carsick bulldog

What to do About Canine Carsickness

It’s always wonderful to introduce your pooch to new places and experiences. What better way to do that than with a road trip! After all, driving with your dog is always enjoyable. Well, it is until he vomits all over the passenger or back seat.

Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to carsickness, even during a short ride. But you can prevent and treat motion sickness which will make that trip much nicer.

The Cause of Carsickness in Dogs

Puppies and young dogs are more sensitive to carsickness. Why? The structure of the ear that’s in charge of balance hasn’t quite developed yet. Unfortunately, not all dogs grow out of being carsick.

So if your fur-baby threw up while riding for the first time, it might just be because of traveling. But be prepared that your pup might not outgrow this — he may vomit every time he goes for a ride. However, your furry pal’s sickness might be due to stress — a ride to the vet can be stressful. No matter how hard you may try, pets always seem to know when it’s time to go there!

Signs of Carsickness to Be Aware Of

Pay special attention to your four-legged friend. If he’s carsick, he’ll exhibit certain symptoms. What are they? We’re glad you asked!

  • Lethargy
  • Yawning constantly
  • Vomiting
  • Inactivity
  • Excessive drooling
  • Continuous whining
  • Uneasiness

Canine Carsickness Can Be Prevented

If you’ve adopted your dog, maybe he’s suffered physical, mental or emotional trauma from traveling in a vehicle which will contribute to his motion sickness. But there are eight methods to help keep your beloved buddy from getting carsick.

  • Don’t feed your pup 6-8 hours prior to the ride. This is important because if his tummy’s empty he shouldn’t get carsick. Yes, it’s perfectly fine to give him water. Although this doesn’t work for some dogs and they prefer to have a little bit of food in their stomach to avoid carsickness. You’ll just have to see what works best for your pup.
  • If one or two people are traveling with you, bring a few of your fur-baby’s much-loved toys along. Have your friends entertain him so he’s not focused on the ride.
  • Open those windows and switch off that air conditioning! Fresh air will help all your passengers — human and canine — avoid motion sickness. But a sudden gust of wind could do harm to your pooch’s eyes so be sure to put proper eye protection on him.
  • Change your pup’s impression of riding in a car. Look for a quiet, relaxing open area that’s about 5-10 minutes from your home, maybe a park. Invite a friend or family member that your dog knows well and, while you’re driving, have them keep him calm. When you arrive at the park, play with him and keep the visit light and full of fun. On the way home, have your friend soothe him again. Once you’re home, play with him in your yard keeping it light and completely fun. Let your pup rest for an hour before giving him several dog treats. If you do this frequently, he’ll eventually understand that a car ride isn’t scary or something to be stressed out about and shouldn’t become sick.
  • While some canines may deal with long car rides other canines don’t fare so well; so you’ll want to stop every hour or so. This allows your fur-baby to have bathroom time and stretch his legs; you can even give him a bit of water on these stops.
  • If you have a small car, try using a different vehicle for the trip — perhaps an SUV. The more room your pup has the less claustrophobic and stressed he may feel; thus, there’s less of a chance that he’ll be carsick.
  • Viewing scenery thwarts carsickness. So let your pooch look out the window by adjusting his seat or use a car seat specifically for dogs. Always make sure he stays secure while enjoying the scenery.
  • If none of the previous things work, don’t despair, you still have a few options left. You could go the holistic route and spray a scent of chamomile, peppermint, or ginger inside your vehicle. An all-natural pet calmer like Rescue Remedy for Pets might work well for your dog. One last option would be to speak with your veterinarian about a medication to give your furry friend such as Dramamine.

Now that you understand about carsickness and how to prevent it, you can be prepared when it’s time for your trip — short or long — with your cherished fur-baby. Taking precautions against your buddy’s motion sickness will not only keep him comfy but you as well!

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