What to Do if Your Dog Gets Motion Sickness

Many dog owners prefer to travel with their pets. A significant obstacle can be motion sickness – when the four-legged friend gets nauseous during travel. This causes inconvenience for both of you, and joint trips can become impossible. However, the animal can be helped if you know how.

Where Motion Sickness Comes From and How It Manifests

Motion sickness is caused by two main reasons. The first reason lies in problems with the animal’s vestibular apparatus. Often, motion sickness troubles young dogs up to a year old. This is a period of active growth. Afterward, the vestibular apparatus’s sensitivity to motion imbalance decreases. Statistically, this condition affects 80% of all young dogs, and after a year, it only manifests in 12%.

In some cases, the illness is genetically transmitted – the cause lies in a congenital defect of the vestibular apparatus. It’s not hard to identify – motion sickness doesn’t go away after a year, and the dog still gets nauseous. The disease can only be treated with medication.

The most harmless cause of motion sickness is stress. It occurs if the dog has not traveled with you before or has been transported to the vet by car or bus. This leads to fear of ending up in an unpleasant situation. Thus, motion sickness is provoked by nervous tension. The symptoms become more pronounced when caused by nerves.

Motion sickness manifests differently in dogs. Pay attention to your pet’s condition – is it behaving as usual or are there strange symptoms? The owner should be able to recognize that the dog is getting motion sick:

  • Excessive drooling;
  • Trembling;
  • Restlessness – the dog whines, turns around;
  • Weakness;
  • Nausea, vomiting.

How to Help a Dog with Motion Sickness on a Journey

If a dog gets motion sick, it doesn’t mean the end of joint trips. Preparation is key for each trip, whether by private car or public transport:

  • Feed the dog no later than 2-3 hours before the trip, or at least 5 hours before for long journeys;
  • Take a good walk beforehand;
  • Avoid using perfume, smoking, and remove air fresheners from the car’s interior – strong smells can worsen the dog’s condition.

What to prepare and take with you:

  • A bottle of water and a bowl to hydrate the dog on the way;
  • A toy to distract;
  • Wet wipes and disposable diapers for potential clean-up.

If traveling by public transport, make sure the dog is as calm as possible. Buy a train ticket for a compartment rather than a general carriage, and don’t transport the pet in the vestibule where it can easily get frightened.

With motion sickness, it’s necessary to periodically stop the car so the dog can walk in the fresh air for a few minutes, drink, and relieve itself. This is especially important for long trips. If signs of motion sickness have already appeared – you must stop.

What else you can do:

  • Eliminate sudden and loud noises – turn off the radio or music, speak softly;
  • Crack open a window to ensure a supply of fresh air;
  • Place your pet in the car closer to the middle of the vehicle;
  • Lay a waterproof blanket for pets in the car beforehand;
  • Drive the car smoothly and carefully, minimize shaking, avoid potholes and bumps, rather than falling into and bouncing over them, and avoid sharp turns and rotations.

Prevention of Motion Sickness

The danger of regular motion sickness episodes can lead to the development of a phobia of traveling. To prevent this, take care of prevention. If your dog gets motion sick on trips – start acclimating them to it in advance, let them get used to the car. Praise for good behavior in the car, create pleasant associations with going out. In warmer weather, make short trips to nature, so the dog associates car rides with enjoyable experiences. If you only take your pet to the vet, the process of adapting to car rides will be slower.

As part of the acclimation, start with short trips and gradually increase their duration. It’s better to start traveling with your dog while it is still young.

Many dog owners prefer to travel with their pets. A significant obstacle can be motion sickness – when the four-legged friend gets nauseous during travel. What to do if your dog gets motion sickness.

On walks, try to play more active games. It’s beneficial for your pet to move a lot, run after a ball or frisbee. It’s been noticed that active, agile dogs are less prone to motion sickness, as such activities are good for training the vestibular apparatus.

Medication for Motion Sickness

If symptoms of motion sickness are based on nerves and not related to dysfunction of the vestibular apparatus, any sedative can help. They should be taken a few hours before the trip. Any medication should only be given as prescribed by a doctor! A specialist will choose the medication depending on the dog’s breed and the nature of the motion sickness. Some drugs have contraindications and side effects.

What a veterinarian might prescribe:

  • Tablets or injections for motion sickness, alleviating the main symptoms – restless behavior, nausea, vomiting, dizziness;
  • Medications blocking the vomiting reflex for up to two days;
  • Mild sedative tablets to reduce anxiety;
  • Sedative agents useful for stress, also appropriate for motion sickness on a nervous basis.

Some dog owners recommend using sleeping pills so the dog sleeps through the journey and causes no inconvenience. This is an inhumane method that will harm the animal – such drugs have many side effects.

Many dog owners prefer to travel with their pets. A significant obstacle can be motion sickness – when the four-legged friend gets nauseous during travel. What to do if your dog gets motion sickness.

If the dog is over a year old and the symptoms of motion sickness persist, it should be examined by a doctor. The cause may lie in a pathology of the middle ear, requiring serious treatment. Congenital motion sickness can also only be resolved with medication, as the unpleasant condition does not resolve with age.

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