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Car Seats

Traveling in the Car with Your Maltipoo - Motion Sickness, Car Seats, and More


If you own a car, chances are that you’re Maltipoo has been driven in it. This may be for intended fun, such as getting to a dog park or taking your dog to visit friends. Or it may be for necessities, such as going to the groomers or the vet’s office.

While driving around with your Maltipoo comes rather close to a ‘must’ for many of us, it is not without challenges. Car sickness, disliking the car, and safety are all top concerns. 

For this reason, this section will cover:

• Most common reasons why a Maltipoo may seem to hate the car
• Signs and symptoms of car sickness with dogs
• The top 7 cures for motion sickness
• The vital importance of keeping your Maltipoo safe
* Do you already have everything covered, and just want to know more about which car seats are best? Jump to Recommended Car Seats and Harnesses for Maltipoos.

Why Does My Maltipoo Hate the Car?

If your Maltipoo puppy or dog resists getting in the car, panics as you place him in, spends the entire trip whining or barking, and finally dashes out at the end of the journey as if he’s shocked that he survived the event, you may be wondering what is happening, and how to prevent it.
cute Maltipoo wearing a shirt
Lola, at 10 months old (6.5 lbs.),
photo courtesy of Misty Eaton
There are 2 top reasons for hating the car:

Car sickness – If you’ve never experienced this, consider yourself lucky. It’s a horribly nauseating, dizzying, and disorientating acute condition that comes on with little warning and is awfully hard to cure until the car stops moving and you’re outside of it. 

Dogs that get car sick not only suffer during the drive, but also remember the experience and will resist being placed into the same situation again. It doesn’t take many rides for a Maltipoo to develop a phobia of the car; and really, who can blame them? 

Overall unpleasant experience – Even without the nausea, vomiting, drooling, and other issues surrounding motion sickness, a dog can be terribly uncomfortable. Having their body sway with each turn, and lurch backward with each stop can be very frustrating.

They may be feeling restless, a bit trapped, and just want to be back home where they are able to feel free. 

Fortunately, there are answers to help a dog be much more comfortable and happy, even with long car trips. 

About Car Sickness

Symptoms of Car Sickness

A Maltipoo may experience one, some, or all of the following: 
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Whining
  • Change in behavior; restlessness or inactivity
  • Repetitive lip smacking
  • Looped yawning
What Causes a Maltipoo to Become Car Sick

There are several factors involved:
  • This most often develops due to a disconnect between what the eyes see, what the inner ears sense, and what the body feels. A dog’s eyes are seeing the inside of the car (no movement), but the inner ears (related to balance) and body are sensing movement. 
  • Age can play a role; a young puppy’s inner ear structures are not fully developed, thus often making car sickness more pronounced. For this reason, feeling queasy when traveling may improve somewhat as the pup matures. 
  • Many elements can increase or decrease how sick a dog feels including speed, terrain, straight vs curved roads, temperature, air flow, eating vs not eating beforehand, and last but not least, positioning of the dog. 

The 7 Steps to Help Prevent a Maltipoo from Getting Car Sick

Maltipoo in forest
Teddi, at 1 year old,
photo courtesy of Hannah Birke 
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to lessen or even completely resolve motion sickness; you will want to consider implementing most, if not all, of these remedies for the best results. 

1. Use a car seat. This has many benefits that not only help cure motion sickness, but can also save your Maltipoo’s life:
  • Allows for line-of-sight. This is a key component. When positioned high enough, a Maltipoo will be able to have a clear view out of both the front and side windows. 
  • Keeps the body stable. Each time you brake, accelerate, or take turns, an unrestrained dog will be forced to bear the pressure and weight of those maneuvers. However, a car seat offers a sturdy structure that not only keeps a dog in place, but also offers four secure walls to limit involuntary movement. 
  • Keeps a dog closer to partially opened windows. Having fresh air coming into the car is one of the methods of reducing car sickness. However, opening all of the windows is often too much for a small dog like the Maltipoo. When in a raised car seat, a Maltipoo will have his face closer to windows opened to some degree (depending on the weather). 
  • Protects from severe bodily harm and fatal injuries. Even in slow-moving accidents, dogs can be terrible injured. And, this happens much more often than you may think. If you’d buckle up a child, you should buckle up your Maltipoo. We'll cover more about this ahead. 
First, let's continue to go over the best remedies for car sickness, and then dive into important facts regarding how to choose the best type of car seat for this breed and safety factors.
2. Regulate temperate inside the car. Most dogs do best when the air inside the car is slightly cool. In the summer, use the AC to cool off the car before placing your Maltipoo in (also needed to help prevent burns from hot surfaces inside the car). And in the winter, do not over crank the heat. 

