Sedona AZ (January 30, 2017) – Welcome to a new week! Here’s a Shout Out to my newest column sponsors Sedona Music Boxes and Bruce McGillivray! Thank you for being fab-tastic Four Paws Up Pals cuz you both rock, Sedona-style!
With winter travel in high gear, several of us plan on hitting the road with our Four Paws Up pals for a little winter fun. However, for some four-legged family members, road trips can mean upset tummies.
Queasiness in the car is not just a human problem. Dogs and puppies do sometimes experience motion sickness on car rides. Unfortunately, car sickness can make any kind of pet travel a distressing ordeal for both dogs and their families.
Car sickness doesn’t have to be a serious or lasting problem for your pet. With the right treatment, it can be mitigated, or even stopped altogether.
There are several causes of car sickness in dogs and puppies. The most common? Let’s talk about several:
Immature ears! In puppies, the ear structure that regulates balance isn’t fully developed, which can cause extra sensitivity to motion sickness. Good news? Many dogs will outgrow car sickness as they age.
Stress. If traveling in the car has only led to unpleasant experiences for your Four Paws Up pals — to vet offices, for example — he or she may literally be worried sick about the journey!
Self-conditioning. If your dog experienced nausea on his first car rides as a puppy, he may associate car rides with illness, and expect to get sick in the car.
A dog with car sickness may not look as you expect! Here are some symptoms to look out for:
- Excessive/repetitive yawning
- Hyper-salivation (drooling)
If your dog is suffering from car sickness, symptoms will typically disappear within a few minutes after the car comes to a stop. Fortunately, there are a number of different methods available to help prevent and/or treat canine car sickness.
1. Increase His Comfort Level
Turn your dog so that he faces forward. Motion sickness is related to the brain’s ability to process movement. The less blurring movement he sees out the window, the better he might feel.
Keep your dog as close to the front seat as possible (but not in the front seat). The farther back in the car you go, the more you sense motion.
Opening the windows a crack. This brings in fresh air which is soothing, and helps reduce air pressure.
Avoid feeding your dog for a few hours before a car trip.
Transport him in a travel crate. A crate will limit his view to the outside, and will help to keep any sickness he may have confined to a small space.
Keep the temperature low. Heat, humidity and stuffiness can exacerbate car sickness.
Distraction rules! Toys, soothing music, or just hearing you speak may help calm and distract a high-strung dog.
Take frequent breaks. Getting out for fresh air or to stretch your legs can help him feel better periodically. Even exercise before the car ride is a help.
For dogs who have negative associations with riding in cars, reconditioning could be the answer. Reconditioning does take time and patience, but it really can help relax your dog. If an option, drive in a different vehicle. Your dog might associate a specific vehicle with unpleasant memories.
Take short car trips to places your dog enjoys. This will replace negative associations with positive ones. Gradually acclimate your dog to the car. Start by sitting with your dog in the car while the engine is off each day for a few days. When he seems comfortable, let the engine idle. Once he is used to the noise, drive slowly around the block. Gradually progress to longer and longer trips until your dog seems comfortable. Offer your dog treats, or offer him a special toy that’s just for car rides. This will make the car a fun and rewarding place to be.
While motion sickness can be helped in natural ways for some Four Paws Up pals, there are cases in which medication is the only option. There are both over-the-counter and prescription medications available, including Anti-nausea drugs, antihistamines, and Phenothiazine which reduces vomiting and sedates pals. Be cautioned though to ALWAYS discuss ANY medication given to my pals with your VETERINARIAN FIRST. You want to be sure he or she is healthy enough to take the medication and what’s the proper dosage to avoid any adverse effects!
4. Holistic Approach
Holistic treatments are another way to go for dog parents! They really can be effective, and are worth trying. Some common holistic choices include: Ginger to treat nausea. Try giving your dog ginger snap cookies or ginger pills at least 30 minutes before traveling; Peppermint and chamomile and horehound naturally help calm the stomach and nerves of your dog. These are available in pills and teas; Massage can help sooth and relax your pet before you travel and as with other medications, always discuss any holistic remedies you plan with your vet to ensure that it’s appropriate and that the dosage is correct.
In short, with some patience and training, and or the right medications or holistic treatments, you and all my SedonaEye.com Four Paws Up pals will be able to ride safely and happily together anywhere you need to go!
And some of us, like yours truly Poco Diablo McGuire, LOVES A RIDE TO THE PARK ANY DAY AND ANY TIME. Arf, arf, arf!
If you’re planning a trip soon, you might visit TripsWithPets, a pet friendly online travel guide to pet friendly hotels and accommodations. Tell my friends there that Poco D in Sedona sent ya! And don’t forget to mention mom who’s the best-est ever on this earth too!
Here’s another Shout Out to my newest 2017 SedonaEye.com Four Paws Up sponsors, Bruce McGillivray and Sedona Music Boxes, on behalf of all us Four Paws Up guys and gals we thank you again!