Pet Health
travel sickness tablets for dogs

A Complete Guide to Travel Sickness Tablets For Dogs

Written by Steph McCulloch


It’s nearly summer again! Whilst that may mean trips to the beach and lots of ice cream, it can be a cause of concern for our four-legged friends who have to travel with us via car or train.
dog looking at pill


Similar to us humans, dogs can also experience motion sickness, causing symptoms such as vomiting, excessive drooling, and restlessness. 

We think it’s super important for pet owners to understand the usefulness of travel sickness tablets for dogs, as they can make the entire travel experience less stressful for both you and your pet. Travel sickness tablets can alleviate the symptoms of travel sickness, making the journey more comfortable and enjoyable for everyone involved, especially if your pet suffers from travel anxiety.

In this article, we will explore the causes and symptoms of travel sickness in dogs, the benefits of using travel sickness tablets, and some of the best options available on the market.

Understanding travel sickness in dogs

dog looking out of train window

Travel sickness, also known as motion sickness, is a common condition that can affect dogs during long car rides or trips. This condition is caused by somewhat of a mismatch between the visual and vestibular systems - ultimately leading to confusion in the brain and resulting in symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and restlessness. 

Dogs are particularly susceptible to motion sickness because their vestibular system, which is responsible for balance and orientation, is more sensitive than ours. Understanding the causes and symptoms of travel sickness in dogs is crucial for pet owners and can help you to take appropriate measures to alleviate any discomfort and ensure a pleasant travel experience for your pet.

There are several causes of travel sickness in dogs including: 

  • A history of motion sickness

  • Anxiety

  • Stress 

  • Existent ill health 

  • Bumpy terrain 

Puppies and young dogs are more prone to motion sickness due to their underdeveloped vestibular systems, which can make them more sensitive to motion. Anxiety and stress can also exacerbate travel sickness, as they can increase a dog's heart rate and make them more prone to nausea and vomiting. Additionally, factors such as winding roads, bumpy terrain, and the sight and smell of unfamiliar surroundings can also contribute to motion sickness in dogs.

Symptoms of travel sickness in dogs can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Vomiting

  • Drooling

  • Panting

  • Restlessness 

  • Whining

  • Lethargy

  • Barking 

  • Shivering 

  • Reluctance to get into a car

These symptoms can occur within a few minutes of starting the car ride and can last for several hours, depending on the severity of the motion sickness. It's important you pay close attention to your dog's behaviour during car rides, particularly if they are prone to travel sickness. Identifying the symptoms early on and taking appropriate measures, such as administering anti-nausea medication such as travel sickness tablets, which can help alleviate your pet's discomfort and prevent further distress.

Not to go all serious but having a poorly pup in the back of your car can also cause a distraction to your driving and result in a road accident. Getting your dog’s travel sickness under control before any holidays or trips away will result in a smooth journey for all.

How travel sickness tablets work

chihuahua sticking head out of car window

Travel sickness tablets for dogs work by reducing the sensitivity of the dog's vestibular system, which in turn, helps to alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness. 

There are two main types of travel sickness tablets for dogs: antihistamines and phenothiazines. Antihistamines work by blocking histamine receptors in the brain, which can help reduce your dog's sensitivity to motion. Phenothiazines, such as acepromazine and chlorpromazine, work by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain, which can help reduce nausea and vomiting.

While travel sickness tablets can be effective in alleviating the symptoms of travel sickness, they can also have potential side effects. Antihistamines can cause drowsiness, dry mouth, and urinary retention in some dogs, while phenothiazines can cause sedation, low blood pressure, and an increased risk of seizures in some dogs.

