For many dogs, riding in a car is a smorgasbord of pleasures. Look at it from your dog’s perspective: the anticipation of seeing something new, the new sights, all the fabulous smells, and just the simple fact of being close to you.
Then there are the dogs that are miserable in the car. For these dogs, there is no happy grin of excitement. Rather, these poor pups shake, they cower and shake, pace and paw, or pant and drool. They may very well throw up.
Could Be Nerves. For some dogs, being trapped inside a big, noisy, moving thing is totally frightening. Their sensitive ears feel assaulted. They feel disoriented and out of control. If your dog has ever been in an accident, or has been in the car during an accident, the memory of those events may come flooding back. Also, your dog may associate the car ride with unpleasant destinations, like being separated from you, or a trip to the V. E. T. (Not every practice is Fear Free Certified like we are.😉 )
Could Be Nausea. True motion sickness could also be the reason your dog is uncomfortable. It’s especially common in puppies and younger dogs, since the ear structures used for balance are still developing. But older dogs suffer from it, too.
Could be Nervous Nausea. If you’ve ever been so nervous your stomach hurt, you know how some dogs feel. Dogs who have been sick in the car before, may get sick again just thinking about it.
Could Be Better. To reduce the chances of car sickness, there are several things to try:
Crack the windows. This will help to equalize the air pressure, which can help reduce nausea.
- Limit food intake. Withhold food for twelve hours before the car trip. Keep plenty of fresh water available. It’s an especially good idea to bring a hungry dog to see us, since lots of our Fear Free strategies involve yummy treats.
- Set the view. Put your dog in the middle of the back seat, and use a harness to hold him in place. If you have an SUV, you can put her in a crate, and cover the back and sides so she can only see forward.
- Take a toy. Give your dog a favorite toy or blanket to provide something familiar for him to do.
- Talk to us. There are many medication options for motion sickness and/or motion anxiety. We can recommend over the counter and prescription options that will help alleviate symptoms.
Could We Help? Whether it’s nerves, nausea, or a combination of both, we want you and your pet to be happy in the car. If your trips in the car could be better, talk to us. We want you to be able to go wherever takes your fancy – to the dog park, come to see us, or to take a trip across the United States.