What Should You Know About Dogs’ Motion Sickness?

by IndianAuto Team | 06/02/2019
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It is ordinary for us to have motion sickness while travelling, but hardly do we believe that the most faithful pets – our dogs – also have to struggle with motion sickness too.

It is ordinary for us to have motion sickness while travelling, but hardly do we believe that the most faithful pets – our dogs – also have to struggle with motion sickness too. It might become an obsession for you when seeing a mess of vomiting all over the car’s leather. Also, a sick pup in the back seat could turn even your shortest journey into a miserable one. In this article, we will make it clearer for you to understand the causes, symptoms, remedies and medicines of the dogs’ motion sickness. Therefore, you can deal with your canine companion while having fun with him/her outside without worrying.

1. What is the origin of the dog’s motion sickness?

Similar to human, it is easier for puppies and little pooches than elder ones to be afflicted by motion illness. The ear structures for balancing purposes in puppies are not completely developed, which is the reason for our puppies’ carsickness. We encounter this illness in both mature and immature dogs though it is believed that carsickness vanishes when the dogs are grown-up.

Should your dog be ignored his puke when he/she has just got on the car for few rides, he might be acquainted with vomiting, even after his ears are fully developed. Travel sickness in dogs could also be caused by stress. So where does this stress come from? Your puppies, for instance, knows that he is on the way of visiting his vet, he is literally worrying about his sickness on the road.

Tiring puppies due to carsickness

Partially matured ear structures and stress make puppies carsick

2. How do puppies react when encountering motion sickness?

When puppies are suffering from carsickness, they do not show cream-faced countenance. But it is easy to realize his travel illness basing on some signs which are:

  • Inactivity, listlessness or uneasiness

  • Yawning

  • Whining

  • Excessive drooling

  • Vomiting

  • Smacking or licking lips

dog sitting tiredly on the boot space

You can spot the sign of a motion-sick dog easily 

3. What are the treatments for carsick puppies?

3.1. Make sure you make a comfortable drive.

Firstly, in the circumstances that your puppies usually have motion sickness, it is worse if you left him sitting in the backseat of the car and looking outside from the back window. It is advisable to let him sit towards the front or lying down on the car floor behind the front seat. The important thing of letting your puppies sit up front is that it helps not only their sensory mechanisms feel motion but also visualize motion, which relaxes your puppies mood a lot. Besides, if your car has large back rooms, designing a dog seat belt could be a big help for puppies to experience fewer nauseating.

dog leaning out of the car window

Try to drive as smooth as possible to make your dog feel comfortable

Another thing you should bear in mind is that you should balance the air pressure inside the car with one outside by lowering the car windows a couple of inches while moving. By doing this, it could lessen your pooches’ nausea and anxiety. A hot and suffocating atmosphere might lead your puppies to an uncomfortable feeling, so the air in the car should be cool and well-ventilated.

In the situation that puppies are stressful, you should pay him a visit to his vet to decipher his anxiety which is exacerbating or mimicking motion sickness.

3.2. Help your puppies adjust before the journey.

For those who have serious trouble dealing with travel sickness, it is better to aid them to adapt to the car. Before getting on the car, you should let your puppies play around and on an off-engine car. Then get him on the car and try to drive him for short distance. You could buy them some small special toys to make the ride fun and distract them from being tired and bored. When your pups become familiar with mini-rides, longer distance to the parks, for example, should be on trial. This process could strengthen puppies’ tolerance on the road.

Driving with pups in car

Making your pup familiar with the car before the trip could be helpful for his carsickness

3.3. Restrict food before the excursion.

A full stomach could contribute to puppies' carsickness; therefore, it is necessary to limit the food consumption before the trip. A shift in feeding schedule might be wise before a car ride. Timing meals are important too. You should feed your puppies two hours and take them for a nice walk before hitting the road so that all the food will be digested, which helps reduce sensations of nausea. Furthermore, remember to keep the portions of dog food small and take some break if feed him if the ride is longer than 8 hours.

3.4. Have a packing list before the trip.

It sounds fussy and non-essential but it is better to have a careful preparation. The list you might need for your puppies include:

  • Water bowl or water drinker with plenty of water

  • Food bowl and food for each day on the road

  • Toys

  • Doggy waste bags

  • Blanket, bed or pad for sleeping

  • Flea and tick control

  • Doggy waste bags

  • Seat belt, blanket, bed or pad for sleeping

  • Motion sickness medication or sedatives, depending on your dog’s needs

4. What should medications be used for carsick puppies?

It is recommendable to give puppies small pieces of gingersnap cookie because ginger is a natural anti-nausea ingredient. Puppies should not be given any type of cookies that contain artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, which is harmful and potentially toxic to puppies. In addition to ginger cookies, Dramamine - an antihistamine compound used to counter nausea – could calm puppies down and effectively prevent them from motion sickness. It lessens vomiting, reduces drooling, and offers sedation. Moreover, sedatives could help to deal with motion sickness. There are Phenothiazine drugs such as acepromazine or chlorpromazine which also have anti-nausea effects. However, before using the medications for your puppies, you should work with their veterinarian to determine and make sure which medications, dosing, and timing are the most appropriate for them. Besides, you should ask the vets about side effects and drug interactions and consider carefully whether it is fine for your puppies to use the medicines or not.

dog taking medications

Taking medications could be a good remedy for carsick puppies

Motion sickness happens for dogs as well as human, so we understand the feeling of suffering from it. If all the above remedies do not work, the best one is taking a break from car trips for one or two weeks. Do not make them be traumatic due to car sickness. Hearing from them, so that they will be the best company of your life.

Read more tips and guides from IndianAuto

>>> How to travel with pets in the car?

>>> Car accessories and features for pets

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