If you think travel sickness tablets could help your pet, it’s important to speak with your veterinarian before administering any form of medication to your dog to ensure that they are safe and appropriate for your pet's individual needs. Additionally, it's important to follow the recommended dosage and monitor your dog closely for any signs of adverse reactions. With proper use, travel sickness tablets can be a safe and effective solution to alleviate motion sickness in dogs and make travel more enjoyable for both you and your pet.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the benefits of travel sickness tablets and are a Waggel member, why not speak to a vet with Joii? Joii is a 24/7 online vet care provider that can connect you with a professional in just minutes. Consultations with Joii are free for all existing Waggel members or £28 per session for non-Waggel members.

Choosing the right travel sickness tablets for your dog

French bulldog looking at luggage

When choosing travel sickness tablets for your dog, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, it's important to choose a tablet that is appropriate for your dog's weight and size, as the dosage will vary depending on these factors. Additionally, it's important to consider any underlying health conditions that your dog may have, as some medications may not be suitable for dogs with certain medical conditions. It's also important to read the label carefully and check the ingredients to ensure that the tablet is safe and effective for your dog.

Selecting the right dosage for your dog is crucial to ensure that the travel sickness tablet is effective and safe. It's equally important to follow the recommended dosage on the label or as prescribed by your veterinarian as overdosing can have serious adverse effects on your dog's health. If you are unsure about the correct dosage for your dog, consult with your veterinarian before administering any medication.

Your vet can advise you on the appropriate medication, dosage, and any potential side effects or risks associated with the medication. Additionally, they can provide you with tips on how to administer the medication to your dog, as some dogs are a little resistant to taking tablets. To make the process easier, it's recommended to hide the tablet in a treat, their favourite food, or to use a pill pocket designed specifically for dogs. 

Alternative remedies for travel sickness

In addition to travel sickness tablets, there are several alternative remedies that can help alleviate motion sickness in dogs. Natural remedies such as ginger, peppermint, and chamomile have been known to have anti-nausea properties and can be administered to dogs in the form of teas, tinctures, or supplements. 

Acupuncture and acupressure can help reduce the symptoms of motion sickness by stimulating specific pressure points in the dog's body. However, it's important to note that the effectiveness of natural remedies can vary from dog to dog, and as always, it's important to consult with your vet before administering any natural remedies to ensure that they are safe and appropriate for your dog.

Behavioural modification techniques can also be used to help alleviate motion sickness in dogs. One such technique is to gradually expose your dog to car rides and travel, starting with short trips and gradually increasing the duration of your road trips. This can help desensitise your dog to the motion of the car and reduce the risk of travel sickness. 

Providing your dog with a comfortable and secure space in the car, such as a crate or car seat, can help reduce their anxiety and stress during travel. It's also important to avoid feeding your dog before a car ride and to provide them with plenty of water to help prevent dehydration and reduce the risk of nausea and vomiting. 

Preparing your dog for travel

dog with head out of car window

Preparing your dog for travel can help reduce their stress and anxiety, which can in turn help to prevent travel sickness. To prepare your dog for travel, start by introducing them to a travel crate, carrier, or their designated seat in your car several weeks before the trip. Making their space as comfortable and familiar as possible by placing their favourite toys and blankets inside will also help to prepare them for travel. 

Additionally, taking your dog on short car rides will help them get used to the motion of the car and associate it with positive experiences, such as going to the park or getting a treat. It's also important to make sure that your dog is up-to-date with all of their vaccinations and has all the necessary paperwork for travel, such as a health certificate or relevant documentation if you are travelling abroad.

To prevent travel sickness in dogs, avoid feeding your dog before a car ride and provide them with plenty of water to help prevent dehydration. If your dog is prone to motion sickness, consider using travel sickness tablets or natural remedies to alleviate their symptoms. It's also important to avoid sudden stops or sharp turns, and to take frequent breaks to allow your dog to stretch their legs and go to the bathroom.

Before travelling with your dog, it's important to research and plan ahead to avoid common travel mistakes. This includes finding pet-friendly accommodation and checking the weather forecast for your destination to ensure that your dog is comfortable during the trip and not likely to overheat.

