11 valuable tips to keep your dog from getting motion sickness
I once drove to a business meeting with a colleague in his car. I have a fairly strong vestibular apparatus, but the way he drove, too fast and too abrupt, ruined my well-being for the rest of the day. When I shared my observation about his driving style with him, he was not at all surprised. He even remarked with some bravado that I haven’t seen his dog when they go to the cottage. Here she literally vomits after every trip.
After that incident, I wondered if there are ways to help our four-legged friends tolerate such trips easier, because traveling in a car can not only be stressful for your pet, but also affect their health.
The first thing to know is that pet motion sickness in the car is not from the movement, but primarily from the stress of a) moving away from home and c) the way the pet is driving.
Here are 11 valuable tips to reduce the negative effects of motion sickness in the car:
1. use the RIGHT carry.
Purchase and use a carrier for car trips. The carrier is designed for your pet’s comfort and rest during transport. The walls of the carrier should protect your dog from the new unknown environment. He will experience less stress and fear. Make him feel at home by putting his usual things: a mat, a toy, a bowl or a water bowl if the walls allow it.
2. Develop a Habit.
Encourage the use of a carrier or cage for your pet’s transportation at home before the trip, so that being in it is not stressful for your pet. A treat is great for coaxing your pet into the carrier or crate. IMPORTANT, when training, always leave the door of the carrier open, allowing your pet to come in/out whenever he/she wants. Sure, it will take some time, but your pet needs to understand that their carrier or crate is a comfortable and safe place.
3. training journeys.
Start taking short but frequent car rides with your pet. At first, the rides may be a minute or two long. Then move on to longer periods of time. If there is a park near your home, say 5-10 minutes from your home, and you usually walk there, take the car to the park for exercise purposes.
Walk with your four-legged friend in the park as much as possible, but not for a long time. Play with your pet, such as using a ball or a flying disk, to leave a pleasant impression after the trip.
Pets are subject to habits. These practice car rides for your pet will be associated with an enjoyable time and special attention from the owner. Always praise your pet for good behavior and never punish them, do not raise your voice in the car if your pet shows signs of fear, stress or aggression. Just reassure him or her. If he doesn’t stop feeling unwell, take your dog to the vet as there may be a medical problem that is not psychological in nature.
4. Travel on an Empty Stomach
Before a long trip (travel), it is better not to feed your four-legged friend at least 2 hours before such a trip, better 4. However, access to water must be, so if there is a possibility to buy a carrier in which you can fix a container of water, it is better to buy it.
At the same time, if your pet has medical conditions for feeding, it is better not to neglect them and feed your pet a little, even before the trip. Be sure to consult your veterinarian.
5. Make more frequent stops.
While some pets can tolerate long car rides well, others, on the other hand, become nauseous after a few miles. Therefore, it is best to make short but frequent stops, at least once every hour or two, to walk around a bit. This will help improve your pet’s well-being.
6. TAKE your pet out of the way.
If you are traveling as a family, one effective method can be to distract your pet during the trip. One member of the family can pet, talk to the pet. Any favorite toy, even an old sock, in other words any extra attention will be effective in dealing with your pet’s ill health.
7. BE IN THE FRONT SEAT
That’s right! Not only does it help humans with motion sickness, but your pet has an easier time riding in the car when he’s in the front seat. And that’s because the motion in the back of the car feels much stronger (“wiggling harder,” to put it simply). Try to position your pet so he is facing the road. But make sure the pet is in a carrier that is securely fastened or the dog is strapped in with a special car seat belt for pets in the car (sold in stores).
8. WARNING on the road.
Pets, like people, are less likely to get carsick if they can look at the road. Therefore, you can purchase special pet car seats that allow small to medium sized pets to be elevated so that they can look out the window while remaining securely fastened with seat belts.
9. OPEN the window.
Fresh air is good for anyone who gets carsick in the car, including your dog or cat. So you may want to open the window slightly, but don’t open it too much. It is not recommended for your dog or cat to lean out the window while driving, it is very harmful for the pet’s eyes.
Do not smoke in the car, do not use strong smelling air fresheners, and it is better not to use perfume for the trip.
