Humans aren't the only ones who can experience motion sickness! For some dogs, riding in the car 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.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. What Is Motion Sickness In Dogs?
2. What Causes Dogs To Get Motion Sick?
3. Symptoms Of Car Sickness In Dogs
4. Helping Dogs With Motion Sickness
5. Use Natural Remedies For Nausea
6. Natural Remedies For Nausea
7. CBD For Motion Sickness
8. Motion Sickness In Dogs: The Bottom Line
Luckily, there are a multitude of options out there for helping to prevent or cure your dog's motion sickness. 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 motion sickness and the potential ways to help manage it!
What Is Motion Sickness In Dogs?
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 nausea and other symptoms and leave your pet feeling pretty miserable overall. So much so that your dog may want to avoid the car.
What Causes Dogs To Get Motion Sick?
Typically, motion sickness tends to be the result of inner ear problems. This can include mismatched information being received by their sensory organs, or in younger dogs, it may just be the result of a lack of inner ear development.
Think about when you're in a car. 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 is still growing, 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 as quickly as possible, before your dog develops that association.
Symptoms Of Car Sickness In Dogs
Your dog may exhibit a variety of signs that point towards motion sickness.
Some common signs are as follows:
- Licking or smacking of their lips 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 one 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 Motion 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 nausea 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 car sick 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 carsick 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 motion sickness. While you're doing this, it's important to stay calm, be patient, and move slowly. Pushing your dog into rushed, long car trips 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 trips, and on trips to places they enjoy.
After a few trips, there should be fewer problems with your puppy being sick in the car.
Use Natural Remedies For Nausea
Sometimes, Dramamine is used for dogs with motion sickness by disrupting the vestibular system in your pet's ears, for balance. However, providing your pet with some natural nausea remedies can be helpful in avoiding a nasty case of car sickness, too. Some options that are worth trying out are herbs for nausea, such as aromatherapy using lavender oil, giving them some Kefir or ginger, or simply mixing up a small amount of water and baking soda for them to have before the trip.
These are all methods that are easy, and helpful in keeping your pet's stomach soothed and happy.
How To Manage Nausea
In some cases, your pet may require a nausea cure that is a bit more serious to keep them from leaving a mess in the car. Luckily, there are some fantastic anti-emetic medications out there that can be helpful for dogs with intense motion sickness. The following are options worth looking into for your sick dog!
This medication is an option that is great for humans and dogs alike. It helps to create control over issues like vomiting and nausea. It is worth keeping in mind that Metoclopramide isn't approved by the FDA for use with pets.
Furthermore, it can cause the following side effects:
- Restless behavior
While it's often used as an antidepressant for humans, Mirtazapine for dogs is also known for being able to assist with nausea and providing a boost to appetite. That said, it's not an option that is typically used for motion sickness, so make sure to talk to your vet about it!
Another option you can try out is Cerenia. This anti-nausea for dogs is available for your vet to prescribe as needed. It often comes as a travel sickness tablet for dogs, so you'll want to make sure your dog can handle tablets decently. When used in small amounts, Cerenia works well for general nausea prevention. In larger doses, it's also helpful with motion sickness.
In addition, this is a medication that can be used for pain relief. It's worth keeping in mind that dogs should typically be at least 8 weeks old to handle this medication well. It's also a good idea to avoid giving this medication too frequently, as it can cause the liver to become over-saturated.
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 the car without your dog being sick. These are great options for those who want to avoid the side effects most medications 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 capable of helping 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 Motion 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.
However at this time, as the manufacturer of CBD products, we are not allowed to discuss that subject publicly nor we are not allowed to imply that CBD can be used for any specific treatment.
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 is a CBD treat. 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.
Motion 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
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