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Dogs With Travel Sickness

 by michelle on 25 Aug 2014 |
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Just like humans, dogs can also suffer from travel or motion sickness. It’s likely that you found this out about your dog pretty quickly, assuming that all it took was a few car rides before your pup’s nausea kicked in. Including vomiting, here are some more signs that your dog is suffering from travel sickness:
 
  • Pacing
  • Whining
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea

The first step in curing your dog’s motion sickness is determining what’s the cause of it. Puppies and younger dogs are prone to travel sickness because parts of their inner ear structure important for balance have yet to fully develop. Although some dogs will grow out of this, others will be conditioned to think that car rides result in nausea.

Nerves and stress could also be making your dog sick. Consider this possibility especially if most of your car rides are to the vet.

Lastly, it’s also possible your dog is suffering from an ear infection which would result in a predisposition to nausea.


If your dog associates car rides with vomiting or trips to the vet, the best thing you can do is condition them to believe otherwise. Start with re-introducing your dog to the car by spending time in it with the engine off. Once your dog is ready, take them for brief rides up the street. Provide your dog with toys and a few treats to teach them that the car isn’t so bad after all. Eventually progress to longer rides, especially to places your dog enjoys such as the park. This overall approach will hopefully condition your dog to once again enjoy the car, and shake them of any negative associations they once had.

To prevent motion sickness, it’s also important that you make the car as comfortable as possible for your pooch. To begin with, your dog should be facing forward when you travel, which you can assure with a doggy seat belt. Also keep your car nice and cool, and crack the windows to balance the air pressure in your car with the pressure outside.

Other tips for success: 
  • Withhold food prior to travel
  • Play classical music
  • Bring the scent of home with you
  • Reserve certain toys for car rides
  • Provide access to water

If your dog is still getting travel sick, it’s best to consult your veterinarian about medications to reduce their symptoms. Antihistamines and anti-nausea medications are frequently prescribed for motion sickness. Your vet may also recommend home remedies that involve natural herbs.
 
Many dogs suffer from travel sickness, but fortunately there are ways to prevent it. Remember to be patient while trying to recondition your dog, and to always consult your veterinarian if you determine that medication is your only option.  
 

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