To a dog, there really is nothing better than a bright summer day, a rolled down window and the wind whipping through their fur. That is, at least, to most dogs. For those who suffer from car sickness, however, the entire experience can be extremely frustrating. Fear not, though! It doesn’t have to be that way.
After being confronted with a very sick Great Pyrenees on the way to the park one day, I knew that there had to be something more that I could do than just hope for the best. Luckily, there are several treatments available.
I do have to say, though, if you’ve never been on the driving end of a giant dog that has lost his lunch all over the backseat of a very tiny car, you have not really lived.
First things first, the warning signs:
- Excessive drooling
- A dog that is extremely hesitant to ride in a car
- Obvious agitation or anxiety
What can you do to stop it?
Thankfully, there are several ways to minimize or even eliminate car sickness altogether. Each remedy works differently for each dog, so it may take a few tries to find the perfect solution or combination of solutions that work for you.
1. Avoid food and treats before taking a ride. At the very least, make it only a small meal. Not only will this help with an upset stomach, it will also create the bonus of making sure that cleanup is much easier should he become sick anyway. Water should not cause an upset stomach. Sometimes it can even help to settle one, so make sure Mr. Carsick is still getting plenty of water.
2. Get them started when they are young. Older dogs who do not normally ride in a car can sometimes get so nervous that they make themselves sick. To give yourself the best odds at a car-sickness-free friend, make sure the dog gets used to it early.
3. Start small! You do not have to drive across country, or even across town for that matter. Start out with a quick trip down the street or around the block. This gives just enough time for your dog to get used to the idea of being in a car without the added stress of being trapped in one for an extended time. If there is no way around a long trip, stop frequently and give your pet time to regroup. As inconvenient as car sickness might be for an owner, it is even more stressful for dogs. They are the ones getting sick, after all.
4. Let dog be your copilot. Much as it does with humans, riding in the front seat can make a world of difference to a car-sick dog. Roll down the window, let the air circulate, and make sure to offer encouragement! There is nothing more soothing to an upset dog than his owner’s voice.
5. Less driving, more parking. If your dog is one of the types that are less than thrilled about riding in a car, start out just sitting in your driveway with the car parked. This can help to make sure that the dog is accustomed to just being in a car without the panic- and sickness-inducing movement added to the mixture.
6. Read the signs! If your dog starts to show any of the signs of car sickness, stop driving immediately. Take him out, let him calm down, and resume driving only after he is fully settled. Trying to force a sick dog as a passenger will likely only end badly. Trust me, your upholstery will thank you and so will your furry friend.
And finally, if the above tips just don’t seem to work for you:
7. Don’t be afraid to talk to your veterinarian. There’s a large variety of medical treatments available. You can find herbal treatments online, but make sure to consult your vet before starting any of them. There are also anti-nausea medications available by prescription, should the need arise.
Now you know what to look for, plus some simple steps to alleviate car sickness. With a little work and some tweaking to find the treatment that works best for you, your dog will be practically begging for those car rides in no time.
This guest post was contributed by the writing team at PetsAdviser.com, a pet advice blog.