Dog Car Sickness
Imagine you have a long car ride ahead of you because you’re moving out of town. Packing up your belongings, shuffling them into a moving van, and closing the door to your old place is one part of the process. But after all of that physical exertion, you now need to drive to your new neighborhood and do everything else in reverse.
As you prepare to transport everything you own into a different city, you encourage your dog to hop into the moving van so you can get on your way. Dogs seem to love cars, and they are interested in the idea of traveling, but it’s not always as simple as loading your pup into a vehicle and driving down the highway. Oftentimes, road tripping with a dog results in numerous pit stops and bathroom breaks along the way.
What is the reason for a delay in travel plans? Well, driving with a dog in the car becomes quite complicated if your dog is prone to motion sickness. If you have ever taken your dog on a road trip, or flown from one country to another with your puppy on board, you might just know what we’re talking about firsthand.
How did the experience go? While we hope everything was smooth sailing and as simple as possible, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear that traveling with your dog was not the easiest experience in the world. Many pet owners have story upon story to share about travel escapades with their dogs.
Canines are some of the most loyal and adventurous companions, but even the most excited dogs can become the most timid when they experience car sickness. If you are concerned that your dog has a knack for car sickness, continue reading about motion sickness for dogs. By the end of our blog post, you will feel more confident in your ability to treat car sickness in your dog.
We have a car sick dog natural remedy recommendation up our sleeves, and we can’t wait to share the health benefits of the dog car sick natural remedy. Car sickness is not forever, so let’s start getting your pup on the road to recovery! Someday soon, you will find that your canine companion is free from car sickness symptoms and ready to ride with you on an upcoming road trip.
What is Motion Sickness for Dogs?
Car sickness is something that dogs and people have in common. Not all dogs enjoy car rides, and it might be for reasons beyond your dog simply not liking car rides. Your pup might actually feel nauseous and dizzy when riding in a car, which would be an understandable reason for not liking road trips.
When it comes to motion sickness, dogs typically feel nauseous when they are in moving vehicles for an extended period of time. That said, car sickness can also occur in instances where cars are not involved. In that case, if your dog is exhibiting signs of car sickness, it’s just referred to as motion sickness.
Motion sickness can arise on ferry boats, on airplanes, or aboard any other form of transportation. The symptoms are the same among car sickness and motion sickness in dogs. Motion sickness is usually a situational occurrence, meaning dogs experience the condition under certain circumstances.
The main player behind motion sickness is poor communication between different sensory systems in your dog’s body. The two sensory systems that are always involved in motion sickness are the vestibular system and the visual system, but there are instances in which other sensory systems play a part, too. Motion sickness for dogs occurs as a result of opposing signals that confuse the brain.
Sometimes, one of the two sensory systems is not working at its optimal level of performance, which can exacerbate motion sickness symptoms for dogs. For example, if your dog has poor vision, then the visual system will naturally try to work harder to help your dog see as well as possible.
This can cause your dog’s eyes to strain as he or she attempts to view the world around them. When the visual system is already working overtime, adding a moving environment into the mix can affect the visual system furthermore. At that point, a high-functioning vestibular system can only do so much.
Likewise, a visual system in tip-top shape is always ideal, but if your dog’s vestibular system is acting up, then the visual system is not enough to fight off car sickness. The processes occurring in your dog’s inner ears might be running smoothly, but without a functional visual system to match, car sickness is very likely.
The point we want to emphasize here is that the visual system and the vestibular system of your dog need to work in tandem for your canine companion to avoid motion sickness altogether. Symptoms of car sickness are not as extreme when both systems are faltering, but they are still present and still uncomfortable.
In some cases, dogs experience motion sickness because the vestibular system is being interrupted by an illness. If you’ve ever noticed yourself feeling off-balance when you have a sinus infection, then you know what we mean when we say that an obstructed vestibular system makes daily movement very difficult. When you are sick with a cold, your audible pathways and nasal passageways are blocked by mucus, causing you to feel backed up and congested.