Make sure to pack all the necessary supplies for your dog, such as food, water, toys, and medication. It may also be helpful to have a first-aid kit on hand in case of emergencies. Lastly, make sure your dog’s microchip details are up to date and don’t forget to have them wear a collar with identification tags. By taking these precautions and planning ahead, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable travel experience for both you and your furry friend.

If you’re a Waggel member, you’ll also get free access to Pet Database where you can safely and securely store your pet’s microchip details totally free of charge. 

Tips for travelling with a dog

dog sitting on boat

Travelling with a dog can be a very enjoyable experience, but it requires some extra preparation and care. To keep your dog calm when travelling, consider providing them with familiar items such as their favourite toys and blankets and taking them on a walk beforehand. You could also try playing calming music or using a pheromone diffuser, which releases natural scents that can help reduce your dog's anxiety. Additionally, make sure to provide your dog with frequent bathroom breaks and opportunities to get out of the car once in a while. For longer trips, consider packing a comfortable bed or blanket for your dog to rest on.

Managing your dog's anxiety during travel can also involve crate training. If your dog is not already accustomed to a crate or carrier, start by slowly introducing it to them and gradually increasing the amount of time they spend inside. This can help your dog feel more secure and comfortable when travelling.

It's also important to avoid leaving your dog alone in the car at any time, especially in hot weather, as this can be dangerous and can cause your dog to become anxious and severely overheated. 

When packing for your dog, make sure to bring all the necessary supplies, such as food, water, treats, and medication. Don’t forget to bring a lead too! Bringing a travel crate or carrier, as well as any bedding or toys that your dog is familiar with can also help your dog to feel safe and secure.

If you plan to hike or spend time outdoors, consider packing a doggy backpack to carry your dog's supplies. By packing the right supplies and taking steps to manage your dog's anxiety, you can ensure a smooth trip every time you’re together.

Travelling with a dog on aeroplanes

Aeroplane travel with dogs requires careful planning and preparation. Regulations for travelling with dogs on aeroplanes can vary depending on the airline and the destination. Most airlines require that dogs travel in a crate or carrier that meets specific size and safety requirements, and may mean you are required to present a health certificate from a vet before you can travel.

It's important to research the airline's policies and procedures for travelling with dogs and to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork before beginning your trip. Some airlines may have restrictions on the size and breed of dogs allowed on board, so it's important to check these guidelines as well.

Some airlines may offer specific amenities for travelling with pets, such as pet relief areas and in-flight pet care services. It's important to research your chosen airline's policies and procedures for travelling with dogs, as well as their safety record and customer reviews. Where possible, consider booking a direct flight to reduce the amount of time your dog spends in transit and to minimise their stress and anxiety.

Tips for travelling with a dog on aeroplanes include:

  • Acclimating your dog to a travel crate or carrier several weeks before your trip

  • Providing them with familiar items such as their favourite toys and blankets

  • Avoiding feeding your dog before the flight and providing them with plenty of water to prevent dehydration

  • Considering using natural remedies or medication to help alleviate your dog's anxiety or travel sickness

Travelling with a dog in cars

Travelling with dogs in cars in the UK requires compliance with certain regulations to ensure safety for both the dog and passengers. The Highway Code outlines that dogs must be suitably restrained while in a vehicle, either with a seatbelt harness, a dog crate, or a dog guard. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines and points on your driving licence. 

It’s also important to never leave your dog alone in a car, especially on warm or hot days, as this can lead to heatstroke and even death. 

Top tips for travelling with dogs in cars in the UK include:

  • Acclimate your dog to the car gradually, starting with short trips and gradually building up to longer journeys to reduce anxiety and travel sickness

  • Provide your dog with familiar items such as their favourite toy to help them feel more comfortable during the journey

  • Plan your route ahead of time - taking into account rest stops and pet-friendly locations along the way

  • Make sure your dog is properly restrained during the journey to prevent injury in the event of an accident or sudden stop

Travelling with a dog on trains

For those who don’t drive, travelling by train with dogs may be the next best option. However, travelling with dogs on trains in the UK requires compliance with specific regulations set by individual train companies so it’s best to do additional research.