3. Keep fresh air moving in. While driving with both the AC and the windows open is not the most fuel efficient method, it does help dogs feel better. Fully open windows are often too overwhelming for small dogs. Depending on your speed and the weather, have windows 1/4 to 1/2 open. 

4. Time meals. Your Maltipoo may do best if he does not eat within 1 to 2 hours of a car trip. Snacks can be given (next tip); however, full meals can increase nausea and vomiting. 
Maltipoo on birthday
Evie, on her 1st birthday,
photo courtesy of Olivia Rose
 5. Do give a snack. There are 2 types of treats that can help:

A few small dry treats, given 15 minutes before heading out, can help cushion the stomach to cut down on stomach acid churning around and bile rising up. As always, keep standards high; one like Old Mother Hubbard's Classic Crunchy Mini Biscuits, which is one of our top recommended treats is 100% all natural and made in the USA. 

A small amount of sugar can help calm a queasy stomach. This works for people as well, and aside from motion sickness, it can also help with nausea due to infection, injury, or dehydration. 

There are a couple of ways to offer your Maltipoo a small dose of sugar. One is to offer 1/8 to 1/4 cup of 100% pure apple juice. You may mix this with water, if you wish. The other is to offer a jelly bean; but, do take care that it is made with real sugar and not a sugar substitute, which can be toxic to dogs. 

You’ll want to offer this about 15 minutes before your Maltipoo is placed into your car. 

6. Offer a safe anti-stress, anti-nausea supplement. There are all sorts of supplements for canines; some work very well and others not so much. 
For car sickness, there are some that are worth checking out. 

1) One that works to reduce a dog’s anxiety level and calm down the stomach is Deley Naturals Dog Anxiety Support and Calming Chews, which are all natural, made in the USA, has no chemical additives, and comes in flavorful chicken chews. 

This contains valerian root; this herbal remedy known for treating anxiety and stress. It also contains herbs that help with easing the stomach, including passion flower, chamomile, and ginger root. 

This works best when given 45 minutes before getting in the car. 
2) If your Maltipoo’s stomach is generally okay, but you’re looking for help in regard to keeping your dog calm, you'll see that Bach Flower Essences Rescue Remedy for Pets has worked well for many dogs. This is a liquid supplement with a little dropper, that contains a blend of flower extracts, and can be used in one of several ways. 

A few drops can be put into a dog’s water dish or on a treat, or a dog can lick this straight from the dropper. This works best when given 45 minutes to 1 hour before a car ride. 
7. Take breaks. Every dog that dislikes the car will reach a point at which car sickness or restlessness will eventually kick in. It’s just a matter of time, whether this is 20 minutes, an hour, or two hours. So, a big part of helping your Maltipoo learn to enjoy car trips is to take a break before it reaches this stage. 

If you are not sure when your Maltipoo will reach his limit, play it safe by stopping every 20 to 25 minutes. Pull over to safe area, have your dog on leash, let him stretch his legs, go to the bathroom, and have a small snack and a drink.

The Top 3 Benefits of Having a Car Seat for Your Maltipoo

Maltipoo dog in a pink stroller
Baby, at 2 and 1/2 years,
photo courtesy of Virginia Key
#1 It can help prevent car sickness. When you have the right type of seat, and position it correctly (more ahead), this is one of the top remedies for motion sickness. While we cannot prevent every type of discomfort that a dog may experience, this one can be resolved in many cases. 
#2 It allows you to bring your Maltipoo more places with you. Once you have your puppy or dog safe in the car, and are implementing methods to resolve motion sickness, there is no limit to where you can do. And taking your Maltipoo out into the world is a key part of socialization. 

Bring your dog to new dog parks, restaurants that allow dogshiking trails, lake shores, fairs, parades, flea markets, farmer’s markets, the beach, and any other place or event that will allow you and your Maltipoo to explore and see more of the world. 
#3 It can literally save your dog’s life. You wouldn’t let your dog run around through the neighborhood off leash, you wouldn’t place toxic food nearby for him to potentially ingest, and you wouldn’t give him a broken toy that’s a choking hazard. So, why would you risk your puppy or dog’s life by having him unbuckled and unrestrained in the car? 
It’s a huge gamble that can end in disastrous results. The 3 things you should know:

1. It’s impossible to say it won’t happen to you.

Each day in the US, there are 16,000+ vehicle accidents. The majority of them occur with 3 miles of home. The average American will be in 3 accidents during their lifetime. 

