If you are looking for home remedies for your dog’s car sickness, most likely your puppy or dog has barfed on your car seats or possible has been acting nauseous. Young puppies in particular are very prone to motion sickness and so are some adult dogs when they have not been well accustomed to traveling in the car. The key solution therefore to help a dog suffering from motion sickness lies in getting the dog gradually used to the car. Here are some vital tips and home remedies to turn you dog into a four-wheel loyal companion.
As with most things in life, slow and steady wins the race. Unless you use medications from your vet, your pup will likely require some time and gradual exposure to get acquainted to the car.
So make sure you set aside some time to help your pup and make sure you cover those car seats well just in case your puppy or dog gets sick!
Let Your Dog Explore the Car
The first step is to get your puppy or dog used to the car gradually. Ideally, simply bring your dog in the car and bring along some treats, a familiar toy and yourself. Put your dog in the seat and allow your dog to sniff around. Then just start the engine and…. don’t go no where. What you are doing is simply getting your dog used to the car, its smell and its noises. They toy allows the dog to still smell something from home allowing reassurance. The treats are to tell him what a good boy he was and to conclude this first session on a positive note.
Skip Your Dog’s Meal
An empty stomach may mean nothing to vomit. So this may help your dog and yourself. Little food in the stomach means less mess to clean up. Ideally, avoid giving food in the morning if you are planning a trip in the early morning or simply as a rule of thumb, stick to not giving any food at least 6 to 8 hours prior to the trip. Water is OK to give, never withhold water unless directed by your veterinarian. If water makes your dog nauseous, try offering ice cubes to lick instead.
A Drive Around the Block
Now that your dog is familiar with the car smells and the noise, take a short trip around the neighborhood. Watch your dog for signs of impending nausea such as licking lips and appearing uncomfortable. If the dog does fine then he may upgrade for a longer ride on another day. If he gets sick do not give up as of yet, simply try again another day and be careful to drive slower and for a shorter drive. Always praise once back home right before getting out the vehicle regardless if your puppy or dog vomited or not.
Drive a Few Blocks Away
Now that your dog is OK with visiting the neighborhood try to be bold and drive a few blocks away. Make it a 10 minute drive. The good thing about driving around is that this is also a good way for your dog to start to enjoy car rides. Talk your dog in a happy voice, and if possible, have a helper sit next to your dog.
If your dog appears to get nauseous, consider that if you crack a window open the fresh air may help fight some of the queasiness. However, be careful to just open them a little bit, especially if you own a puppy or small dog. There have been mishaps of dogs escaping from an open window or sticking their head out and getting injured by passing cars.
Also, consider that just like people. dogs may feel better by riding in the front seat and looking upfront. Investing in a dog seat belt may be helpful. These belts will ensure your dog is buckled up safely and allow some piece of mind.
Make Car Rides Pleasant
Some puppies or dogs seem to suffer from motion sickness primarily because they are nervous. This may be the case if you bring your dog in your car only primarily to see the veterinarian and get shots or other unpleasant procedures done. Instead surprise your dog by taking him along to fun places like the dog park or to a friend’s home.
If your dog is nervous, you can also use some calming aids to help take the edge off. Products such as Adaptil collars can help ease anxious dogs. Dog owners also report improvements in using products such as Thundershirts, Anxiety Wraps and Calming Caps. Some dog owners report success using Bach flowers.
And don’t forget to be a considerate driver. Keep in mind that some dogs may do very well until you take that sharp curve or you take that big bump. Try to be extra careful on how you drive being aware of anything that may cause some turbulence in your car.
Ask your vet about giving your puppy or dog some plain Benadryl (diphenhydramine) if your dog still gets nauseated regardless of all the above attempts. You should follow the vet’s advice for proper dosage instructions. Generally, the dose for Benadryl is 1 mg per pound of body weight, according to veterinarian Dr. Kara. It should be given an hour or two before traveling. Dogs with glaucoma or bladder issues should not be given such medication.
Another medication that can help is Dramamine (dimenhydranate). According to veterinarian Dr. Scott Nimmo, the dose of Dramamine for dogs is 4 mg per pound of body weight and it should be given half hour prior to travel. Always consult with your vet before giving dogs over-the-counter medications.
Ace it with Acepromazine
Some dogs may require stronger medications that are available by prescription. As a last resort ask your vet about acepromazine. This medication is given by prescription only and it may cause drowsiness and other unpleasant side effects especially in sensitive breeds. Usually this medication is given in moderate to severe cases of car sickness and only occasionally when car drives are inevitable. Another prescription medication that can help reduce the nausea is a newer medication known as Cerenia (maropitant). Ask your vet about it.
Cure it With Cookies
If you are not too eager in giving your dog medication for motion sickness, consider that more and more pet bakeries are making dog cookies with ginger to help dogs suffering from motion sickness and other forms of tummy upset. Ginger has been known for quite some time to work great in reducing nausea and motion sickness. Nowadays, there are also many supplements that can help puppies and dogs who get motion sick.
As seen, your puppy or dog can easily turn out to be a nice car riding companion. All it takes is some time, patience and praise for every sign of progress. Keep up the training and very likely you will own a dog that will follow you just about everywhere, from small trips to the dog park up to hour long trips when you are moving across several States.
*Disclaimer: All remedies suggested are not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your pet is sick please refer to your veterinarian for a hands on examination. If your pet is exhibiting behavior problems please refer to a professional pet behaviorist.