What Causes A Dog to Get Motion Sickness?
The three main causes of motion sickness in dogs are Age, Stress, and Medical Issues.
Puppies are more susceptible to motion sickness than adult dogs. Their equilibrium (ear structures that are used for balance) is not fully developed yet, which can cause motion sickness. As they mature, many puppies will outgrow motion sickness by the time they turn one.
Stress can cause motion sickness in dogs. Some dogs associate going on a car ride with going to the vet or a past traumatic travel experience, so they will literally worry themselves sick. This causes more anxiety, which can result in vomiting or diarrhea.
Some dogs may experience motion sickness if they have a pre-existing medical condition such as a near infection or vestibular disease that will make them nauseated.
Some dogs that are taking any current medications may become nauseous in a moving vehicle, which can cause vomiting or diarrhea.
Symptoms of Motion Sickness in Dogs
Vomiting and Diarrhea are some of the most disastrous symptoms of motion sickness, but there are a few more symptoms dog owners should be aware of.
- Constant Yawning or Panting
- Excessive Drooling
- Whining or Crying
- Excessive licking of lips
How to Help Prevent Motion Sickness in Dogs
If your dog is prone to motion sickness, trying the following methods to help alleviate your dog’s stress level.
1. Use a Dog Seatbelt
A dog seatbelt will not only help keep your dog safe and secure while traveling, but it will also keep them facing forward and sitting still.
2. Keep the Car Cool and Calm
Keeping your car a cooler temperature will help regulate your dog’s body temperature and keep them comfortable while going for a ride.
Lowering your car windows will help equalize the inside and outside air pressure.
Playing soothing music in the car will lower your dog’s anxiety and help them stay calm.
3. Limit your Dog’s Food Consumption Before Travel
By limiting your dog’s food intake, you will help reduce his chance of having diarrhea or vomiting while traveling.
4. Favorite Blanket or Toy
Taking your dog’s favorite blanket and toy along for the trip can keep them distracted and feeling more comfortable during the ride.
5. Take Frequent Breaks
If you know you are about to embark on a long trip with a dog that tends to get queasy, plan for multiple stops(at least every hour) to reduce the chances of motion sickness.
Your dog will enjoy stretching their legs and enjoying the fresh air.
How to Build Up Your Dog’s Tolerance
Over the next few days, help your dog get accustomed to car rides by gradually building up their tolerance. Spend some time with your dog in the car while the car is turned off.
Take short trips (about 10 minutes)around the block or to a nearby dog park.
Gradually increase the length of your car trips with your dog and reward them with verbal praise or a treat for a good experience.
Motion Sickness Supplements
If you need some more help with your dog’s motion sickness issues, your local vet can often recommend motion sickness medication to help your pup out.
Dramamine can be safely used on your dog for motion sickness symptoms. Ask your vet for the recommended dose and to confirm it is safe to give to your dog. This will depend on their health and any current medications they are taking.
Your vet may also prescribe the motion sickness medication, Cerenia. This medication is by prescription only.
Motion sickness, unfortunately, happens to dogs and humans. If you have tried several of the above-mentioned methods and they just aren’t working for your dog, the best solution may be to simply take a break from the car.
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