Even though all kinds of research has been done on the subject, and that there are several effective prescriptions and over-the-counter medicinal treatments to help our pet cope with this problem, no one has yet found the key to prevent dogs from suffering some of the symptoms associated with motion sickness and the stress caused by spending long hours traveling in a car. So does this mean that our pet will always have a hard time? Obviously not; we have to be more attentive to the signs and try our best to help them cope with the trip.
Because even though some dogs seem to show no symptoms and are coping well with the trip, there is also the possibility that they may be having a bad time in some other way that they cannot show us. However, unfortunately, they still cannot talk, and that makes it much more complicated for us as owners to help them in moments of distress or pain, as in the case of motion sickness in the car.
The reasons for motion sickness in dogs are still not clear, and it is not known why some are affected more than others, although some studies already suspect that these differences in symptoms may be due to genetic causes and each dog’s breed. Still, it is not completely certain. After all, a dog of the Labrador breed may get very dizzy in a car, and another of the same breed and age may not, both being genetically similar. So the reason why one gets carsick and the other doesn’t? Nobody knows it yet.
For all these reasons and intending to help you to prevent motion sickness and all its symptoms in your dog during road trips, here are the best tips — that, according to the experts, will drastically reduce them and will make family trips much more pleasant for everyone.
Surely on more than one occasion, you have been told that it is better to have breakfast shortly before traveling, especially if you know that you are a person with a tendency to motion sickness. Well, this suggestion is also valid for some dogs.
Experts recommend that we change the schedule of meals a couple of days before the trip, as this way the animal can get used to it better and will not suffer such an abrupt change in their daily habits. After all, dogs, just like us, have their routines. Any unexpected change in them affects them physically and psychologically, which is not good if we want our dog to get into the car totally relaxed to avoid possible motion sickness. Apply the changes gradually, and your dog will thank you for it.
For example, if you plan to start the trip at eight in the morning, it would be advisable to give him his food two hours before that time. Some experts say that the probability of nausea or diarrhea due to the vehicle’s movement will be reduced by half. On the other hand, we must also consider the number of hours of travel we will do because if the trip lasts more than five hours, our dog will also need to eat again and do breaks to move a little and go potty.
How do you avoid having the food we give him in the middle of the trip make him sick when he gets back in the car? First, cut the subsequent meal portion in half. Then, afterward, to help him keep the food down, we will give him a little walk through the rest area where we have stopped. This will allow him a little time to settle his stomach from a meal before continuing the driving.
Dog training for long car rides
One of the main reasons dogs vomit during a car trip, especially during those that exceed one hour, is that our pet is not used to traveling by car. While it is true that although puppies have a greater predisposition to motion sickness and vomiting during their first car trips, especially because their stomach is still very delicate and they have never experienced something similar before, more adult dogs that have barely traveled by car can also have the same problem and the only way to prevent it is to desensitize them with short trips that gradually increase in duration.
If you are wondering how to train a dog to go by car, the answer is straightforward: taking him by car for any routine journey, even if it is to accompany you to put gas in your car, is the best way to avoid the occurrence of motion sickness and stress in the future. Besides, if we start taking our pet along for car rides, we will not only be taking away his fear, but it will also allow us to see what his main symptoms are (if any) and have time to practice traveling and go to the vet (if needed) to help us treat them effectively before a long trip.
Do not hesitate to put this advice into practice. Many experts in canine psychology affirm that most puppies put in a car regularly during their first year of life manage to overcome the disease and avoid the discomfort of motion sickness when they become adults.
Ginger is a very effective natural ingredient to fight nausea, and nowadays, there are special cookies formulated from this natural root to help our dogs fight them effectively.
Lavender or canine pheromones have proven to be really effective in calming dogs, either for traveling or other stressful situations, so do not hesitate to carry a bottle of lavender or pheromones in your travel bag to help your dog travel much calmer and free of nausea. A little goes a long way, though. Don’t overwhelm your dog’s great sense of smell with more than a drop of lavender oil.
Medicinal plants have been helping us for centuries to cope with all kinds of diseases and discomforts. Nowadays, there are over-the-counter food supplements made from these plants to help animals combat travel stress. When trying herbal remedies, always double-check with your veterinarian to confirm that a supplement is safe for your pet. Many things that are safe for humans are NOT safe for dogs.
Antihistamines suitable for animals
Dramamine is an antihistamine widely used for animals that have proven to be really effective in preventing nausea while calming anxiety. Professionals explain that these antihistamines have a very mild sedative effect and that their effects on dogs with motion sickness problems are beneficial. It is important to administer the correct dosage for your dog. You will need to know your dog’s weight. Ask your veterinarian to confirm the dosage based on your dog’s weight.
Provide medication when necessary
Although there are many ways to prevent motion sickness in dogs that do not involve drugs prescribed by veterinarians, resorting to this resource if it is necessary is also a good option to end this unpleasant disorder. Regardless of the good and bad that anti-motion sickness drugs may have, the truth is that there are dogs that suffer such a high level of anxiety and vomiting during their car trips that it is impossible not to medicate them to avoid this suffering.
Medicine exists to improve our quality of life, both humans and animals.