Motion sickness in dogs is a common problem, so we have put together a couple of tips and tricks on how you can save your self from having to clean up your dogs regurgitated meal. Plus, helping your dog overcome the stress and anxiety of travel will mean that you can travel more together!
Symptoms of motion sickness in dogs
Keep a look out for the following symptoms in your pooch:
- Sluggishness and lethargy
- Excessive drooling
- Smacking/licking lips
Causes of motion sickness in dogs
Car motion sickness in dogs is more commonly seen in puppies and young dogs rather than older dogs. This is due to the ear structure in puppies being less developed, causing unbalance.
Here are a couple of other reasons why your dog may be getting motion sickness in the car.
- Your dog is not used to cars or associates them with a stressful experience, such as a trip to the vet.
- Your dog experienced a traumatic first car ride experience as a puppy.
- Your dog has a medical condition such as such as middle or inner ear infections or vestibular disease.
- Your dog is taking medication that may be causing side effects such as vomiting or diarrhea.
- Your dog is not comfortable or stressed in the car due to environmental factors such as loud music, heat or humidity in the car, uncomfortable seating e.g.
How to tackle motion sickness in dogs
There are a couple of strategies and methods to tackle motion sickness in your dog. Depending on your dogs needs and circumstanced try out the following.
Travelling in the car more frequently
The best way to get your dog more used to car travel is by taking frequent short trips in the car. If your dog is extremely sensitiveness to vehicles start from the very bottom and work your way up.
Start by simply placing your dog in the car, starting the motor, and sitting together in the car (without moving) for a couple of minutes. Repeat this process for a few days and then gradually take it up a notch and go for a short drive around the block. Once you feel your dog is more comfortable you can take them on longer drives or maybe go to the park /beach.
Tips you should keep in mind when conditioning your dog to car travel
- Make sure to give plenty of praise and a nice treat for good behavior.
- Be sure to maintain a calm attitude as dogs can sense your fear or stress, which will make the situation worse.
- An empty stomach may help reduce the risk of your dog vomiting in the car during your test runs.
- Use a carrier or safe harness to make sure your dog is secured and comfortable. You don’t want a nervous pup jumping around and potentially causing you an accident whilst driving.
- Bring some familiar smells such as blanket, doggy beg or even a t-shirt with your scent on it. This will help calm down your pup and provide comfort.
- Keep the car cool and play some gentle calming music.
- Have a special toy/s that your dog enjoys and only has access to in the car.
- Lower your car windows a bit whilst the car is moving. This will help balance the air pressure inside the car with the air pressure outside, which may help decrease your dog’s discomfort.
- See if your dog is more comfortable when facing forward.
If the above methods didn’t work for you then it may be best to talk to your veterinarian about using some natural remedies. Calming herbs such as lavender, passionflower, kava, skullcap, valerian, and ginger are available. Dog pheromone (Adaptil®) may also be an option.
So you have tried all the above and your dog is still getting motion sickness? In this case, consult with your local vet and ask them about your options. There are a variety of medications (over-the-counter and prescription) that may reduce your dog’s motion sickness symptoms. These may include:
- Anti-nausea drugs
- Antihistamines, which can lessen dog motion sickness, reduce drooling, and offer sedation
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- Prescription drugs, which reduce vomiting and provide sedation