- What Is Dog Car Sickness?
- What Causes Dogs To Get Car Sick?
- Symptoms Of Dog Motion Sickness
- Helping Dogs With Car Sickness
- Natural Remedies For Nausea
- CBD For Dog Car Sickness
- Top CBD Products
- Car Sickness In Dogs: The Bottom Line
Humans aren't the only ones who can experience motion sickness. For many dogs, car rides can mean an upset stomach, nausea and even vomiting. It can be a very unpleasant experience for everyone involved, and it can end up leaving a terrible mess in your car.
Luckily, there are a multitude of options out there for helping to prevent or cure motion sickness in dogs. Some of these options are even natural, which is great for those who prefer to avoid medications and their side effects unless absolutely necessary.
Let's take a look into dog motion sickness and the potential ways to help manage it. Let's help your puppy see out the window and have fun slobbering all over the highway like most dogs love to do!
What Is Dog Car Sickness?
Motion sickness is when movements that can occur in a car, or on a boat or plane, result in your pet feeling physically ill. It can result in vomiting and other symptoms which can leave your pet feeling pretty miserable overall. So much so that your dog may want to avoid the car.
What Causes Dogs To Get Car Sick?
Typically, motion sickness tends to be the result of inner ear problems. This can include mismatched and conflicting sensory signals, or in puppies and young dogs, it may just be the result of a lack of development.
Think about when you're driving. While you're looking around the inside of the car, you don't typically see signs of movement while the car is in motion. However, you can typically feel the forward or backward momentum, and any bumps that may be in the path.
It's also worth knowing that dog car sickness can become a habit. If you have a younger dog who experiences the illness due to an inner ear that hasn't fully developed, they can start to connect that car to the illness they feel while inside of it. Consequently, they come to expect that they'll feel sick whenever they are in the car, even when their inner ear has developed.
This connection can also cause anxiety and stress in your dog, which certainly doesn't help the situation by any means. Because of that, it's important to address motion sickness in dogs as quickly as possible, before your dog develops that association.
Symptoms Of Dog Motion Sickness
Your dog may exhibit a variety of signs that point towards motion sickness.
Some common signs are as follows:
- Lip Licking or smacking frequently
- Yawning often
- Dry heaving
- Lacking energy
Naturally, the clearest sign is vomiting. However, most owners would likely prefer to catch the symptoms before that occurs. A good sign to watch out for is your dog drooling in the car in greater amounts than normal. You might also notice that your dog seems hesitant to get in the car. Rather than try to force them, it's a good idea to consider how the car is making them uncomfortable so it can be fixed.
Helping Dogs With Car Sickness
While the car might make your dog uncomfortable, odds are you'll need to get them into it at some point or another. Whether it's to treat them with a trip to the dog park or a necessary trip to the vet, you'll likely want to make sure the ride goes as smoothly as possible for your pup.
Here are some tips to keep in mind to give your dog the most comfortable ride possible. Combining these with natural or prescribed motion sickness remedies can make for a great remedy overall.
Placing a limit on the amount of food your dog consumes before a trip in the car can be very helpful. Many owners will choose to take the food away an hour or two prior to a trip.
Some can also find that a very small amount of sugar can help to fend off nausea. However, be careful to avoid giving your dog things like chocolate or xylitol, as the results are likely to be worse than a simple case of a carsick pup.
Keep Your Pet Comfortable
Providing as much comfort as possible it key to keeping your pet feeling okay in the car. If you have a dog that tends to get stressed or excited about car trips, it's a good idea to give them some time to cool down while they're in the car. Start the prep early and let them relax before you start driving.
It's also a good idea to make use of a dog crate in the car, and make sure your pet is facing forward. In addition to that, making sure that you have plenty of ventilation going in the car is a great idea. Fresh air is a useful tool for car sick humans and dogs alike.
If your dog is stressed out by cages, then try to work around their needs. Each dog is different and will need slightly different considerations.
Take Small Steps
Helping your dog to get used to the car is a great way to help them with getting over bouts caused by motion sickness. Prior to travel, it's important to stay calm, be patient, and move slowly. Pushing your dog into rushed, long car rides is only going to bring them more stress, especially if they suffer from anxiety-based nausea.
Start by making it easier for them to get into the car. Leave the car parked and open the door. It's a good idea to keep the engine off at this time. Take it easy and slow while taking your dog to the car. Let them make their way towards it in their own time, and give them plenty of praise if they seem especially anxious.
Once they are in the car, just allow them to sit for a while. When they have calmed down, they are likely to have an easier car ride. Then, make a very short trip. For example, just around the block. If your dog seems okay, you can start taking them on longer road trips, and on short trips to places they enjoy.
After a few trips, there should be fewer problems with your puppy being sick in the car.
Natural Remedies For Nausea
Aside from those mentioned earlier, there are a few more natural options you can use to help with getting around in car rides without your dog being sick. These are great options for those who want to avoid the side effects most anti anxiety medication can have, or to at least try some easier options before addressing the problem with a vet.
Peppermint is a useful tool in fighting dog car sickness, as well as fighting against Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It will be important to make sure you either purchase or make a solution that is suitable for your dog. Most dogs tend to enjoy the flavor, so it won't be hard to administer.
Slippery elm can often be used as a catch-all for digestive issues in dogs. This can include a wide variety of things such as diarrhea, nausea, and stomach troubles. A powder form tends to be the easiest to dose your dog with, as it can easily be mixed up with some warm water.
This supplement is designed to aid probiotics that already exist in your dog. It's able to help your dog in a number of ways, including assisting with digestion, nausea, upset stomach, bad breath, and much more. Furthermore, this is an option you can easily get from a local pet store, or online!
CBD For Dogs
Another fantastic natural option that is known to boost appetite as well as assist with nausea is CBD. This is a product that is relatively new on the wellness scene, but there are already numerous accounts that have depicted how it can help with nausea, arthritis, epilepsy, and more.
CBD For Dog Car Sickness
CBD has some really great anti-nausea properties, which is great for dogs who have trouble with motion sickness. The same can also be true in animals! CBD is being investigated all over the world for many uses.
Top CBD Products
If you're looking to try out CBD to assist when your dog gets car sick, it's important to make sure you get a quality product. Ideally, the CBD you use will be organic and will come from plants that have either extremely low amounts of THC or none at all.
CBD oil is a great option for dogs with motion sickness. It allows you to give your dog something to ease their nerves and stomach without really adding something to their stomach that they could throw up. On top of that, a very small amount goes a long way. If you do need to mix the CBD oil for dogs with their food, just make sure that they get all they need in a smaller meal an hour or two before they need to get in the car. This gives the CBD time to work and allows the food they consumed to settle.
Another option you can try out are CBD treats. These are typically very easy to give to dogs, as they are made to be delicious. It's really no different from giving your dog a regular dog treat, except with these you know they'll be getting some serious health benefits alongside the great taste.
Each bag also offers a guide to help you make sure you're giving the right dose to your dog. Whether you have a small, medium or large dog, it's quite easy to break down these CBD dog treats to your pet. For older pets or those who have trouble chewing, there are also soft hemp treats available.
Car Sickness In Dogs: The Bottom Line
No one likes it when their dog is sick, even if they're just experiencing some discomfort in the car. The good news is you have many options to try out for the sake of making them feel better. Things like patient, careful training, natural anti-emetics, and medications can be very useful in helping your pet.
Keep in mind that you may have to try out a few things in order to find the option that works best for your pet. If you want to get on a faster track, you can talk to your vet about what's going on with your dog. They can surely help you to find the right path to a perfect remedy for nausea.
Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade
Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.
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The Innovet Team
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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