2. Unrestrained dogs increase the odds of an accident.

Every 1 in 5 crashes is due to distracted driving. What can happen in under 3 seconds? Looking away for just 1 second, doubles your odds of an accident. If you’re going 40 MPH and look away for 3 seconds, you will have traveled 1/2 the length of a football field with your eyes off the road.
black Maltipoo dog, female
Lulu, at 10 weeks old,
photo courtesy of Ruth Vidal 
A poll done by AAA and Kurgo of what happens when dog owners drive with their unrestrained pets showed 29% admit to being distracted by their dogs, 23% hold their dog in place while braking, 19% use a hand or arm while driving to try to keep their dog from moving around, and 17% allowed their dogs to sit on their laps.

3. Even slow-moving accidents can cause horrible injury, suffering, and even death. 

Unsecured objects are thrown with what is known as ‘crash force’ any time that a car gets into an accident, either hitting another car or a stationary object.

And it may surprise you what can happen to your dog. Going just 35 MPH, a 5-pound Maltipoo would be thrown with the force of a 175-pound projectile. If it’s a 10-pound dog, this increases to a shocking 350-pound projectile.
And did you know that an abrupt change in speed also injures the body? For example, if you’re driving along, and slam on the breaks to avoid another car, will you spare yourself and your dog injury? No. A 25 MPH change in speed is comparable to plummeting 20.5 feet off a two-story building.
Bottom line: If you’d buckle up a child, buckle up your Maltipoo ~

Choosing the Best Car Seat for Your Maltipoo

Let’s face it, a canine car seat is an investment; so, you’ll want to choose wisely. And the last thing you need is to have one that is hard to put in the car, too small, too big, or just plain uncomfortable. 

When you get your Maltipoo a car seat and start using it, it should be a positive experience, leaving you feeling proud to be protecting your dog, and with your dog much happier than before.

Here’s 4 things to look for:

1. Raised. The best type of car seat for both Maltipoo puppies and dogs is a raised booster seat. There are 2 types and both are effective. One is raised via belts that hang from the headrest of the car’s seats. The other is raised via an elevated base. 
small Maltipoo puppy curled up, tan color
Daisy, at 1 year old, photo courtesy of Mary Fikes 
2. Inner buckle harness connector. Just putting your Maltipoo in a car seat is not quite enough; you’ve got to secure him there for it to work. 

The inner back panel of the seat must have a harness connector buckle. This is to connect a short piece of buckle to the clip on your dog’s harness. Note that it is very dangerous to connect this to a dog’s collar, and doing so can cause great injury to the neck. 

3. Properly sized. You’ll want the seat to be designed for toy and small breed dogs. This ensures that the base and side panels are correctly spaced for optimal comfort and stability. 

If you have two Maltipoos, you may want to opt for a bench seat, which is designed to secure 2 dogs into one seat together, each with their own harness connector buckle. 

4. Quality manufacturing. The seat should be sturdy and durable. A good car seat for dogs will last at least 5 years, and some may be in great shape even 10 years in. 
Safety tip:

Just like with babies and little children, the safest spot for a dog is in the center of the back seat. This is because the air bag in the front of the car can cause injury if it is triggered. The rear passenger or driver side in the back is not as safe as the center (center is 43% safer for babies), due to possible side impact from the doors. 

If you do insist that your Maltipoo sit up front with you, it is suggested to bring the seat back as far as it can go, and to disable the air bags. 
Below are our recommended car seats for Maltipoos, including the safe and comfortable Kurgo Skybox Dog Booster Seat, that meets all of the elements we've covered, as well as one that is designed to hold 2 dogs at once.
Also note that we are including a top recommended harness, the The Original EcoBark Harness, which is super comfortable, adjustable, comes in 11 different colors or patterns, and can be found in sizes extra-small through large, fitting dogs 4 to 65 lbs. 

If you do not yet have one for your puppy or dog, since this will be needed in conjunction with the car seat. A harness is always recommended at any rate for your daily walks and any time that your Maltipoo is on leash to prevent possible neck injury and to afford you better control. 

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You May Also Like:
Maltipoo Grooming - A great overview of what you'll want to do to keep your puppy or dog super clean and looking great. 
Top Maltipoo Care Tips - A helpful overview for optimal health, comfort, safety, and happiness. 
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