I dog-sit my daughter’s lovable Yorkypoo occasionally. He happily jumps into my car, but makes the most horrendous earsplitting noises, barking, howling, all during the drive. Having him strapped in or in his kennel, having my husband hold him in his lap, makes no difference. Could he be car sick? Any idea on how we can make car travel less stressful for a very cute and smart little Brizzly.
– Brigitte, Hauppauge, New York
Occasionally, a dog might howl or bark if car sick, but mostly they just look like they want to throw up. Clearly, “Brizzly” is experiencing something, and it’s either car sickness or anxiety related to the car ride. Here are a few things to try.
First, put him in an Anxiety WrapTM or ThundershirtTM. Both garments can help reduce canine anxiety. Next, place him in a small airline kennel for transport, and drape a towel over the top of it, making sure that at least one side is open to fresh air. He will feel more secure in a kennel than sitting on your husband’s lap. Also, crack open the back window a little, so fresh air circulates in the car.
There are over-the-counter car sickness supplements you can try. If that doesn’t work, a veterinarian can provide something stronger for the ride.
If these things don’t work, music might be the remedy. Research shows that classical music can reduce canine stress behaviors, like barking and whining. Some classical music may be too stimulating for dogs, so I recommend Through a Dog’s Ears, a canine classical music series created by psychoacoustic expert Joshua Leed, concert pianist Lisa Spector, and veterinary neurologist Dr. Susan Wagner. According to Spector, the music in this series has lower tones, slower tempos and simple rhythmic patterns, which appeals more to dogs.
Let me know what works for Brizzly.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal