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Just like their human counterparts, pooches can get motion sickness too. So, if you’re planning a road trip or want to find a way to make your dog more comfortable while going for short drives, here is what you can do.
Petplace.com reports, “The cause of motion sickness is stimulation of the vestibular apparatus located within the inner ear. When this apparatus is stimulated, your pet feels dizzy and nausea may develop. Usually, the signs of motion sickness stop when the vehicle stops moving. Pets afflicted with motion sickness begin drooling, feel nauseated and may even develop vomiting or diarrhea.”
Although it may be difficult to leave him behind, your pooch may be better off staying at home if you have to take too many steps to lessen his motion sickness.
What Causes Motion Sickness?
According to PetMD, “There are several potential causes of motion sickness in dogs and cats. Young dogs may experience this condition more frequently because their equilibrium needs to develop a bit more as they mature. Some dogs may actually ‘grow out’ of the condition if this is the case. The cause of motion sickness can also be emotional (behavioral) and linked to a bad travel experience in early life.”
What are the Symptoms of Motion Sickness?
According to PetMD.com, “Dogs show their uneasiness in various ways. The first signs of motion sickness may be a constant licking of the lips, followed by excessive drooling; yawning; whining or crying out in distress; immobility or acting afraid to move; and finally, vomiting or regurgitation. An extremely emotional dog may even urinate or defecate in the car.”
Some of the more common symptoms of motion sickness listed by petwave.com include:
Excessive drooling (hypersalivation)
Inappropriate vocalization (whining, crying, yelping)
Signs of uneasiness or uncertainty
Signs of dizziness
Diarrhea (loose/soft stool; inappropriate elimination in the vehicle)
“The symptoms of motion sickness typically go away shortly after the vehicle stops moving. If a dog’s symptoms are extreme or do not improve after movement has ceased, the owner might consider consulting with a veterinarian about sedatives, anti-nausea drugs, or other potential solutions for the dog’s next travel adventure,” mentions petwave.com.
How is Motion Sickness Diagnosed?
If your pooch only suffers from the symptom of motion sickness while in a vehicle, motion sickness is typically the presumed diagnosis.
According to PetMD.com, “Once neurologic and behavioral causes are ruled out, the diagnosis of motion sickness can be easily made by your veterinarian. The history of your dog’s reaction to traveling usually points to the problem.”
How is Motion Sickness Treated?
“Commonly used medications to help reduce the nausea associated with motion sickness include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), meclizine (Bonine) and dimenhydrinate (Dramamine). These medications are available without a prescription but should never be used unless specifically recommended by a veterinarian. Proper dosage and use are crucial to treating and diminishing the signs of motion sickness,” according to petplace.com.
PetMD.com offers a holistic alternative: “Ginger is a holistic treatment that can be used for nausea. It can be found in pill form (in health food stores), or even in cookie form. Ginger snaps and pills reportedly calm a nervous stomach when given about 30 minutes to an hour before travel. Consult with your veterinarian before feeding ginger to your dog in any form, to be sure that there are no indications that the ginger would be harmful to your dog, and to make sure that you are giving your dog the appropriate amount.”
How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Motion Sickness?
There are a number of conditioning techniques to help desensitize dogs to traveling and make them calmer and more relaxed overall.
Petwave.com advises, “The prognosis for dogs with motion sickness is excellent. Most dogs that experience motion sickness naturally acclimate to travel within a short period of time, especially if they are conditioned to it slowly but regularly. Most dogs adore going on car rides with their owners, once the initial ‘jitters’ about travel are resolved and they begin to associate travel with pleasure. The prognosis is also very good in those uncommon cases where dogs do not adjust to travel naturally, because there are a number of medical and non-medical techniques that have an excellent track record for managing this condition.”
PetMD.com adds, “Time and training may go a long way toward preventing motion sickness. You may need to stock up on certain medications to help calm your dog if it tends to get extremely nervous before rides in the car. Your veterinarian can suggest safe and effective drugs to ensure that travel goes smoothly each and every time.”
Find A Vet HOW TO articles are intended for informational purposes only. You should always consult with your veterinarian about any health issues affecting your dog.