Many dogs experience motion sickness when travelling in cars, planes or even boats. This can make it difficult to bring them along on trips or vacations. Many of us hate to leave our furry companions at home; fortunately, there are many remedies available to alleviate motion sickness in dogs.
A dog experiencing motion sickness may pant heavily, shake and vomit or drool excessively. He may appear to be in discomfort and could have diarrhoea.
There are many potential causes of motion sickness in dogs. Motion sickness is often connected to travel-related stress and anxiety. Movement of the dog's vestibular apparatus in their inner ear, caused by the motion of travel, also causes motion sickness. A Vitamin B6 deficiency may also lead to motion sickness.
Acclimatise your dog to the car. Since most motion sickness involves stress, it is important your dog is comfortable and not stressed by travel. For a few days, put your dog in the car and don't go anywhere. Set up a comfortable spot for them with a bed, water and treats. Sit in the car with the windows down and calming music playing. Make the idea of the car a positive thing. Do not leave your dog unattended in the car during hot or very cold weather.
Start your dog off with short trips to places they enjoy. A quick trip to the dog park or to the pet store to buy a treat can be a good idea. For dogs with severe motion sickness, even a quick trip down the driveway and back will help. Slowly build up the duration of the trips. At the beginning, the trips should be to positive places. Avoid trips to potentially stressful places, such as the veterinarian, until your dog is comfortable in the car.
Drive with the windows open to let fresh air into the car. However, it is not considered safe to let your dog hang his head out of the window. Looking out the window may cause motion sickness in some dogs. If this is the case with your dog, consider setting up a covered crate in the back of the vehicle for his travels.
Keep gingersnaps in the car and offer them to your dog as needed. Ginger is known to alleviate stomach issues and minimise the effects of motion sickness. Other forms of ginger, such as crystallised ginger, will work as well. If possible, feed the ginger about a half hour before the trip begins. Peppermint may also help with motion sickness. Brew your dog a cup of peppermint tea and, once it has cooled, offer it to your dog.
Supplement your dog's food or water with a Vitamin B6 complex vitamin prior to travel. For long trips, start supplementing a day or two before the trip. Raw liver is an ideal source of Vitamin B6.
Avoid feeding your dog for four to five hours prior to a trip. Make sure he has time to relieve himself prior to starting the journey.
Talk to your veterinarian regarding dogs with severe motion sickness. They may recommend an over-the-counter medication such as Dramamine or benadryl. Your veterinarian may also choose to prescribe a sedative such as Acepromazine or Phenobarbital. Sedatives should be avoided for airline travel due to possible side effects that may occur while your pet is unsupervised.