motion sickness medically as well. Behavior modification usually takes time, so preventing this behavior problem is always the best bet whenever possible.