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How to Deal with Motion Sickness in Dogs

Motion sickness in dogs can be really annoying for pet owners and extremely uncomfortable for the pet as well. This article deals with the causes, symptoms and treatment options available for travel sickness in dogs.
DogAppy Staff
Like humans, dogs are also susceptible to motion sickness. Travel sickness creates a very uncomfortable situation for the pet dog and can be extremely bothersome for the pet owner. This problem is mostly associated with puppies as they are more prone to stress than adult dogs. Most puppies overcome this problem as they grow old, while some may condition themselves to produce symptoms of this problem each time they travel. Motion sickness in dogs is not restricted to traveling by car only, rather, can happen when traveling by air or train as well. Whatever be the means of travel, it surely disturbs dogs in a big way and has to be taken care of. Before checking out the treatment options, let's have a look at the causes and symptoms of this common problem.

Probable Causes
Traveling can psychologically affect dogs, making them conscious about different-than-normal routine. They possibly feel anxious and stressed due to their traveling experience. The fear of moving apart from its owner, visiting the vet or worse even, being sent to the kennel, creates a lot of stress which appears in the form of associated symptoms. Apart from stress, underdeveloped internal ear structures are also responsible for triggering motion sickness in dogs. Similar to humans, the internal ear structures in dogs are responsible for maintaining their body balance. Puppies are more prone to this kind of sickness due to underdeveloped ear structures which fail to maintain their balance thus, making them uncomfortable.

Associated Symptoms
As a dog is unable to express uneasiness during travel, it is the responsibility of the pet owner to look for related signs when taking it out for a ride. Symptoms produced may vary, but are generally among the ones mentioned below.
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Yawning
  • Lethargy
  • Trembling
  • Rapid panting
  • Unusual behavior
  • Excessive salivation
Treatment Options
Some medications for controlling travel sickness are available over-the-counter, and some can be bought after obtaining a prescription from the vet. Even if you choose over-the-counter medications, it is advisable to consult the vet before actually giving a dose to the pet. Medications used for treatment are:
  • Antiemetics: These drugs are used to prevent nausea and vomiting.
  • Antihistamines: These act by producing sedation in dogs and reducing excessive salivation thus, providing relief from sickness.
  • Phenothiazines: These produce sedation and reduce vomiting thereby, providing relief.
Many natural remedies have been used since ages to get relief from sickness due to travel. The ones used for dogs are:
  • Mint: It is a very useful natural herb that is used to provide relief from travel sickness.
  • Kalium Phosphate: It is also used to treat this problem in dogs and humans.
  • Ginger: Known for its several benefits, it also helps in relieving symptoms due to travel.
Tips to Follow
Here are a few tips to follow in order to prevent your dog from suffering unnecessary discomfort.
  • Condition your pet in such a way that it starts enjoying traveling. This can be done by taking the pet to a nearby garden by car everyday, where you can carry out some fun activities for your dog. Maintaining this routine will help your dog associate traveling with fun activities and reduce its tendency to feel sick.
  • Use special dog seat belts to make your dog see forward while traveling so that it does not feel nauseous.
  • Open the car window to create a comfortable atmosphere for your dog.
  • Take frequent breaks during long trips.
  • Treat your dog with a sugar candy before beginning the journey as it helps in reducing nausea.
  • Do not feed your pet dog before the journey, as having a full stomach increases the chances of vomiting.
Homeopathic medications are also available to treat this problem. If you are interested in a homeopathic remedy for this problem, an experienced homeopath will be the right person to help you out. Antianxiety medications for dogs are used to cure anxiety caused due to several reasons, and traveling is one among them. Even though these treatments are available, make sure you make your pet's journey fun-filled and interesting because most of the time, sickness is a result of stress. So, try to make the journey stress-free and enjoy a jolly ride with your pet dog.