If you plan on traveling by car with your pet, then be prepared for possible motion sickness. Many pets get motion sickness just like humans. Pets get motion sickness for both physical and emotional reasons. However, there are things you can do to make your pet more comfortable. Here are some of the signs of car sickness in pets and ways you can help.
Why Do Some Pets Get Motion Sickness?
Some animals get motion sickness due to an inner ear problem. Motion sickness is often more severe in younger animals, and many outgrow the condition. Some animals get sick due to extreme anxiety from being unaccustomed to travel or because they've had a previous bad travel experience. Common motion sickness symptoms include:
- Hunched posture
- Lip licking
- Whimpering (in dogs)
Will Training Help With Motion Sickness?
Training and acclimation are especially helpful for pets with motion sickness due to anxiety issues. If your pet associates riding in the car with something unpleasant, then he or she will likely have problems in the future. For example, if you only give your pet a car ride to the vet, then he or she may be more anxious about traveling.
Start out with short trips to places your pet will enjoy. Increase the length of time in the car gradually. You can also make things easier by having your pet face forward and lowering the windows slightly. Bring along special toys you use only when traveling by car. Generally, it is advisable not to feed your pet before traveling. However, some pets do better if they have a small amount of food and water in their stomachs.
Can Medicine Reduce Motion Sickness?
For pets with severe motion sickness or an inner ear problem, medications may help. Pet-safe anti-nausea drugs and antihistamines have been shown to be helpful in reducing motion sickness. If you are only planning on taking your pet on a one-time trip, then talk to your veterinarian about sedation. Don't try giving any medications to your pet without talking to a professional.
Many pets are able to travel by car after their motion sickness problem is alleviated. However, some pets may have severe sickness and may never acclimate to riding in a vehicle. If possible, it may be better for your pet to be boarded if it is not critical he or she travels with you. Many animal hospitals offer boarding services in addition to medical treatment. Talk to a veterinarian at an animal hospital like Center-Sinai Animal Hospital for more information about how to make your pet more comfortable while traveling.