Generally, dogs are allowed on trains but they must be kept on a lead at all times. Researching your chosen train company's specific guidelines ahead of time is important as although most trains let dogs travel for free, some may require advance booking or charge an additional fee for dogs. During the journey, you must make sure your dog is well-behaved and not disruptive to other passengers. Lots of owners who regularly use trains with their dogs prefer to be seated in the quiet carriage as this helps to lessen anxiety for their dog.

Getting your dog used to the train environment before the journey can really help to reduce stress. This means taking them to a train station to get used to the sights and sounds of the platform. 

Before you set off on your train journey, pack some toys for your dog to help them feel as comfortable as possible. Providing your dog with plenty of water and opportunities to go to the bathroom is also important if you are changing trains along the way. 

Travelling with a dog on boats

For those who prefer the water to the roads, boating may be an option for travelling. However, this carries certain dangers so it’s best to be clued up about travelling with your dog on a boat.

Before setting off, let your dog get used to the boat. Some dogs may have a little difficulty getting their sea legs but after a while, they should get used to the feeling of being afloat! As always, ensure your dog has access to fresh drinking water and shade to help them avoid heatstroke.

Investing in dog boots can help if your boat is exposed to the sun. Dogs absorb heat through their pads meaning the boat they’re standing on can quickly get hot to the touch. When taking your dog out on a boat for the first time, keep the trip short so your dog isn’t too overwhelmed.

A buoyancy aid can also help to protect your dog whilst on the water and in the event of an emergency. Allow them to get used to wearing a buoyancy aid before taking them out on a boat so they know what to expect.

If you’re thinking a little bit bigger and want to take your dog on a ferry, it’s best to know exactly what ferry travel requires. Most crossings require your dog to remain either in your vehicle or in one of the ferry’s specialist kennels. Travelling in the evenings or overnight can help to avoid overheating if your dog has to remain in your car.

It’s also worth noting that unless your ferry has pet-friendly cabins whereby your dog can stay with you during the journey, they’re likely to spend a lot of time alone which can be stressful and anxiety-inducing. Once the ship has sailed it is unlikely you will be able to access the car deck to see your dog (if they have remained in your car). 

Travelling with a dog on buses

Another option for those who don’t drive but want to travel with their dog is to take the bus. Most buses in the UK allow dogs to travel for free, apart from the National Express which doesn’t allow dogs at all (except for trained assistance dogs). 

Unfortunately, some buses limit the number of dogs onboard to 1 or 2 which could hinder a trip that has been planned ahead of time. Dogs can also be turned away at the driver’s discretion meaning that they don’t really need to explain why. Dogs are also not permitted to travel without leads.

If you are travelling on a bus with your dog, we recommend keeping the trip as short as possible as buses can cause a lot of motion sickness for dogs (and humans). They also get hot, stuffy, and loud which can be very uncomfortable for a dog sitting on the floor.

Common travel sickness mistakes to avoid

When travelling with a dog, it's important to know which things to avoid - this means anything likely to cause stress and discomfort for both you and your pet. 

One of the most common mistakes is not giving your dog enough time to acclimate to the travel environment, whether it's a car, bus, aeroplane or train. Rushing the process can lead to increased anxiety and a nasty bout of travel sickness. 

It’s also important to avoid overfeeding your dog before travel as a full stomach can increase the likelihood of travel sickness. Giving your dog a light meal several hours before travel is often recommended.

To avoid travel sickness in dogs, it's important to take precautions such as choosing the right medication, as discussed earlier, and avoiding feeding them right before travel. Patience is also key, as it may take some time for your dog to adjust to travelling. If your dog does experience travel sickness, remain calm and take steps to alleviate their symptoms such as providing fresh air and water and taking frequent breaks. In some cases, a veterinarian may need to be consulted for further treatment.


