A lot of people do not like to travel with their dogs due to their dogs dislike of the car. A lot of the time the problem could be due to motion sickness. Motion sickness is when the visual input does not correspond with the movement or spatial orientation. You see this problem alot with puppies and young dogs because the system responsible for maintaining the sense of balance is not fully developed. it can persist into old age when the dog has learnt to associate the feeling of sickness and discomfort with travelling and so it can become a behavioural issue. According to market research 1 in 4 dogs suffer from motion sickness but only 9% are treated before travelling.
How can you spot the symptoms?
If your dog is suffering from motion sickness then they will likely exhibit the following symptoms:
- Anxiety (whining/pacing/panting
So what can you do to make the travel more pleasant?
- Slowly introduce your dog to riding in the car.
- Keep windows slightly open to allow your dog fresh air during the journey
- Drive carefully and avoid unnecessary braking or acceleration
- Make sure that it is not too warm or too cold in your car.
- Take regular breaks so that your dog can walk around outside (in safety) and drink some water
- Avoid stress during your journey as much as possible. Your dog will remember positive experiences for a long time and will be excited to come along in future!
- Try and go to fun places, like the park for a run. Do not always use the car to go to the vets..
- Use synthetic pheromones to help calm your dog – and these are available as a collar and a spray.
- Use of calming supplements can be beneficial, and can be used in conjunction with medication (see below).
- Proper medication to prevent the symptoms
Some medications work by making your dog sleepy but do not work directly on the vomiting centre within the brain. Behaviour therapy can be beneficial but requires a lot of time and work, however does have it’s place in helping your dog get used to the car. To deal with the motion sickness though, it can be easily prevented thanks to a medication that has been specially developed for dogs and is reliable and long lasting – without making your dog sleepy.
This means you can remain flexible and mobile and enjoy your holidays together with your four legged friend!
Ask our vets about this medication – he or she will be more than happy to help!