Love the idea of a road trip or camping trip with your pup, but feel held back because they suffer from car sickness? This can be both frustrating and unpleasant — for both human and canine. Surprisingly, car sickness is common in dogs, and especially common in puppies. which many dogs are prone to. Fortunately, it is usually possible to successfully address this problem. Here are seven approaches to try to treat car sickness in your dog.
1. Restrict Food Before Travel
The worst part of canine car sickness is when it results in vomiting. Reduce the chances this occurs by limiting your pet’s food intake before a car ride. Try to feed your dog at least two hours before departure – four or more if that’s possible.
2. Stop The Car
There are certain telltale signs of impending car sickness in a dog. Watch out for licking lips, uneasiness, listlessness, excessive drooling, and yawning. If possible, stop the car and let your dog out for a few minutes. This method won’t completely solve the issue, but will at least allow your dog time to recover a little.
3. Work up to Longer Rides
Many dogs will get over their car sickness if they are able to slowly get used to riding in a car. This rule applies especially to puppies, who often grow out of motion sickness. Begin with short rides, then gradually take longer trips. A good strategy is to start with five-minute rides, increasing length by ten minutes each time. Before you know it you will be on a road trip to a pet friendly cabin for a weekend retreat.
4. Avoid the Back Seat
Side windows provide a greater sense of rapid motion, often worsening a dog’s motion sickness. Avoid this problem by letting your dog sit in the front seat of the car and trying to get them to face forward.
5. Alleviate Stress
Stress is sometimes the real cause of canine motion sickness. If your dog associates riding in a car with visiting the vet, this alone may be enough to trigger car sickness. Treat this problem by weakening the association between car rides and bad experiences. Take your dog on a few trips to a pleasant park instead.
6. Get Human Help
If you aren’t traveling alone, have you or your companion help to relax your dog. Simply touching and petting your dog can help a lot. Bring along your dog’s blanket or favorite toy and use them to help your dog remain calm.
7. Use Meds
If all other remedies fail, it is time to take a trip to your veterinarian and see if your dog should get some help from medication. Dramamine, an antihistamine used to combat car sickness in humans as well as dogs, is a popular treatment. Another antihistamine treatment option is Benadryl, which also has mild sedative effects. Check with your veterinarian first! Your vet may have other recommendations and treatments as well.
Dog car sickness is not something you and your dog have to live with. While some dogs may still experience motion sickness during car rides no matter what is done, but this is a rare occurrence. It is much more likely that some combination of treatment methods will render car rides a perfectly pleasant experience for you and your pet.