Humans aren’t the only ones who suffer from travel sickness. The rocking motion of vehicles can also lead to nausea and vomiting in dogs, making it a challenge to take them even on short rides. This really puts a damper on the fun-filled stays at pet friendly holiday cottages you may have imagined when you adopted your dog. Thankfully, there a few things you can do to make travelling less of a hassle for both of you.
Dog travel sickness is linked to the inner ear, which helps your pet keep his balance. The movement of a car, train or plane stimulates this part of your dog’s ears and causes dizziness, which can lead to excessive drooling, nausea and vomiting. Travel sickness occurs most often in puppies or young dogs because their ears are still developing and don’t adjust to movement as well as those of older canines. This is good news because it means there’s a chance your dog will leave travel sickness behind as he ages.
In the meantime, however, there are some things you can do to make travelling with your dog more pleasant. Try some preventative measures such as putting the car windows down two to three inches, which helps to regulate air pressure inside the car, possibly reducing the effect on your dog’s inner ear. It’s also wise to avoid offering food for six to eight hours before trips. You might also consider investing in a special doggy car seat. This elevates your pet’s position and allows him to look out the windows more easily, which may reduce dog travel sickness.
Sometimes dogs become so accustomed to getting sick on trips that it causes anxiety, which actually makes the nausea and vomiting worse. The key to resolving this problem is to make trips something to look forward to. Try conditioning your dog to travel by taking him on several very brief car rides. Incorporate the precautions mentioned earlier (lowering car windows, etc.) and drive your pet to an enjoyable location, such as the park. This may help replace negative feelings and reduce the stress associated with travel. A self catering holiday may also benefit your dog, as this will be similar to your normal schedule.
If your dog doesn’t outgrow travel sickness and preventative measures offer no relief, it’s time to consult your veterinarian. There are several medications that can be prescribed to alleviate symptoms, including dimenhydrinate, the same drug humans use to quell travel sickness. Certain antihistamines, anti-nausea medications and even herbal remedies may also be effective. In extreme cases, when travel isn’t optional, a sedative may be prescribed to make the trip bearable.
Dog travel sickness is no fun for you or your pet. Just as in humans, it causes miserable symptoms that take the joy out of any trip. It is possible to make travel enjoyable again by taking steps to reduce the negative effects of motion on your pet. In some cases, however, medication may be the only way to find true relief. With determination and the right treatment, your beloved pooch will soon be on the road again.
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