You are driving towards your veterinarian hospital for your new puppy’s set of shots when you notice your puppy insistently licking his lips. Shortly thereafter, you notice stomach contractions and within a few seconds your puppy has lost his morning breakfast all over your car seat. Concerned, you clean up as much as you can while wondering if your new pup may be suffering from motion sickness.
Young puppies 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 lays in getting the dog gradually used to the car. Here are some vital tips to turn you dog into a four wheel loyal companion.
- Destination nowhere
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.
- Empty stomach
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 six hours prior the trip. Water is OK to give, never withhold water unless directed by your veterinarian.
- Visit the neighborhood
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 with open windows. Always praise once back home right before getting out the vehicle regardless of if he vomited or not.
- Go 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 15 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.
- Keep the windows down
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.
- Allow to look at the horizon
Just as 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.
- Turn car rides pleasant
Some 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.
- Make it smooth
Some dogs may do very well until you do 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 about Dramamine
Ask your vet about Dimenhydrinate if your dog still gets nauseated regardless of all the above attempts. You should follow the vet’s advice for proper dosage instruction. Dogs with glaucoma or bladder issues should not be given such medication.
- Ace it with Acepromazine
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.
- Try Ginger Cookies
More and more pet bakeries are making dog cookies with ginger to help dogs suffering from motion sickness and other forms of tummy upset.
- Car Sickness Supplements
There are several over the counter products that can help dogs suffering from car sickness. If your dog is particularly anxious, look for calming supplements.
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.