Just like many of us, dogs can suffer from motion sickness when they travel by car. Carsickness occurs due to the stimulation of the motion receptors found inside the ears. These receptors are stimulated by any type of motion, but when dogs are in a car and their body is not moving, the brain receives mixed signals and that is when motion sickness occurs.
Many pets travel by car either for fun trips or to accompany their parents to different types of events. However, it can be very inconvenient to travel with a dog who suffers from motion sickness because it is likely that they will throw up in the car. In addition, the experience can be quite uncomfortable for your dog.
In most cases, motion sickness occurs when dogs are not used to traveling in cars and most dogs can get used to the car-traveling experience.
Motion sickness is most common in puppies because their motion receptors are more sensible than those of adult dogs. Most puppies will “outgrow” motion sickness by the time they reach adulthood – at about 1 year of age.
What are the signs of motion sickness in dogs?
- Lethargy or inactivity
- Constant yawing
Tips to Deal with Motion Sickness in Dogs
- Take your dog on short trips. Although dog motion sickness can happen even during short car rides, it is a good idea to start taking your dog on short frequent trips until he gets used to traveling by car. Pay close attention to your dog during his first trips, if you notice that he is painting, salivating or seems like he is about to vomit, stop the car and take him on short walk.
- Do not feed your dog before the trip. It is a good idea to withhold food 12 hours before the trip. If your dog has an empty stomach he is less likely to experience nausea and vomiting. This is especially helpful for long trips because your dog will be able to stay in the car without having to urinate or defecate for longer periods of time. However, do not leave your dog without food in her stomach for more than 8 hours.
- Make frequent stops. If you are traveling a long distance with your dog, you should try to stop every 2 to 4 hours to let him drink some water and walk. This is will make the traveling experience more enjoyable for your dog.
- Bring some else on the trip. Having someone near your dog during the trip can be very helpful because your dog will be less stressed. Ask this person to pet your dog as needed and to prevent her from moving around the car. In addition, a travel companion can let you know if your dog is not feeling well so you can stop the car and take her on a walk.
- Give an anti-nausea medication before the trip. For those dogs who have a hard time getting used to traveling by car, it may be necessary to give an anti-nausea medication, such as Cerenia and Dramamine. Or try a more holistic approach and give a soft chew that contains natural ingredients such as chamomile and ginger. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a medication that is suitable for your pet.
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