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Motion sickness in dogs is a common problem. Motion sickness is more common in younger dogs than in adults. The reason may be that the parts of the inner ear involved in balance are not fully developed. Puppies often "outgrow" motion sickness by the time they are about 1 year old.

Many adult dogs become anxious or even sick when traveling due to the lack of conditioning and the strong unfamiliar stimuli associated with moving around in a vehicle. Dogs that only travel once or twice a year (usually for a vet visit) are not used to driving and often associate driving with the stressful experience that follows.

This causes increased anxiety and stress and can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Puppies who experience traumatic or frightening first rides may also associate future trips with this stressful event. Some dogs may have health problems such as middle or inner ear infections or vestibular disease (disease of the vestibular area located in the inner ear) that makes them prone to nausea. Others may be taking medications that can cause vomiting or diarrhea.

So how do you prevent motion sickness in a puppy? First we need to understand why it happens and then we can treat it.

What causes motion sickness in dogs?

Canine motion sickness is more common in puppies and young dogs than in older dogs. Just like motion sickness, it affects more children than adults. The reason for this is in the ear structure, which is used for balance - it is not fully developed in puppies. That doesn't mean all dogs will outgrow motion sickness...although many will.

If the first few car rides in your dog's life caused nausea (he has bad memories of vomiting), this can happen again even after the ears have fully matured. Stress can also contribute to motion sickness.

Signs of motion sickness in a dog

Dogs don't turn as unpleasantly green as humans when they experience motion sickness. However, there are some signs of canine motion sickness that you can learn to recognize. These signs are:

  • Inactivity, lethargy or discomfort
  • Yawning
  • Crying (whining)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Lip smacking or licking

Treating Canine Motion Sickness

The best way to prevent canine motion sickness is to make the car ride as comfortable as possible for your dog.

Your dog will experience fewer unpleasant visual cues if he faces forward during your journey instead of looking out the side windows. One way to ensure this is to use a specially designed dog harness. If you choose to have your dog ride in the passenger seat, remember that airbags pose a potential danger to dogs. While you can't be sure your dog will be forward-facing while riding in a travel crate, many people prefer using crates for safety reasons—plus they have the added benefit of containing the contents in the event of vomit.

Another thing that can help your dog with motion sickness is to roll down the car windows a few inches while the car is moving. This helps balance the air pressure inside the car with the air pressure outside, which can help reduce nausea and discomfort for your dog. Also, make sure that the car is cool and well ventilated , as a hot or stuffy vehicle can contribute to your dog's discomfort.

One of the tricks used to prevent dog motion sickness is to limit your dog's food consumption before the trip. There are also various nutritional supplements that help reduce the feeling of nausea or even prevent it.

If your dog has learned to associate driving in a car with feelings of stress and nausea, you can try different techniques to reduce his fear of travel. These techniques are:

  • A week or two off from traveling by car
  • Changing the vehicle to avoid association with past unpleasant experiences
  • For short car trips to places your dog enjoys - say the dog park
  • Gradually developing your dog's tolerance for car travel; start by getting your dog used to getting close to the car, then spend some time in the car with the engine off. Once your dog is ready, go on short trips (like around the block) to build tolerance before progressing to longer car rides.
  • Using treats to make the car a fun place for your dog (but be careful not to give too many and make your dog sick)
  • Buying special toys that your dog enjoys and only has access to in the car.

Medications for motion sickness in dogs

We can also use various medications for dogs that do not outgrow motion sickness and do not respond to all possible touches. There are a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications that can reduce your dog's motion sickness symptoms. You can find natural herbs that help in the article HERE: 5 herbs that overcome motion sickness in dogs

Antihistamines, which can reduce a dog's motion sickness, reduce drooling and provide reassurance

Prescription medications that reduce vomiting and provide sedation
Be sure to consult your veterinarian before purchasing any over-the-counter medication for canine motion sickness. You will need to know the correct dosage.
    By LovingPaw


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