Having a dog doesn’t mean you can’t go on holiday anymore, in fact, it can make travelling even more enjoyable. However, our four-legged friends are often susceptible to travel sickness which can make any journey a little stressful.

With the right steps in place, you can avoid travel sickness or, in the worst-case scenario that your pet does become sick, know exactly what to do. If your pet is a serial travel sickness expert, we recommend speaking to your vet before any future trip and procuring suitable travel sickness tablets so they aren’t in any discomfort. 

Your vet will weigh your dog and provide the most appropriate form of medication, this includes walking you through any possible side effects. 

We’re sure you’ve already noticed by now but travel sickness doesn’t just come from cars - it can also arise from any form of motion such as trains, buses, and aeroplanes. Therefore, it’s best to know how to prevent it and how to treat it. This will make your future holidays and trips as enjoyable as possible for both yourself and your pet.

Travelling with your dog is a super fun experience and we hope that by reading our guide you feel confident and assured in your future trips - happy travels!

If you’re interested in reading more about pet ownership on the Waggel blog, why not check out our other articles on what to do if your puppy is breathing fast and how to get rid of pesky mites?


Are travel sickness tablets safe for dogs?

Yes, travel sickness tablets are safe for dogs. However, before administering any form of medication to your dog, it’s best to speak to your veterinarian who can prescribe specific tablets best suited to your dog and their health requirements.

How can I tell if my dog is experiencing travel sickness?

Dogs show travel sickness symptoms in a pretty similar way to us humans. If you’re driving with your dog, for example, you may notice gagging or vomiting whenever the car is in motion. Dogs suffering from travel sickness can also drool and become lethargic.

How can I help my dog overcome travel sickness?

You can help your dog overcome travel sickness by helping them get used to their travel environment before a long journey. In addition to this, we recommend using travel sickness tablets and keeping your dog hydrated at all times. Keeping one of their favourite toys in the car, for example, can help to reduce stress levels and ultimately reduce the chances of travel sickness taking place.

Can I give my dog over-the-counter travel sickness tablets?

It's not recommended to give your dog over-the-counter travel sickness tablets without consulting with your veterinarian first. While some over-the-counter medications may be safe for dogs in certain situations, it's important to consider your dog's individual health and medical history before administering any medication. Additionally, some human medications can be harmful or even toxic to dogs.

How long does it take for travel sickness tablets to work?

The length of time it takes for travel sickness tablets to work in dogs can vary depending on the specific medication and dosage used. In general, some medications can take effect within 30 minutes to an hour after administration, while others may take longer to reach their full effectiveness. It's important to follow the instructions provided by your vet and allow enough time for the medication to take effect before beginning travel.

Throughout your journey, it’s important to monitor your dog's behaviour and symptoms to ensure the medication is working effectively and safely.

How often can you give travel sickness tablets to your dog?

The frequency with which you can give travel sickness tablets to your dog depends on the medication itself and the dosage prescribed by your vet. Some medications are prescribed for use on an as-needed basis meaning you can give them to your dog whenever they’re showing signs of travel sickness.

Others are for more frequent use and require following specific instructions to give once or twice daily. If you are unsure how often you should give travel sickness tablets to your dog, always consult your vet.

How long do travel sickness tablets last for dogs?

Each type of travel sickness tablet for dogs varies in duration and depends on other factors such as the dosage. Some medications provide relief for several hours whilst others last longer. Following the instructions of your given medication is imperative. It’s also important to monitor your dog’s behaviour and symptoms at all times to ensure the medication is working as it should. Speak to your vet if you have any concerns about the medication you have been given.

Waggel Pet Insurance

Need more help? You're in luck if you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member. Along with our excellent coverage, we offer access to a 24/7 online vet to answer all your sticky questions, especially if you need grooming assistance.

Not a member? Why not get a quote now and cover your furry friend for a range of illnesses, all while enjoying our amazing perks and rewards.

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