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How to Prevent Motion Sickness in Pets

You've just started your car trip with your dog or cat when you hear a particularly disturbing sound, followed by an unmistakable odor. Motion sickness doesn't just affect humans, but can also be a problem for our animal companions. Although the easy answer to the problem is "don't take your pet for rides in the car," it's not always possible to avoid car trips. These remedies can improve your pet's comfort during car rides and will help you keep your vehicle cleaner.

What Causes Motion Sickness?

Motion sickness can occur if the eyes, nerves, and inner ear, the parts of your pet's body that detect motion, become confused. When a pet rides in a car, its eyes sense movement, even though the body isn't actually moving. In some pets, this can trigger motion sickness symptoms. Motion sickness most commonly affects younger animals, although it can be a problem for animals of any age.

The problem may also occur if your pet experiences anxiety when riding in a vehicle. If the only time your pet rides in the car is to visit the veterinarian, he or she may develop a negative association with the car and experience motion sickness symptoms due to anxiety.

Signs of Motion Sickness

If you're prone to motion sickness, you probably have a lot of sympathy for your pet. Car rides are no fun when you're fighting the urge to vomit. Although vomiting is a definite sign of motion sickness in animals, it's not the only symptom. Other common symptoms include:

  • Whining
  • Frequent yawning or drooling
  • Lack of energy
  • Constant licking of lips
  • Diarrhea

How Can I Help My Pet Cope with Motion Sickness?

Try one or more of these suggestions if you would like to help your pet experience an illness-free car trip:

  • Improve the View. People and pets are more likely to become sick if they stare out a side window. Make sure your pet has a clear view out the windshield by placing him or her in the middle of the back seat. Be sure to safely restrain your furry friend with a pet harness or crate.
  • Skip a Meal. If possible, don't feed your pet for four or five hours before the car trip. Continue to offer water, but don't offer food until you arrive at your destination.
  • Turn Off the Air-Conditioning. Fresh air can help reduce motion sickness symptoms whether you're a pet a person. Roll down the windows a little and let your furry friend enjoy the breeze.
  • Stay Away from Long and Winding Roads. The more the car turns, the worse motion sickness becomes. If there is more than one way to reach your destination, choose the route that offers the straightest path.
  • Take a Break. During long trips, stop every hour or two. Give your pet plenty of time to walk around a little and drink some water before you resume the trip. If your pet was just beginning to feel a little sick, taking a break can help reduce or relieve motion sickness symptoms.
  • Turn Riding in the Car into a More Pleasant Experience. If you suspect that anxiety may be to blame for your pet's symptoms, change the way he or she views the car. Place your pet in your stationary car for five minutes, then offer a treat. Once your pet feels comfortable in the car, go for a very short ride, followed by a treat. Gradually increase the length of the car rides, always offering a treat at the end. Once your pet becomes comfortable in the car, be sure to take him or her to fun places, like dog parks or the beach.
  • Ask Your Pet's Vet About Medication. The same type of medication that people use to control motion sickness can also be helpful for pets. Don't give your pet any over-the-counter supplements or motion sickness medications without checking with the vet first. Dosage amounts will vary, and the medication may not be recommended for some pets.

Would you like to help your pet conquer motion sickness? Call us to schedule an appointment to discuss his or symptoms and treatment options.

Sources:

Vet Street: Motion Sickness in Dogs, 1/14/13

http://www.vetstreet.com/care/motion-sickness-in-dogs

Dogtime: Canine Car Sickness

http://dogtime.com/dog-health/general/20607-canine-car-sickness-what-to-do-about-it

American Kennel Club: Car Sickness in Dogs, 4/16/15

http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/car-sickness-in-dogs/

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  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

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    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

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    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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