Anyone who’s driven a long distance with a pet knows that motion sickness is common in both cats and dogs. While your pet won’t turn green during a long and bumpy ride, many of us know the telltale signs of animal motion sickness. Chief among them? Vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive vocalization. Needless to say, these are three things that are difficult to manage—especially while you’re driving. Luckily, animal motion sickness can be prevented… and if you’re looking at this article at a rest stop, don’t worry. Animal motion can be treated, too. Here are all of the ways you can make your ride the smoothest yet:

1. Preventing animal motion sickness:

carsick pets You know what they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure.” If you’re planning a road trip or another long drive, there are a few ways you can prepare your pet and help avoid them getting sick along the way.


If you have a dog, make sure they’re facing forward. While some dogs can only be kept calm by looking out the windows, if your dog is susceptible to motion sickness, you’ll want to make sure he’s looking straight ahead. To guarantee that they won’t get distracted by visual stimulation along the way, you can either use a dog seat belt or keep your pup in his kennel. One thing to keep in mind is that you may not want your dog to ride in the passenger seat: airbags are helpful for humans, but in the event of an accident they can smother your best friend. Another benefit of opting for a crate: if your dog does get sick anyway, it will be contained and much easier to clean.


Unlike dogs, motion sickness in cats is often caused by anxiety. In most cases, you will want to transport your cat in his crate. Include favorite toys, pillows, or blankets, too. Smells that remind your kitty of home will help them feel more comfortable during the ride. If you’re taking a long trip, don’t just spring it on your cat, either. Take several short trips, even if you’re just driving down your block. Cats hate surprises, and getting them used to the sensation of moving will not only give you a good idea of how they handle your car, but it’ll also help them get comfortable with the idea of being in a vehicle, at all. For both cats and dogs, additional considerations include anti-nausea medication, anti-anxiety medication, and avoiding feeding up to 12 hours before your trip. For these three options, make sure you consult with your vet first.

2. Treating animal motion sickness:

What do you do if your pet is already sick? If your dog or cat is already showing signs of motion sickness and you don’t have medication on hand, there are a few things you can do:

  • Make sure they’re crated and facing forward. If you don’t have a crate handy, enlist the help of a passenger to make sure your animal friend isn’t getting distracted.
  • Turn down any music or avoid loud conversation. The stimulation may be part of your pet’s discomfort.
  • Lower the windows slightly to make sure there’s fresh air circulating in the vehicle.
  • Take frequent breaks. If you have a dog, be sure to walk him. Offer your pets’ water, but not food. It may add some extra time to your trip, but it will be well worth it for your pet.
  • If you have a tee shirt or other clothing item packed that smells of home, give it to them! It may provide comfort.

3. Getting rid of funky smells in your car:

So… your pet got sick on your car’s carpet or seat. What now? The bad news is you have to clean it up. The good news is, you’re not doomed to drive with funky pet smell in your car until you get a new one. Here are a few easy remedies. Some of them you can even get done at a rest stop!

  • Get your car detailed. This will definitely do the trick, but we understand it’s not an option for everyone. If you have the extra funds, getting it professionally fixed can save you a lot of headaches.
  • Pet-specific carpet shampoo. Depending on the brands, these are extremely effective. The only downside is shampooing your own carpet.
  • Place a bowl of baking soda in your car overnight. This can absorb most Remember to clean the surface where the accident occurred, too. This won’t work alone. After using cleaning products, you can also sprinkle some baking soda on the affected area and then vacuum it with a hand vacuum cleaner.
  • White vinegar. White vinegar is great with removing smells. Mix some of it with water and spray the affected area.


About Sam Casteris

sam casteris


Sam Casteris is an avid writer and explorer of all things travel, mindfulness, and financial health. You can find more of her work in her portfolio