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Poodle Car Seats

Your Poodle in the Car -
Car Seats & Motion Sickness Tips

Overview

Driving your Poodle from point A to point B involves a lot more than just getting your Poodle in the car and going. Proper safety should be a top concern for all owners of toy, miniature, and standard Poodles.

In addition, it’s very common for dogs to become car sick, even for short drives. And this can turn travel by car into an uncomfortable event for everyone. 

Here we’ll look at:
  • Top tips to prevent motion sickness
  • Some eye-opening facts about driving with puppies and dogs in the car
  • The best types of car seats and belts for all Poodles
  • Extra tips for safety and comfort

Poodle Motion Sickness

Poodle with bow tie
Gizmo, at 3 years old,
photo courtesy of Monika
What this is:

This is a very common condition in which dogs feel nauseous when traveling. Since automobile travel is the most common, many owners see their Poodles struggle with this when driven. However, this can also happen with other forms of travel including airplanes and trains. 

What causes this:

It develops due to a disconnect between what the eyes see and the body feels, including the inner ears that sense motion. A Poodle’s eyes are telling him that the inside of the car is not moving. But, his body is swaying and experiencing the movement of starts, stops, and turns, and the inner ear senses motion. 

Both warm/hot temperatures and lack of proper air flow can exasperate car sickness. 

Symptoms:

A Poodle may experience one, some, or all of the following: 
Nausea, dizziness, panting, panicked behavior, and/or vomiting.
Treatment:

Typically, once this develops the only method to help a dog feel better is to exit him from the car. However, there are ways to prevent this, which we'll cover next. 

Preventing Motion Sickness

Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to make traveling in the car a more pleasant experience and prevent motion sickness. 

For most Poodles, it will be a combination of the following that works best, therefore just following one or two tips may limit success: 
1. Provide line-of-sight out of the window. For toy Poodles and young miniatures, the best way to do this is via a raised booster canine car seat. And using a car seat is vital in preventing serious or fatal injury should an accident occur (much more ahead). 

2. Keep the body stable. Employing a method of keep a Poodle’s body relatively stable during turns, acceleration, and deceleration can help. For toys and young mini’s this can be achieved via the aforementioned car seat. 

For adult miniature and standard Poodles, a canine car safely belt will accomplish this. 

3. Fresh, moving air. Even in the summer when the AC is going and in the winter when you need heat in the car, fresh air via a slightly open window makes a dog feel better. It helps with both the disconnect that is happening between motion/no-motion, and can ease nausea.
Black standard Poodle and owner
Ava, 2 years old, with her 'mom'
photo courtesy of Andrea
While you may have to crank the AC or heat higher to compensate for the hot or cold air coming in, it is often well worth it. Just be sure to open the windows only as much as is needed to provide moving air for your puppy or dog. 

4. Cool air. Keeping the temperature inside the car a tad cooler than normal is often beneficial. As soon as a dog becomes hot, motion sickness can take a sudden turn for the worse.

5. Do not feed a meal within 1 to 2 hours of travel. For toy Poodles, do not give a full meal within an hour of departing. With miniatures and standards, 2 hours is best. Food eaten too soon before getting in the car is much more likely to be vomited out. 
While you may have to crank the AC or heat higher to compensate for the hot or cold air coming in, it is often well worth it. Just be sure to open the windows only as much as is needed to provide moving air for your puppy or dog. 

6. But, do give a small snack. A small, dry dog treat can cushion an otherwise empty stomach. Without something in the stomach, stomach bile can start to rise up. 

7. A bit of sugar. A small amount of sugar can help keep a Poodle’s tummy calm. And while this should not be given every day, it’s just fine for car trips a couple of times per week. One of the best methods of giving a dog sugar is via a jelly bean. Do be sure that it does not contain any artificial sweeteners, as those are toxic to dogs.
Poodle at Grand Canyon
Bojangles, at 1 year old,
 enjoying the Grand Canyon,
photo courtesy of Mike and Marge
8. Use an herbal calming supplement. There are some very safe canine supplement treats that can help alleviate GI disturbances and reduce anxiety in stressful situations. 

There are two types that we recommend:

#1 For both reducing anxiety and calming the stomach:

For the calming part, valerian root is great for this, as is L-tryptophan (the body converts this into serotonin, a 'feel good' chemical. 

For the upset stomach part, passion flower, chamomile and ginger root can work well.
If you want to see if this sort of treat can help your Poodle, Deley Naturals Dog Anxiety Support and Calming Chews is a great choice. 

This contains all of the above mentioned organic ingredients, is made in the USA in an FDA inspected facility, comes in tasty chicken flavor chews, and contains zero artificial additives or unwanted ingredients.
This should be given 45 minutes before heading out with your Poodle in the car. 
#2 For a calming aid:

If feeding a dry treat and a bit of sugar helps your Poodle’s stomach issues while in the car, and you are just looking for an effective calming aid, a homeopathic dog supplement may be the answer. 

You’ll find that Bach Flower Essences Rescue Remedy for Pets contains a blend of flower extracts and can be used several different ways. Just a few drops are needed, and these can be put on a treat, in the water dish, or you can even allow your Poodle to lick this right from the dropper.

