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Combating Dog Car Sickness

Combating Dog Car Sickness

Car Sickness in Dogs

Did you know more than 50% of the population now decide to holiday in the UK and bring there favorite four-legged friends with them! However, if you have a dog that suffers from travel sickness the thought of traveling to your holiday destination or even the local park can be somewhat of a worry. 

In this blog, we will talk about travel sickness causes, signs, and prevention to hopefully get you & your dog traveling peacefully in no time. 

Travel sickness in dogs is very common, especially in younger dogs or puppies. Although in most cases if a younger dog is suffering from travel sickness, don’t despair, they'll usually grow out of it!

If your dog is an adult and still feels a bit poorly in the car, there could be several explanations for this. A possible reason is they may have had a bad experience during one of their first car journeys as a puppy. This can create negative feelings around being in a car and often leads to them getting quite stressed when traveling - which, in turn, makes their travel sickness worse.

Another reason, which is also stress-related, could be whenever they go for a ride in the car they’re taking a trip to the vets.

What are the symptoms?

Surprisingly vomiting isn’t the only sign of travel sickness, and not all dogs who suffer from travel sickness will do this. To help you keep an eye out, here are the main signs to tell if your dog isn’t feeling too good!

  • Vomiting
  • Listlessness
  • Panting
  • Yawning
  • Lethargy
  • Chewing
  • Whining
  • Excessive drooling

adult black and white collie sitting at the back of car

How can I help my dog feel better?

We'd recommend you talk to your vet in the first instance about anti-nausea medication to go alongside some of the below advice, this will help your dog to have more of a pleasant experience in the car. It will also create positive reinforcement and help to reduce the amount of anxiety they feel, which should make them less queasy!

There are many things you can do to help your dog feel better, although every dog is different so unfortunately there isn’t a one cure fits all! Some of our advice you can try is as follows:

      • It may be a good idea to try your dog in different cars or vehicles, as like us when we feel ill on a bus we can be absolutely fine in a car. Each mode of transport is different and it’s always worth experimenting with various ways of transporting your dog to see if it helps.

      • To help prevent your poorly pooch throwing up during car journeys, try not feeding them for 2-4 hours before you leave. Opening a window (not too wide though! You don’t want your dog sticking his head out!) may also help as this will help to circulate some fresh air around the car and make the environment more comfortable for your dog.

      • If their travel sickness is due to a stress response, be it a bad experience or being nervous of the vets, you'll need to work with your dog to make being in a car a positive thing. You can do this by spending a short amount of time in the car with your dog and gradually building it up. Reward your dog with lots of praise and treats, so they see it as a fun activity rather than something to be nervous of. Once your dog is happy being in the car and going for short journeys, why not take them to the beach or to the local dog park to further reinforce that going for a ride in the car can be fun!

      • To help calm your dog calm down you can also try using a herbal remedy, we recommend Dorwest Scullcap and Valerian to relieve anxiety, help relaxation and reduce excessive salivation while traveling. Two doses should be given at about 12 hours and 2 hours before a journey using the higher dosage rate. Use the same regime for subsequent car journeys until the dog or cat becomes more accustomed to travelling.
      • Remember the safety of your pet on car journeys, it is required by law that dogs must be secured with a seat belt. We recommend using a harness and a seatbelt adaptor for maximum protection & comfort for your dog.  
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