How to Help Dogs With Car Sickness Effectively
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Are you looking for how to help dogs with car sickness? If yes, you will be glad you stopped here.
Traveling with your dog is not usually easy. Whether you are going to the vet or just a ride around town, you can end up having a pretty stressful car ride. One reason people leave their dogs behind during car trips is, you guessed right, dog motion sickness.
Don't leave your dog behind; that's not the solution. Carry them along; the solution is to help them manage the dog car sickness. I know you, too, want to bring your dog to the park or have an easy time driving to the vet. So, how do you fix dog car sickness?
Find out below.
What Causes Dog Motion Sickness
If you experience motion sickness in your dogs, you are probably wondering what causes it. I discuss them below.
Not Fully Developed Inner Ears
You will realize puppies and young dogs are more affected during car rides. Why is this? It's because the inner ear of the young dogs is not fully developed. If this part responsible for body balance is not fully developed, your dog will have problems during car rides. Luckily, as they grow, the inner ears will develop well, and they may outgrow motion sickness (1).
However, dogs can have ear infections or vestibular diseases in their inner ear. These trigger nausea and vomiting on the dog seat covers during the car rides.
Anxiety and Stress
For adult dogs, the most common reason for motion sickness is anxiety. If the only time you have a car ride with your dog is a ride to the veterinarian, that's a reason enough for them to develop motion sickness. Many dogs will know they may soon be receiving the injections, and they will freak out.
Sign and Symptoms of Car Sickness in Dogs
How will you identify that your dog is getting motion sickness? Keep a keen eye on these signs and symptoms:
- whining and pacing
- excessive drooling
- smacking or licking lips
- lethargy or inactivity
- Trembling and shaking
- Excessive panting
If your dog exhibits any of these during road trips, you need to help your dog outgrow motion sickness.
How To Help Dogs With Motion Sickness
You don't have to leave your pet behind because of motion sickness. You can help prevent motion sickness. This way, your pet will have an easier time, and you will enjoy his or her company while hitting the road.
Here is how to prevent car sickness in dogs.
Withhold Food for 12 Hours Before Journey
Don't feed your dog shortly before you travel. Its recommended that you withhold food for 12 hours before travel (2). If the stomach is empty, you cut down on chances of nausea and vomiting, which are usually the most popular signs and symptoms of motion sickness in dogs.
Allow Your Dog To See Outside The Window
Seeing outside the window will help your dog coordinate well on what's happening. There must be a coordination between their vestibular system and their eyes. Next time you are on a road trip with your canine passengers, ensure they are well secured with their seat belts but can comfortably see the outside without pooping their head out of the windows.
Use Car Safety Restraints
Car safety restraints are the right way of containing and preventing motion sickness. You can use the restraint safety belts to control the direction the dog faces. It is usually better for them to face the outside rather than the front. However, many people opt for a travel crate, which helps contain the dog. Also, should your dog get sick, a travel crate can contain the vomit.
But, be sure to bring along dog seat covers, just in case your dog vomits or drools too much.
Keep the Car Cool and Quiet
If the ambiance in the car is agitated, your dog will be anxious and more stressed. If you have children coming in the car rides, urge them to help keep the car calm and quiet for the dog.
Also, lower the window a little. This will allow fresh air in and balance the pressure in the car with the outside air pressure. A balanced air pressure helps reduce the chances of upsetting the stomach.
Include Your Home's Scent to The Car
You can carry along a dog blanket with a home scent in your dog carrier or travel crate. This will help the dog feel relaxed and more at home; because of the home scent it is already used to.
You can also bring along cute dog seat covers, just to make everything even more playful for your puppy.
Have Travel Toys
Have toys just set aside for car rides. Having something to play with will help minimize travel anxiety. Also, this way, your dog will associate travel and fun. No dog will not cheer up to new toys.
Take Breaks During The Ride
If you are taking long road trips, be sure to take a break after every two hours. Walk around with your dog, or have some play. A little exercise and movement out of the car will help pets kill their anxiety and regain comfort.
Conditioning Your Dog to Car Trips
Using positive reinforcement will help your dog get comfortable while traveling.
Here are some of the ways you can positively reinforce your dog for car trips:
- Show him that car rides can be fun by taking rides to places they love, such as the park
- Try riding in a different car from the one he is used to
- Ensure you have only-car toys; this will make him look forward to car rides
Medication for Dog Motion Sickness
Some dogs will get adapted, and outgrow motion sickness. However, some, even as they age, they will not get over travel anxiety. If your dog doesn't get over it, there is no hope lost. You can go ahead and seek a dog car sickness remedy.
You can get a natural dog car sickness remedy or dog car sickness medication that I discuss below. You can get these over the counter. However, it is always safer to talk to your veterinarian and get prescription medication for dog car sickness.
Here are possible medications to help your dog get over travel anxiety.
Cerenia is the most popular anti-nausea medication for dog car sickness. Cerenia is prescription based. The other drugs that can help your dog with vomiting during trips include:
- Dimenhydrinate (Gravol or Dramamine)
- Meclizine( Bonine and Antivert)
A single dose of cerenia will help your dog manage motion sickness for up to 24 hours. Speak to your veterinarian about meclizine for dogs. These will only treat vomiting and nausea and not anxiety.
Anti- Anxiety Medications
If your pet looks stressed or generally unhappy, one of the treatment options you could explore is anti-anxiety medications. The most common anti-anxiety drug for dog car sickness is Alprazolam, which is given to too stressed dogs.
Usually, the prescription will be given to the dog the night before travel. Another dose will follow 12 hours later. Your veterinarian may recommend you give another dose two hours before the journey. Some doses may even start a week before travel. Make sure you follow the prescription recommended your veterinarian.
Ginger has been used for a long time to prevent nausea and vomiting. It is also suitable for aiding the digestion process, not just in dogs but also in humans. There are no concrete studies that show how ginger may help suppress nausea and vomiting in dogs with car sickness. However,m a lot of vets and pet owners will swear by this natural remedy. You can talk to your vet about using ginger as a dog car sickness remedy and see the direction it takes. After all, ginger is a natural remedy and should have no harmful side effects on your dog.
Your vet should guide you on dosage or even recommend ginger supplements. If you go the supplement way, make sure it does not have xylitol.
Some people have experience giving their dogs CBD to treat motion sickness. However, just like ginger, there is no concrete research showing how CBD can cure motion sickness in pets. Many people and even vets would recommend CBD. But, it may interfere with the medication your pets are on. Therefore, be sure to consult your vet before administering CBD. Over-the-counter CBD can cause more harm than benefits.
Just like humans, your dog can have dog motion sickness. The signs and symptoms will be evident in many dogs. As you travel, watch out for these signs, especially among puppies. If you notice the signs, you can always work to make your dogs enjoy the rides. There is no good reason to leave your best friend at in the house when you can enjoy your companionship wherever you are going. Use the above tips to make your dog comfortable in their car seat. If you see no improvements, seek dog car sickness medicine.
Take action, and watch those trips with your dog turn from scary to thrilling!