Motion Sickness

By: DogTrekker Staff
Dog in car with motion sickness

By Chris Pitts, RVT, of Broadway Animal Hospital.

Traveling with your dog over the holidays is not always easy when your dog has a tendency to get motion sickness. There are a few things you can do to prevent or reduce the vomiting associated with motion sickness. And then there may be a few issues you will need to iron out with the help of your veterinarian.

Starting your dog off on a short ride around the block every day is a good way to get your dog used to the car. You are with him the whole time, and the ride is not usually long enough for him to get so worked up he vomits or drools. Gradually increasing the drive time may be all you need to get an excitable dog over his motion sickness.

For those dogs that seemingly look at the car and get sick, fast them for an hour prior to the car ride. Yes, the short car ride around the block. Try working your way up to longer times in the car. Ideally this would be over the course of several months. Some dogs are hyperactive and get car sick because they get so wound up. Others, just like people, are more sensitive to motion. Desensitizing your dog to motion, as well as the excitement associated with a car ride, is what the short car trips are supposed to do.

However, sometimes you do not have enough lead time to properly acclimatize your dog to the motion of the car. In these cases, visit the veterinarian. They may give you the same recommendations of fasting, and trying to get your dog used to the car in small, contained intervals, but they also have medications in their arsenal.

At an office visit the vet can best determine which medication will do the most for your particular pet. Again, there are different reasons a dog may vomit or drool on a car ride. Anxiety medication will not help a dog who has cerebellar issues with motion and is actually dizzy. Giving your vet a clear idea of what your dog does in the car, and what seems to trigger his nausea, will go a long way to determining the most effective medical treatment for your particular dog.

Safe travels!