Dogs and Motion Sickness
Treatment for Dog Motion Sickness continued...
Another thing that may help your dog’s motion sickness is to lower your car windows a couple of inches while the car is moving. This helps balance the air pressure inside the car with the air pressure outside, which may help reduce your dog’s nausea and discomfort. Also, be sure to keep the car cool and well ventilated, as a hot or stuffy vehicle can contribute to unpleasant sensations for your dog.
One trick used on the show circuit to prevent dog motion sickness is to limit your dog’s food consumption prior to travel. Then, right before the trip, give your dog a small piece of sugary candy (like a jellybean), which seems to reduce sensations of nausea. Never give your dog chocolate candy or treats made with xylitol, however, because these are toxic to dogs.
If your dog has learned to associate riding in the car with feeling stressed and nauseated, there are a variety of conditioning techniques you can try to lessen this connection. These include:
- Taking a break from car trips for a week or two
- Changing vehicles to avoid association with past unpleasant experiences
- Taking short car trips to places your dog enjoys, like the park
- Gradually building your dog’s tolerance to car trips; start by getting your dog used to approaching the car, then spend some time in the car with the engine off. When your dog is ready, take short trips (around the block, for example) to build tolerance before progressing to longer car rides.
- Using treats to make the car a fun place for your dog (but be careful you don’t give too many and make your dog nauseated)
- Buying special toys that your dog enjoys and only has access to in the car
Dog Motion Sickness Medications
Dogs that don’t outgrow motion sickness and don’t respond to conditioning may benefit from the use of medication. There are a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications that may decrease your dog’s motion sickness symptoms.
- Anti-nausea drugs
- Antihistamines, which can lessen dog motion sickness, reduce drooling, and offer sedation
- Prescription drugs, which reduce vomiting and provide sedation
Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before purchasing any over-the-counter treatment for dog motion sickness. You will need to know the correct dose to give.