Middlebrook Animal Clinic

9229 Middlebrook Pike
Knoxville, TN 37931



Ensure that your trip down the road goes smoothly for you and your dog whether it is a quick jaunt down the road, an all-day-long trek, or the dreaded trip to the vet's office.

Make sure Fido is securely located in his own seat via a car seat harness or carrier.  In your lap, hanging out the window or under the driver's legs is dangerous for you and them!  Pets can become alarmed or behave unpredictably (i.e., jumping out a window at a stop light).

Also, keep in mind that dogs riding in the bed of your truck is actually ILLEGAL.  We have seen dogs accidentally swing over the truck bed edge and become "hung up" in wheel wells or be hit by the owner's own vehicle.

Ideally, it is best to get your dog used to traveling in a car with you by taking them for short brief rides in the car starting at a fairly young age during their "socialization period," which is the first 14 to 16 weeks of life.  Adults can also become accustomed to riding as well.  Please just realize that they may be a little more fearful as they have never done it before.  Younger animals, like puppies, tend to adapt a little quicker.

For instance, if you are going to take a quick trip to the pharmacy drive-thru to pick up a regular prescription, take your new puppy with you.  Secure them safely in your car for the ride.  Drive sensibly and keep things low key.  Play some soothing music.  Keep it short and sweet, and follow up the car ride with something that your dog loves to do such as a walk in the park or fetching a ball or frisbee.

Make sure that your dog has an empty tummy before attempting your short jaunt.  A full stomach just lends itself even more to nausea if your dog is prone to motion sickness.  There is an old dog show trick of giving the dog a jelly bean on an empty stomach (remember, no chocolate) right before the trip.  It seems that this technique seems to settle the stomachs of the queasy.

Other home remedies for motion sickness include Dramamine® and Benadryl®, although these frequently contribute to drowsiness.  There's even evidence that suggests that lavender aromatherapy can calm your dog's jitters.  If these don't seem to work, there are other motion sickness alternatives such as Cerenia®, which do not cause drowsiness.  As always, make sure to talk to your veterinarian first before giving any medications, especially if your dog takes any other medications regularly.

Almost all car-sickness actually stems from fear, rather than motion sickness.  Remember this!  If the only time that you ever take your dog on a car ride is to go to the veterinarian's office, don't be surprised about their anxiety.  They WILL KNOW where they are going. 

With each car ride, make the riding event progressively longer to slowly, but gradually, build up their tolerance.  It is crucial to remember that if your dog is particularly freaked about riding in the car, seek veterinary behavioral advice.  You don't want to overdo something and make your dog's anxious condition worse!