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Stella - Standard Poodle
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My puppy keeps getting carsick :(. I've consulted the vet about it and have gotten decent advice, but just want a second opinion haha. Everytime I take my pup for a car ride, she gets carsick (mostly just vet trips). Do you have any tips and voice of experience? :) I want to her to be able to get used to the car, and be socialized, but...
 

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First - it's normal!

I suggest lots of tiny trips - even just around the block or in and out of the driveway. A lot of it seems to be nerves based. I found it helpful to let my girl sit in the front seat (not advised) and slightly roll down the window or adjust the vents to blow cool air at her face. We used to do this with a carsick cat and it helped her too. Drive like your 100 year old grandma is sitting in the seat next to you holding a pot of hot soup, full to the brim.

Oh, and lining the seat with pee pads and bringing a few extra is a good idea!
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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I’m not sure if dogs are like humans in this regard, but if I can’t see out the window, I get carsick and have been that way my whole life.

Is there a way she can safely see the scenery go by?

I think only driving her to the vet’s office might also be working against you. That’s building a strong association between the car and going somewhere that’s very stimulating (or even scary). You want the car to be no big deal.

How is she if you just stay parked in the driveway for a while and read a book or scroll Poodle Forum on your phone?
 

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Stella - Standard Poodle
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I’m not sure if dogs are like humans in this regard, but if I can’t see out the window, I get carsick and have been that way my whole life.

Is there a way she can safely see the scenery go by?

I think only driving her to the vet’s office might also be working against you. That’s building a strong association between the car and going somewhere that’s very stimulating (or even scary). You want the car to be no big deal.

How is she if you just stay parked in the driveway for a while and read a book or scroll Poodle Forum on your phone?
We have also taken her to meet other people and dogs on the car :). Her crate has a window thing where she can look outside. She is usually really calm in the car. She doesn't bark or whine, just will pace around towards the end of our trip when she has to throw up... (the trips I usually take her on are at the most 10 minutes long, which, now that I think of it, b/c of her car sickness, may be a bit long for her) If she were just in the parked car, I think she would just settle down.
 

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Sophy was terribly sick as a puppy - for her it was a vicious circle of motion sickness, which caused anxiety, which made the sickness worse, until she drooled just sitting in a stationery vehicle.

I worked on it with desensitisation - sitting in the car after a game outside, with books and music for me and treats for her, until she relaxed and snoozed. Then the same with the engine running. Eventually we built up to just rocking the car, then driving a few yards, then very, very short drives to nice places. And I too learned to drive very, very carefully. After one trip in my sister's car Sophy categorically refuses to go near any car if my sister is anywhere near the driver's seat!

Sophy is much better in a crate - she prefers to be lying down and not see out. I've found that if I am a passenger and she is not in her crate she actually prefers to be covered by a blanket.
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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What FJM said. Every bit of training with dogs is about desensitization and acclimatization. Take it slow and don't rush it. One or two sessions per day, and only progress when she's ready. I find it helps to write down what you think will be the incremental steps (reality often changes things):

Step 1 - get in car, treat! When she's eager to get in the car, go to the next step:
Step 2 - get in car, treat in the carrier! When she's eager to get in the carrier, go to:
Step 3 - get in car, get in carrier, start the car, while the car is running, treat! When she remains calm with the car running, go to:
Step 4 - get in car, get in carrier, start the car, roll down the driveway and back, treat! When she remains calm, go to ... drive around the block, a 3 minute drive, a 5 minute drive, a 10 minute drive, a courtesy vet appointment (many vets, knowing that dogs hate vet appointments, offer a service where they will pick up your dog, bring her in for a treat, coo over her cute little self, make sure she had a good time, then send her on her way), a fun trip to a park,....

If at any point she doesn't seem calm with the current step, go back down to a step where she is calm.
 

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Basil's in the same boat at 9 months. You have some really good advice above.

I would echo FWoP's point about trying your best to brake and accelerate slowly.. basically try to make the ride as smooth as possible.

Maybe have an extra towel, bed sheet & cleaning supply kit in the car. You won't regret it.
 

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I had a carsick puppy, too. I also took him for short rides. But, I also gave him something to chew on. I think I used an oversized beef bone. Chewing helps to relive anxiety, and raw bone is very distracting. Cover the seat.
 

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I had a carsick Sheltie pup. I tried everything e.g., AC on high, AC on low, windows open, windows closed, toys, no toys. On short car trips around the block, she barfed. Finally, I took the advice of a breeder friend. I started singing to her, using her name multiple times in made up lyrics and it worked. Who knows why.
 

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my puppy is the same. I will try a chew toy. I didn’t think of that. My vet recommended Meclezine or Dramamine but I don’t want to go the medication route.
 

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If it's partly stress related to vet visits, there's one additional thing to try, "happy visits" to the vet. Puppy goes to the vet and the only thing that happens is the front staff ooh and ahh and give approved treats, then home or to a park or the pet store for a new something. This can reduce the stress association of the car ride with the vet. - Liz, you beat me to it :)

If it's more from simple motion sickness, then facing forward could help. For some it'll help seeing out, for others the opposite. This is sometimes outgrown as the inner ear develops.

Lower on the medication route is Ginger and a step up is OTC Benadryl (check with the vet of course).
 

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Casey, toy poodle - RIP 11/06/2003 to 02/23/2021
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Have you considered it may be the crate? What size is your puppy? I had a car seat from Outward Hound over the passenger seat up front. I put a soft bed in it and my dog loved curling up for our drives. He could see me & he was relaxed. There are also harnesses that attach to the seat belts. You could put a bed or a throw for him to sit on. This is what the car seat looked like. (The bed looks crooked but that's just the angle of the photo. He loved his carseat.)
475807
 
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