Don’t let your Dog’s travel sickness ruin the start of your getaway!
Sarah-Jane White is an animal behaviour expert who lives in Norfolk. Her mission is to help pet parents use enrichment methods for a happy and fulfilling life together. She regularly shares ideas that support the instinctual behaviours of pets in safe fun and enriching ways. She has kindly written this article for Dog Furiendly about preventing travel sickness.
Dogs can get travel sick, just like us. Sometimes it is caused by the motion of the vehicle and other times it’s anxiety. It can, of course, be a combination of both.
Motion sickness is caused by an inbalance in the inner ear. When a dog moves, the fluid in its ears moves around. The moving fluid helps your dog orient to what is going on around them. But too much movement from something like a car, boat or plane can cause dizziness and motion sickness, and can happen to dogs of any age, but is really common in puppies.
Dogs can often develop car-related anxiety too. Your dog may associate being in the car with an unpleasant or traumatic experience like going to the vet. If your dog vomits every time they go for a car ride, they may start to associate the car as making them sick.
The good news is that you can help dogs become accustomed to car rides by taking a little time to prepare before your journeys.
Common Signs And Symptoms Of Car Sickness In Dogs Are:
- Hunched back or other changed body posture
- Lips pulled back and tight facial muscles
- Wide eyes
6 Ways To Help Your Dog With Travel Sickness
Regardless of the cause there are six ways you can help your pooch stay comfortable during their travels.
Condition Your Dog To Travel Without Being Sick
Take your dog on short rides in the car to help condition them to the motion and feeling. Start by just putting them in the car, then turn it on, then drive up and down the driveway, then the road, then round the block. Gradually increasing the duration of the time they spend in the car.
You want to make the car a fun place to be too, so turn your car into a kingdom of toys that your dog only gets to play with whilst inside the car. You’re aiming to teach your dog that the car offers lots of benefits.
Give them lots of good-dog praise and fuss. Rewards like these are especially important in shaping behaviour over time.
No Food Before Travel
Plan to have your dog fast 12 hours before embarking on a car trip. If there’s nothing in their stomach, there is not much to vomit up.
Limit Their View
Watching the world whizz by is enough to make anyone sick. To help your dog maintain a stable position, be sure to put them in the middle of the seat in the back of your car. Keep them buckled up with a safety belt or harness. Use child blinds on the windows to screen the moving images and keep out bright sunlight.
Invest In a Travel Crate or Kennel
Ideally you would keep your dog in a carrier when you travel. The carrier will provide an area for your dog to rest that is safe and quiet. The carrier should have their blanket from home so it smells familiar. Train your dog before you travel to sleep in the carrier by using it at home as a crate.
Let In Some Fresh Air
Lowering the car windows and letting in some fresh air will help balance the air pressure inside the car. This will help with nausea. Keep the car cool with air conditioning and at a steady temperature.
You can also use a few squirts of a calming spray to before you leave to help alleviate the stress and reduce the risk of your dog being sick.
No matter where you’re going, we hope this article has helped to make your travel experience a little bit easier. We hope your dog enjoys a safe, stress-free ride with you in the car.
How do you prevent your dog getting travel sick? Let us know in the comments!
For more great tips and advice head to Houndy.