Motion sickness in dogs is a common problem. Motion or car sickness is more common in younger dogs than adults. The reason may be due to the fact that the parts of the inner ear involved in balance aren’t fully developed. Puppies will often “outgrow” motion sickness by the time they’re about 1 year old.
Long car rides can be challenging for new pets or adult dogs who haven’t done a lot of car traveling as puppies. Vomiting from motion sickness in puppies is more common than in adult dogs and many puppies tend to grow out of this condition.
For new pets, he recommends taking short test drives before planning a big cross-country adventure. If you can identify the problem during a short ride, that will give the pet owner time to work with their veterinarian to have some information, strategy, and medication ready to go for that next long ride.
A full stomach can worsen symptoms of motion sickness and make your dog more likely to vomit, so a change in feeding schedule might be wise before a car ride. Feed two hours prior to leaving so that all the food is digested and out of the stomach before you leave.
If you are going on a very long car ride (over eight hours) you’ll have to feed them at some point but keep the portions small and make stops for your dog to walk around after his/her meal.
Dog motion sickness is often worse when dogs sit in the back of the car, looking out of the back window. “Sitting more toward the front will make them less likely to get carsick. You may even want to try letting them lay down on the floor behind one of the front seats.
A small piece of ginger snap cookie before a car trip can sometimes help soothe a dog’s stomach. Ginger is a natural anti-nausea ingredient. Do not feed your dog any type of cookie that contains artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
Discuss with your vet about dramamine, an antihistamine that can work for dogs with nausea. “Benadryl is another antihistamine that has less anti-nausea effects but is a fairly safe mild sedative. It can calm them down a bit and often will prevent motion sickness, especially if the vomiting is triggered when they get very anxious and worried.
You can also bring one of your pup’s favorite toy or a blanket for the trip as a car sickness remedy to make the car feel more familiar and comfortable.
Choose a car seat for you puppy that is up higher than the seat if possible to allow the pup to be able to see out the window. I also suffer from car sickness if I sit in the back too long or try to read a book and I do best being in the front seat. It may have to be a trial and error to figure out if your puppy can tolerate the front or back seat. There are many car seats to choose from and I especially like the console seat.