10. Use TABLES.
When all other remedies don’t work, you can and should use motion sickness pills. Dramamine is the best known. People take them for motion sickness as well. Medium to large dogs should be given 25 to 50 milligrams of Dramamine at least one hour before a car trip, cats and small dogs should get about 12.5 milligrams. BUT be sure to consult your veterinarian before giving your pet any medication. That said, if you can find a more natural (herbal) medicine, it will be better. You can also try a more holistic approach, give ginger, chamomile or peppermint. But it’s best to experiment before the trip to make sure your pet can tolerate these herbs.
11. BIGGER car
Finally, if possible, try a larger vehicle. A larger vehicle is more stable and may be less seasick for both humans and animals.
Why a dog gets car sick and how to help him
Some pets just love car rides, while others get sick even on short rides, and owners wonder why their dog gets carsick and how to help him. After all, you can’t cancel vet or groomer visits, and you sometimes want to go to the woods in the summer and take your dog with you for a walk.
Why does the dog get seasick?
The problem of seasickness in transport is not only common for people, but also for pets. The dog may vomit, vomiting, increased salivation. The pet begins to breathe frequently, usually with the mouth, constantly swallowing saliva, licking the nose. Breathing becomes more rapid, the dog looks haggard, unhealthy. A trip turns into torture for both the animal and its owner.
Puppies under one year of age, whose vestibular system is not yet fully developed, are the most frequently affected by motion sickness and vomiting in the car. Veterinarians associate kinetosis with bouts of vertigo. From the vestibular apparatus, which is in the dog’s inner ear, the signal goes to the brain. The organ processes the information and commands the muscles of the body to restore balance.
At the same time, the brain picks up signals from the vision organ. The brain tries to analyze the information received: the dog sees stationary objects inside the car, but when it shifts its gaze to the window, the surrounding objects are moving. There is an imbalance between vision (which perceives static) and the brain (which receives information about movement).
Often motion sickness has a psychological cause – when the puppy’s first ride in the car was associated with a negative experience.
For example, the puppy was taken by car to the vet for the first time, they gave him an injection there, took tests – in short, caused pain. Or the puppies were taken out into the woods to be abandoned there. The puppies were rescued, but his memories of the hungry and cold days and nights will be associated with the car ride for a long time.
With age, motion sickness (as motion sickness is called in science) may pass by itself, if its cause was only the imperfection of the vestibular apparatus of the animal. But often the problem becomes a behavioral one. And then even approaching a car can cause panic fear in the dog.
How to treat kinetosis
Recommendations of specialists depend on what caused motion sickness. If the puppy is young, or if motion sickness is caused by health problems, the veterinarian may prescribe special medications, such as Serenium. If strong medications are not necessary, soothing drops and tablets based on natural ingredients are recommended.
Calming veterinary medicine contains phenibut, promethazine and natural components – motherwort and valerian roots, royal jelly (source of vitamins and amino acids). The drug normalizes the behavior of the pet, reduces fearfulness, relieves the symptoms of motion sickness (prevents attacks of vomiting, increased salivation).
The drug is available in several forms, the dosage depends on the size of the animal, recommendations on the choice and dosage should give the veterinarian.
Nausea and motion sickness tablets contain L-tryptophan, calcium carbonate, vitamins and minerals. Natural anti-stress medication relieves nervousness and fear, stops the attacks of nausea during the trip in transport. The amino acid L-tryptophan stimulates the production of serotonin, the hormone of happiness.
The action of the drug begins after 1-2 hours and lasts for 6-8 hours, so even long trips will be calm and for the pet and its owner.
Tablets based on cyclizine hydrochloride, are used when pets are sick while traveling by car, airplane, suppresses the signs of seasickness. The active ingredient inhibits the action of histamine in the smooth and bronchial muscles, gastrointestinal tract.
The tablets may be given to the dog half an hour before the trip, the effect lasts up to 5-6 hours, if necessary, you can give the drug up to three times a day, the dosage depends on the weight of the dog and is calculated by the veterinarian individually.
The drops contain phenibut, aqueous extracts of medicinal plants with calming properties (motherwort, mint, valerian, peony, hops, Baikal skullcap). The drug helps to reduce feelings of anxiety, fear, and improves the functional state of the brain.
Any medication, even based on natural components, can be given to animals only after consultation with a veterinarian.