Car Sick Dog Remedies:
Or, How I Hate To Clean Up Dog Barf

car sick dog remedies

Not every sheltie is a road warrior.

Most of us have had a dog or two that doesn’t do well in the car. For some, that is a major understatement.  

I can think of few things worse than dog vomit all over a car in the hot summer sun!

Thankfully, there are several car sick dog remedies you can try. Usually, at least one of the techniques work.


You can go to the drugstore and buy Bonine, (generic: meclizine) a human anti-motion sickness pill (it's right next to the Dramamine and is safe for dogs). Give one 25 mg tab daily about an hour before you take the trip.

It will do you no good if you wait until you are already in the car.

Do not use in dogs with: 

  • glaucoma
  • prostate gland enlargement
  • certain stomach and urinary bladder abnormalities
  • overactive thyroid
  • seizure disorder
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure

I have used Bonine with good results. My vet says the prescription Cerenia (generic: maropilant citrate) they have for animals is expensive and doesn't work any better than Bonine. 

Car Sick Dog Remedies Using Positioning

If you keep your sheltie facing forward he will experience less visual cues to nauseate him (maybe harness him into a car seat?) 

Some dogs do better when low to the ground rather than up on a seat. So if you crate him, put the crate on the floor facing forward to see if that makes a difference. 


Ginger is a natural food that settles stomach, maybe a gingersnap or two will help. 

Or if you prefer to make your own treats you can buy ginger root powder and whip up something you know your sheltie will like.

Air Pressure

Opening the windows, even a crack just to stabilize the air pressure is something else you can try.

One of my girls, Hope does very well traveling EXCEPT when going up over mountains. Like clockwork, she would start drooling and looking miserable at around 4000 feet. Nothing I know of that takes care of that as it isn’t motion sickness, it’s altitude changes causing discomfort in the ears. :(  

Maybe it would help if I could teach her to chew gum or pop her ears.



Finally, regarding clean up.... I had an English Shepherd that was a mess in the car. Just his massive drooling alone was a shocker. He poured saliva out of him!

Leaving him to his own choices in the car lead to massive barf cleanup all over the place. Putting him in a kennel at least confined the mess to just his body. But it was still outrageous. 

When he was let out of the crate he was a well marinated, barf covered dog. YUK! 

My final solution, though not the best in terms of safety, was to have him harnessed in the front seat, looped one handle of a kitchen trash bag over his head and held on to the other handle as I drove to keep the bag open. That way he could gag for as long as he wanted and when he finally "let go", no matter which way his head was facing, it always ended up in the bag. 

Doesn't cure the problem but cures the clean-up issue. 

Just don't leave your dog with a plastic bag anywhere near his head unless you are there to supervise for obvious possible suffocation reasons. 

Growing Out Of The Problem

Oh, and another thing.... You may just be lucky enough to have your sheltie grow out of it. Has something to do immature ear development that resolves as they mature. That would be great not to have to use any of these car sick dog remedies for long.

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