The pressure in your ears throws off the inner equilibrium of your vestibular system, thereby making it nearly impossible to stay balanced and level-headed. Sinus infections do not necessarily cause motion sickness on their own. Rather, they affect the vestibular system’s innate ability to maintain balance and keep but if your pup is prone to becoming sick in a moving vehicle, then a cold will definitely amplify the symptoms of motion sickness.
The Two Canine Sensory Systems Involved in Motion Sickness
The two sensory systems that are involved in motion sickness are the visual system and the vestibular system. The visual system is pretty straightforward, as it everyone can deduce the fact that the visual system is responsible for taking in visual information. It is comprised of the retina, optic nerve, fibers, optic chiasma, and a handful of other bodies and nerves that connect in the occipital lobes.
The vestibular system is all about spatial awareness. It is part of the auditory system in canines, and the reason dogs can move about, whether by running or by walking, is attributable to the vestibular system. It enables dogs to have spatial awareness, and motor coordination is influenced by the vestibular system as well.
The vestibular system is made up of sensory neurons located within the inner ear of your dog.
There are six major components of the vestibular system:
- Horizontal semicircular ducts
- Anterior semicircular ducts
- Posterior semicircular ducts
Together, these internal membranes and structures allow dogs to orient themselves with ease in their environments. Without the vestibular system, dogs would not be able to run through dense grass fields or make it through a morning walk without falling over. When the vestibular system is affected, basic abilities that we take for granted, such as seeing things clearly through our visual fields and maintaining an upright posture, are impossible.
Similarly, when the visual system cannot function normally, vision is often blurred. If your dog cannot view the world around them through a clear lens, then his or her brain will become confused by the information being provided by the visual system. Poor vision, combined with an unbalanced vestibular system, leads to the start of car sickness side effects.
What are the Symptoms of Motion Sickness in Dogs?The two motion sickness symptoms that we’ve already touched on are nausea and dizziness. These are the most obvious signs of motion sickness because they are physical and visible. When your dog becomes sick in the car, it is natural to deduce that your pup has come down with a case of motion sickness. Why?
Well, you can put two and two together with ease. The fact that your dog is in a moving vehicle and he or she subsequently has an upset stomach means that the moving vehicle must be playing a role in the presence of your dog’s nausea. Movement is the cause of the symptom your pup is experiencing.
But it’s important to know about all of the potential side effects of motion sickness for dogs. That way, you will be able to associate motion sickness with all of the adverse symptoms that motion sickness induces rather than find yourself at a loss in the moment.
Other motion sickness side effects that you should be aware of are…
- Barking at passing cars
- Refusal to get into a car
- Lying down lifelessly
- Low energy
- High stress levels
- Anxiety that is through the roof
- Drooling onto the seats surrounding them or directly onto themselves
- Howling or whimpering
- Fast-paced panting
Are you wondering what to give dogs for motion sickness? Dog car sickness remedies are probably the first thing on your mind. Since dog car sickness is not a life-threatening situation, it is rare that you’ll receive a prescription from your veterinarian for car sick dogs. Instead, most dogs benefit from a behavioral change or a ritual of sorts that takes place before a car ride.
Some pet owners will buy anti-nausea medication to give their dog prior to traveling, while some seek anxiety medication prescriptions from their pet’s vet. Other dog parents swear by incorporating a routine, like bringing along their dog’s favorite blanket or making sure their pup snuggles with their chew toys if anxiety levels begin to climb. You can also opt to put your dog in a dog crate with their favorite blankets or toys, and give them a dose of CBD before the car ride to help calm them down. There are many ways to try to alleviate car sickness symptoms in dogs, but CBD in our opinion is the most reliable and most natural alternative for car sickness.
The dog car sick natural remedy that we put all of our faith into is CBD oil. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a plant-derived substance that alleviates pain of all types, as well as relieves nausea, lowers stress levels, and reduces anxiety.
How Can CBD Help Canines With Car Sickness?
