There are many potential challenges to traveling with a pet, and of these, car sickness for dogs and puppies can be one of the most frustrating. Any plans you might make to take your dog on vacation with you -- or even just for a short day trip -- get complicated when you know their stomach reacts poorly to being in a moving vehicle.
If you don't make allowances for the condition, you can end up with both a sad pet and a messy car.
Why Do Dogs Get Car Sick?
There are many factors contributing to car sickness for dogs; these include diet, eating habits, car motion, and even your pet's psychological state. Always be on the lookout for the signs of doggy car sickness that come before outright vomiting.
Excessive drooling, yawning, panting, and distress behavior can all indicate that your dog is in trouble. One good piece of news is that dogs usually outgrow car sickness as they become accustomed to car rides. Until then, though, part of being a responsible pet owner is knowing what to do to help your canine companion through the condition.
Natural Remedies for Car Sickness in Dogs
1. CBD Oil
With the increasing legalization of marijuana products on a state-by-state basis in the U.S., there's increasing interest in using them to treat animals in addition to humans. CBD oils are often used in humans to treat panic attacks, PTSD and anxiety disorders. Unlike many of its cousins among the marijuana derivatives, CBD oil is also not psychoactive so you can rest assured rover won't be a bit loopy during the car ride.
There's little in the way of accompanying health risks, making CBD oil one of the first products you should check out on this list. Be aware, though, that you will need to live in a state where CBD oil is broadly legalized. If you're in a medical-marijuana state or one where it is entirely illegal, you may have trouble obtaining it for your dog.
2. Nux Vomica
Nux vomica is a plant derived from the strychnine tree. As long as the dosing is kept reasonable, it is safe for dogs to consume. You should avoid giving it to your dog several days in a row, though, as the strychnine contained in the pill does have the ability to accumulate in the body.
It is frequently employed in humans to handle nerve conditions, depression and migraine headaches. You should try it if other solutions on this list prove less than effective.
Sepia Officinalis is a species of mollusk, specifically a cuttlefish, that's frequently used as a homeopathic treatment for a variety of disorders in both humans and animals. In pill form, sepia is administered for motion sickness. Human products sometimes include lactose pellets that might not sit well with your dog's stomach, and you should absolutely make a point to find a product that's specifically aimed at canines in terms of both dosing and composition.
4. Cocculus Indicus
Sometimes also referred to as Indian Cookie, Cocculus Indicus is a homeopathy treatment that's regularly used to target nausea, vomiting and motion sickness. It can be especially useful if your pup has trouble with general exposure to being outside and around noises, fresh air, vehicles and other sources of stimulation.
Additional Steps to Help With Doggy Car Sickness
The best way to acclimate your dog to car travel is to focus as much as possible on taking them to places they will enjoy. An anxiety-inducing visit with the vet is not going to make your pet look forward to their next car ride. It's far more effective to get them to expect interesting exploration, fun times, and treats when they get out of the car.
Your dog needs to be as comfortable as possible in your car. You can help them overcome fear and anxiety by taking them on short trips -- even just around the block -- while paying as much attention as possible to them.
Remember to give your dog a treat or two when you come back home! To help treat severe car sickness, you can try feeding your dog in the car a few times so that they build positive associations with the surroundings.
The more positive car experiences your dog racks up, the faster they'll forget the anxieties they used to experience. As this process goes on, you can gradually increase the length of your pet's trips. Keep an eye out for car sickness signs, though, and pull over at the first signs of distress.
When at all possible, leash your dog and get them out of the car for a few minutes to let them recover. Once your pet regains their confidence, you can get back to your trip.
Despite all the factors that can contribute to car sickness in dogs -- digestive discomfort, motion sickness, stress, or anxiety -- the ultimate solution remains the same. You must work with your dog so that the animal gets comfortable with motor vehicle travel. This can take a lot of time and effort on your part, but the long-term benefits are clear. You can assuredly make your dog into a seasoned car traveler, and after you do so, he can be a part of all sorts of family road adventures.
The better you understand how your dog thinks, the better things get for your whole family.