Travel sickness is a common problem for our doggies.
What should be an absorbing and alluring adventure can quickly become a nauseating nightmare for our four-legged friends.
We’ve all spotted those inquisitive canines with their head peeping out of the window while the wind sweeps through their hair.
But those poor pups that are unable to manage the motion – and quickly recoil into an anxious ball while nestled in the back seat – aren’t as easy to spot.
Being out on the open road, and fearing every twist and turn, can be quite a traumatic experience for our sensitive sidekicks.
It is, however, completely natural, especially in puppies, and it’s a condition that they’re likely to grow out of eventually.
There are also ways that pet parents can help take the dread out of car journeys, which we’ll take a closer look at.
5 of the best ways to help your dog with motion sickness
- Change their mindset: Dogs normally associate car journeys with unpleasant destinations such as trips to the vets, boarding kennels or even the groomers, which can fill them with trepidation. It’s important to try and banish these negative connotations by relieving stress; perhaps by filling the car with toys and treats or simply by introducing them to short drives that result in a walk and a reward.
- Change their view: Motion sickness in dogs can result from conflicting sensory signals. Allowing your dog to view the moving world from the window can help their eyes and vestibular system coordinate, which alleviates the sense of nausea. Opening the windows slightly, and allowing in some fresh air, can also help their equilibrium.
- Car safety restraints: Remember, safety first, at all times, whether your prized pet suffers from travel sickness or not! Heightening your canine’s contentment by making them feel secure in a car seat, harness or a travel crate can really help. Ensuring they’re comfortable, while reducing the risk of sudden movement, will ease their demeanour.
- Time meals: Try to fill your dog’s tummy well in advance – around two to three hours – of making any journey. The chances of your pup feeling queasy, or reaching the stage where they need to vomit, will reduce significantly if their belly is empty and has had the opportunity to settle. Water, however, is a suitable alternative, because it can help settle an iffy tummy.
- Anti-anxiety remedies: There are plenty of products, medications and home remedies that you can experiment with. Pheromone collars, calming supplements and compression coats are all options while herbal and natural remedies are also available. You can also speak to your vet about prescription anti-sickness medicines.
Can motion sickness be fully cured?
Not all dogs are fortunate enough to gain immunity from motion sickness, but there are treatments available for those canines that couldn’t be reconditioned.
Most of our four-legged friends will eventually outgrow the disorder, they’ll simply become accustomed to the motion of travelling in a vehicle, courtesy of the help provided by their pet parents.
Natural remedies such as ginger and adaptil have been anecdotally proven to help treat nausea and vomiting in dogs, with the latter coming in the form of a calming pheromone that can limit stress.
A range of calming supplements are also readily available, lavender is an aromatherapy option that can be used in spray form while CBD (cannabidiol), which comes in various guises, is now more widely accessible.
And, to round things off, there are several pharmaceutical options for combating motion sickness in our flustered little fur babies. Cerenia, Meclizine, Benadryl and Dramamine are all over-the-counter options that can be used to address motion sickness in dogs.
Should I seek veterinary support for motion sickness?
If in doubt, give your vet a shout!
When you’ve tried everything humanly possible, but a cure for your canine has proved elusive, then sourcing a remedy should be left to an expert.
It’s important to explore all avenues, while appreciating that time is of the essence, because motion sickness can worsen if it’s not treated properly.
Consult your vet if your pet’s condition worsens. If you believe that prescription medicines might be the way forward, they’re always more than happy to help.
Motion sickness – the telltale signs
As a doting pet parent, it always pays to be diligent and vigilant when it comes to spotting the signs of motion sickness and/or a dog’s fear to travel.
Their reluctance to enter a vehicle might be reflected by excessive barking or whimpering, it could manifest itself as uncontrollable shaking, defecation or pulling away and downright refusing to play ball.
Nausea during the journey could be demonstrated by excessive lip licking, yawning, panting, trembling, drooling, whining or – perhaps the most tell-tale sign – vomiting. Keep an eye out for any of these symptoms and respond accordingly.