Is your dog car sick? Car sickness in humans often manifests most in children and young people, the same seems to be true for dogs. Puppies and younger dogs seem to be afflicted by car sickness more than older dogs, although this isn’t always the case.
Car sickness can be anything from a major problem to a minor inconvenience and your mileage, pun absolutely intended, may vary. Even the shortest trips could lead to problems with your pooch, but most people don’t know the ins and outs of dog car sickness.
What is the Cause of Car Sickness in Dogs?
So car sickness is basically motion sickness and the basic causes of each are roughly considered to be the same. The reason car sickness impacts puppies more frequently than older dogs is because it’s believed to be linked to the development of parts of the inner ear. Because these parts are not entirely grown in younger dogs, an imbalance may occur and lead to dizziness and motion sickness.
Vestibular and inner ear problems are often associated with motion sickness in people and animals. By the time most dogs grow up and their inner ear parts grow along with them, the cause of motion sickness disappears. This isn’t always the case, however.
In some older dogs, the sheer mass of stimuli involved in taking a ride in a car can lead to disorientation and motion sickness. This is especially true with dogs that don’t travel often, particularly with dogs who only get to go in the car when they go somewhere unpleasant like the veterinarian. If this is the case, your pet might form a negative association with the vehicle and may become sick as a result.
Also, dogs with inner ear problems or vestibular disease might experience car sickness as a symptom. Medications may also cause nausea and vomiting, which may be exacerbated by being in a moving vehicle.
Dog Car Sick Symptoms
You may think the answer to this question is rather obvious, but there are many symptoms of car sickness in dogs that go beyond the more apparent. Along with vomiting and nausea, signs of car sickness in your pet can include:
- Listlessness or inactivity
- Excessive drooling
- Licking or smacking lips
- Panting heavily
How Do I Prevent Car Sickness in Dogs?
So now, the million dollar question.
Preventing car sickness in dogs can require a number of solutions and some creativity on your behalf.
Know that there is no perfect answer and curing your fur baby of this affliction might require some trial and error.
One of the best ways to counter this sickness is actually by exposure. By taking several short and sweet trips, preferably to a desirable destination like a park, you can start desensitizing your pooch to the problem. You can even take things a step back by simply putting your pet in the car, starting the engine, and sitting perfectly still for a few minutes. This will familiarize your dog to the vehicle and the sounds, easing them into the experience of driving without the distraction of motion.
As you take your pet on trips, praise him or her and provide treats for a job well done. You want to form a positive association with the car. This is a process and it may require weeks or more, so remain calm and practice your patience skills. You will never force your dog to behave the right way, so ease your pet into a comfortable, safe space.
Some more practical tips include:
- Avoid feeding your dog a few hours before your trip. There are differing opinions on this, with some stating that avoiding food for just an hour or two will do the trick, while others recommending even as long as 12 hours. Either way, an empty stomach is the perfect foil for that inner urge to eject.
- Use a dog carrier or safety harness or dog seat belt. There are a number of reliable and comfortable devices you can use to safely secure your pet in your vehicle. Fitting is vital. Make sure your dog is as secure as possible without discomfort in the backseat and get him or her used to being in that space.
- Keep the car temperature cool and provide soft music or a quiet environment. Rocking out to your favorite jam might seem fun, but your pet might not share your affection for loud music and that may cause more problems than you know. It’s best to be as quiet as possible with your dog and avoid the urge to scream at other drivers.
- Bring something from home. Provide a blanket or a toy that reminds your pet of your house. This will forge a connection and create more associations with the safety and security of the car.
- Bring a special toy. By providing something unique for the road, you create a distinctive and comfortable experience that your dog might even grow to love.
Natural Remedies for Dogs with Motion Sickness
A full spectrum CBD Oil can help to calm your dog before car rides. It should be your first choice when looking for a natural remedy for dogs with car sickness. Give the oil thirty minutes before the road trip.
Valerian root is another natural remedy that can help to calm your dog’s nerves.
Article updated July 5, 2020