This should be given 45 to 60 minutes before a car trip. 
9. Breaks. Even Poodles that seem to do good in the car will have a tipping point, in which being confined to one small area and experiencing travel will start to build up. 

If you’re taking your Poodle for a car ride longer than 30 minutes, it’s recommended to take a break at the halfway point. Pull over to a safe area and allow your Poodle to get out on leash. Offer a drink of water, perhaps another small dry treat, allow for bathroom needs, and go for a short walk for your puppy or dog to stretch his legs.  

Summary – By implementing all of the above tips, car sickness can be greatly reduced. And next, since having your Poodle in a car seat or belt restraint is such a big part of this, and is vital for safety reasons, we’ll cover this in detail. 

Are Car Rides Really Dangerous for Poodles?

You may think that going just around the corner or staying within your city or town offers little risk. And maybe your toy Poodle seems happy on your lap… Or your standard does just fine having the whole back seat to move around.

But, allowing your Poodle to be unrestrained in the car can be a deadly mistake.

Before you let you Poodle in your car again, here is what you need to know:
It’s impossible to say it won’t happen to you.
1. Each day in the US there are 16,000+ vehicle accidents. 

2. The majority of accidents happen within 3 miles of home.
Not having your Poodle in a car seat or belt
increases the danger for both you and your dog
3. Having a pet unrestrained in the car increases the chances of an accident due to distracted driving. 1 in 5 car crashes in which at least 1 person is injured is due to distracted driving

4. Looking away from the road for 1 second doubles your chances of an accident. 
5. Pet owners are distracted in many ways. A AAA/Kurgo poll of pet owners showed 18% interact with their dogs, 17% allowed their dogs to sit on their laps, 13% gave treats while driving, and 3% even took snapshots of their dog while moving through traffic. 
Not using a car seat or restraint
means placing your Poodle in danger
6. Dogs can suffer terribly in even slow-moving accidents. When a Poodle is unrestrained, the puppy or dog will be thrown with what is known as ‘crash force’. 

In a car traveling just 45 MPH, a 5 lb. Poodle would be thrown with the force of a 225-lb. object.

In a car traveling at 55 MPH, a 40-lb. Poodle would be thrown with the force of a 2200-lb. object.

7. Not only can your Poodle be seriously injured or die from even a slow-moving accident, but a dog being thrown from the back seat can cause critical injuries to front-seat passengers. 
Bottom line:

If you’d buckle up a young child,
buckle up your Poodle

The Best Type of Car Seats and Car Belt Restraints for Poodles

The type of car safety that you should use will depend on the variety of Poodle that you have and your dog’s age:

For dogs up to 45 lbs. a car booster seat is a great option: 

This would be for toy poodles, miniature Poodles, and young standard Poodles.

Qualities of booster seats:
  • Are raised. This keeps a small dog up high with good line-of-sight out of the windows and closer to fresh air, which greatly cuts down on motion sickness. 
  • Provides stability. This will be via walled structures, which can range from wired mesh to formed foam. It creates a structured area. 
  • Easy install. The car seat is easily secured into place with the car’s safety belt. 
  • Harness clip. The inner rear panel will have a harness buckle. Note that this is meant to clip to a puppy or dog’s harness, not a collar. Connecting this to the collar can result in severe neck injury. 
For dogs 25 to 45+ lbs. a canine seat belt is an option:

With larger dogs, you’ll find that a harness/connector belt works very well. Note that there are 2 parts to this. The harness, which distributes pressure over the shoulders, chest and back (not the neck), and the connector strap which connects the harness to the car’s seat belt. 

If your Poodle already has a great harness, you can opt just for the connector belt. Or, you can obtain the set of both the harness and the connecting strap. 

Recommended Car Seats for Poodles

Below are our top recommendations for car booster seats for toy Poodles, miniatures, and young standards. The first booster seat is for toy Poodles and any variety under 25 lbs. The larger booster seat is for dogs up to 45 lbs. The connector belt options (with or without harness) are for larger standards. 

If you do not see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4. 
And if your Poodle does not have a harness yet, you'll want your puppy or dog to have one, since this is needed for both a canine car seat or belt (unless you obtain the harness/belt matching set).

Below are our top recommendations. The Lil' Pals is perfect for toy Poodles, and the others are comfortable choices for all varieties (available in sizes extra-small to extra-large). 

If you do not see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4. 

Extra Tips

There are a few more things that can help keep your Poodle both safe and happy:

1. The safest place for your dog's car seat is the middle of the back seat.  It is passenger air bags that can make the front seat dangerous. If, however, you do want your Poodle up front, you'll want to disable the passenger air bags and slide the seat as far back as possible. 

2. Always bring along water, even for a short trip. You can offer this to your Poodle when you take a break (for any ride over 30 mins) or once you've reached your destination. 

3. If your Poodle really dislikes the car, all of the previous tips should help. However, you can also train your Poodle to look forward to the car by taking some trips with a fun destination. This can be the dog park, a new area like a lake shore to go exploring, or a pet supply store to pick up a goodie. 
You May Also Like:
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Top Poodle Care Tips - A great round-up of the 9 most important care tips. How many are you following? 
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