It’s officially family-road-trip season, which might make you wonder, “Do dogs get car sick?” Just like humans, dogs can suffer from motion sickness, even during short car rides. So while you could leave Fido with your neighbors or pay to board him, vacations are just more fun with him. Here’s how to keep your pup happy and your back seats clean the next time you take a drive with your furry friends.
While the mechanisms that cause motion sickness in dogs aren’t well understood, it’s believed that the portions of the brain that control balance and motion are involved, Daniel Edge, DVM, told Travel + Leisure. Whether a dog is likely to suffer from motion sickness is also related to whether car rides cause them fear or anxiety. So if you just got a new puppy or you’re planning on traveling with your dog for the first time and you aren’t sure how they’ll react to spending hours in the car, ask yourself if they’re normally quite anxious. If so, perhaps it would be better to have them stay with a friend.
But let’s say your dog is fine being in the car. In that case, you still want to make sure he or she isn’t traveling on an empty stomach. Edge recommends feeding your pooch a small meal before you back out of the driveway. Taking breaks frequently so your pup can stretch and use up some energy is also helpful. “Ideally, you should give your pup a 15-20 minute break for every 2-3 hours that you are on the road,” he says.
Strapping in your pup closer to the front of the car, rather than in the back, can relieve motion-sickness symptoms, according to the American Kennel Club. If you put your pup in the middle so he or she is staring out the windshield rather than the side, movement won’t appear as blurry.
The most obvious symptom of motion sickness in dogs would be vomiting — but it’s not the only one, Edge says. If you spot a combintion of signs including excessive lip licking, drooling, dry heaving, shaking, or whining, your dog may be suffering from motion sickness. He recommends the medication Cerenia, but you should talk to your vet as soon as you know your travel plans so he or she can recommend the best motion sickness medication for your dog.
Car sickness shouldn’t keep your four-legged friends from having a “paw-some” vacation — and now that you have these handy tips, it won’t have to.
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