Traveling with your dog is always a fun experience. It is an opportunity to take your dog out and experience what it feels like to be out on the road. Unfortunately, not all dogs do well on a car trip. It is common for dogs to experience car sickness when riding in the car. This could be a very unpleasant experience for your pet and might affect how they see a car ride. The good news is that there are ways to eliminate your pet's car sickness.
What Causes Motion Sickness
Dog motion sickness is common in puppies and younger dogs. It is a rare occurrence for senior dogs because a younger dog's ear structures that are used to balance aren't fully developed yet. Puppies often outgrow their car sickness as they grow older. A more common reason for your dog getting car sick is stress. The destination will make your dog so worried that they will get car sick.
Adult dogs can get car sick too because of lack of conditioning or the overwhelming stimuli associated with a moving vehicle. Dogs that travel only a few times a year could also develop motion sickness.
Some dogs may have medical conditions that cause them to have motion sickness. This could either be middle or inner ear infections. It can also be a vestibular disease that could cause your dog to feel car sick.
A mental, emotional or physical trauma related to a car ride can also cause your pet to get car sick.
How Can I Tell if My Dog is Getting Motion Sickness
When we are nauseous or car sick, we get pale. Our stomach will feel upset when we vomit. The symptom is also similar to dogs. However, we can't tell right away due to the fact that they can't speak. Look for these subtle signs as these can tell you right away if your pet is getting motion sickness.
- Your dog starts licking their lips.
- The drool is heavier than the usual.
- They start to feel anxious.
- Non-stop whining.
- They feel uneasy.
- Sudden lack of activity.
How to Treat Motion Sickness
The best way to treat motion sickness is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The first step is to make sure that your dog is comfortable during a car trip. Most of the dog's car sickness episodes often come from the stress, not the motion. If you do not take action to treat your dog's car sickness, they will associate car traveling with anxiety; thus more vomiting scenarios. For instance, if you normally take them to the vet when you do car rides with them, this makes them worried, anxious; therefore, causing motion sickness.
Here are some ways to treat motion sickness:
Change the way your dog feels about car travel. Puppies associate sick feelings with what they expect would happen at the end of the trip. Instead of going straight home after a visit to the vet, visit a dog park first. Play with your dog and make the park visit more enjoyable. Make sure that you have someone with you to help calm or entertain your pet during the ride.
Make your car a dog-friendly place. Put treats or toys that they can only get when inside the car. Teach your dog that being in a car has a lot of benefits by giving treats and praises when they've done a good job.
Your dog should be on an empty stomach before the ride. This means that you'll have to skip a meal of your dog's feeding schedule. Do not give your dog food to eat 6 to 8 hours before the right. Instead of giving them solid foods, give them some water.
Hours and hours of long car rides could be tedious to your pet. Have frequent stops to prevent motion sickness. A good rule of the thumb is to take one or two hours of break intervals. Let your dog out and have potty breaks. This is also the time where you can give him snacks and drink water.
If your dog is traveling on a crate, check where you place the crate and how your dog is feeling on that spot. Some dogs feel more comfortable if they are on the compartment area of an SUV while other dogs feel more comfortable when they are at the back seat. Most smaller dogs love to be on the floor where they can see the driver.
Bring a traveling companion with you. This helps distract your dog. Your traveling companion should play with your dog, so bring your dog's favorite toys along the trip.
Keep the car cool by opening the windows a bit or turn on the air conditioning unit of the car. When driving with the windows down, do not put it all the way down. Put it down just enough to let the air in. It is not advisable to have them stick their head out the window. However, if it makes them feel comfortable let them but make sure that they are secured in harness. It's also a good idea to invest a pair of dog goggles to protect their eyes from flying debris.
Try to change your vehicle. Perhaps your dog will feel less car sick when there is enough room.
If these methods don't work, try these remedies:
Talk to your vet about a medication that is specifically formulated to prevent car sickness. Cerenia is a drug that is developed specifically in preventing motion sickness. It is safe, effective and does not have side effects like drowsiness. Give your dog Cerenia 2 hours before you travel.
Aromatherapy is another great remedy for car sickness. Lavender, for example, has been known to reduce anxiety in dogs. It is not proven to reduce motion car sickness, but when your dog is calm and not anxious, your dog won't get car sick.
Ginger can help reduce motion sickness. Feed your dog a ginger snap before the trip and your dog won't feel car sick at all.
Always be prepared when you go out on car rides with your pet. Ensure that your furry companion is as comfortable as you are when you travel with them.