One of the most well-known health benefits of cannabidiol is its ability to reduce nausea, and in most cases, completely rid a puppy dog of an upset stomach altogether. There are more natural health benefits of CBD for dogs suffering from motion sickness than we can count. CBD is the best way to naturally manage car sickness in dogs. Since CBD is extracted from a plant source, everything about the car sick remedy for dogs is natural and healthy. Cannabidiol is free from chemicals and unnecessary additives, which are often found in prescription medicines. Since there aren’t any by-products added to CBD oil, there’s nothing within the cannabidiol that can cause adverse reactions. That said, CBD doesn’t have any prominent negative side effect.
There are a few outcomes of CBD oil for dogs with car sickness. Either your dog’s symptoms will completely disappear after taking CBD, your dog will be unaffected by CBD in a minimal dose, or your dog’s dosing will be more than necessary so your pup might fall asleep. The odds that CBD won’t work are incredibly low, though we mention the possibility of seeing no side effects just as a disclaimer.
Best Ways of Administering CBD to Dogs
Giving CBD to your dog should always be a breeze. In the rare occasion that your dog is not cooperating as you try to administer CBD, it might just mean that your pup is not the biggest fan of the form that the CBD takes. For example, if you have a dog with a hypersensitivity to lotions or anything applied to their outer coat, then CBD creams and balms are probably not the wisest form of CBD to buy for dogs with car sickness. Instead, consider purchasing CBD in the form of capsules, edible snacks, or oils.
The major perk of CBD oil is that it can be consumed or applied. If you are unsure as to which form your dog will take to the best, then we advise that you start out with CBD oil for dogs with motion sickness. It will give you the opportunity to test out your dog’s preferred method of receiving cannabidiol. CBD oil is the perfect place to start as you can apply it directly on their food or treats, and after experimenting with the oil, you can branch out from there.
Dogs that don’t mind ingesting CBD oil are more likely to accept CBD capsules orally, whereas canines that tend to be picky eaters might pick up on the fact that you tried to mask the CBD into their food. In that case, an easy-to-apply form of CBD, such as treats or soft chews, will work better for your pup with car sickness symptoms.
If you opt into buying CBD capsules for your dog, you can administer the CBD by tilting your dog’s head back, opening your pup’s mouth, and dropping the pill to the back of their throat. From there, they will swallow the capsule, just like any other supplement or medication they may take. If you are not able to do this manually, consider purchasing a pill dispenser for dogs. It can simplify the process for you and assist with administering CBD capsules for dogs will car sickness.
CBD dog treats and chewy snacks can be given orally, just like you would a dog bone or any other doggy snack. As mentioned, CBD oil can either be administered by the mouth or topically. The option is entirely yours! CBD oil for dogs comes with a dropper for ease of application, too.
CBD for Treating Car Sickness in Dogs
Innovet knows that your dog’s overall well being and happiness are the priorities of dog owners near and far. There’s nothing better than watching your lively pup running around and playing with a wide smile on his or her face. Dogs thrive when they spend time with their owners, because not only are dogs man’s best friend, but dog owners are their canine’s favorite person. Your ability to hang out with your dog can become limited if your puppy does not do well in cars.
Car sickness makes it difficult to bring your dog on faraway adventures with you, and that can be really hard when you want to make memories with your dog all over the world. If your dog is struggling with the side effects of car sickness, CBD from Innovet can help combat the adverse reactions your dog might be having in response to car rides. Whether you want to administer full-spectrum or hemp-based CBD to your dog is entirely up to you.
We’ve said it a couple of times already, but the age-old phrase is that a dog is a man’s best friend. Similarly, CBD is dog’s best friend, as dogs are man’s best friend. Your dog will feel like a brand new canine with a love for road trips, all thanks to cannabidiol from Innovet!
Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
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Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM was raised in north Louisiana. She graduated from LA Tech in 2011 with a degree in animal science. She then moved to Grenada West Indies for veterinary school. She completed her clinical year at Louisiana State University and graduated in 2015 from St. George’s University. Since veterinary school she has been working at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she has experience treating all species that walk in the hospital. In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband Greg, bake yummy desserts and spend time with her 4-legged fur kids, a dog Ruby, a cat Oliver James “OJ”, a rabbit BamBam and a tortoise MonkeyMan.
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The Innovet Team