Ask the Dogcharmer: ‘Walker’

How can we get her to like the car?

Dottie. Courtesy Ute Kuerscher

Dear Dogcharmer,

My dog feels terrible during car rides. I keep the windows opened for fresh air, and give her water. Whenever we get in the car, she starts to pant very heavily. She has even vomited on a long car ride. She seems very uncomfortable and hesitant getting in the car lately. What would you recommend to make her feel better? My boyfriend and I travel a lot by car, and we want to bring our dog everywhere we go.


Thank you,

(Car Sick) Dog Owner


Dear (CS) Dog Owner,

If all else fails, my last suggestion would be to get a motion sickness drug from your vet for — let’s call her “Walker,” because she clearly prefers walking to the car. If you had a child whose only experience being driven in a car was to go to the dentist for cavity drilling, she’d probably get nauseous just thinking about getting in the car. So, first things first; feed Walker one of her daily meals in the car with the engine off for a couple of days, but with a little chicken added (or whatever people food she loves). The only place she gets these “enhanced” meals is in the car. Next, she’s in the stationary car with these wonderful meals with the engine running. When she’s gleefully leaping into the car for her fine-dining experience, there’s no meal, just a hollow marrow bone with meat wedged in the middle for her to work on while you take a short drive to a dog park or BFF dog for some great play. You’re in the process of changing Walker’s association with the car from going to the dentist to going someplace to have a fantastic play time.


Good luck,

The Dogcharmer


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