Anybody know how to help this dog out? He is seven months old and his owners would like to take him around in the car/truck, especially to their vacation home. Will he grow out of it? Maybe withold food for a few hours?
He may grow out of it, especially as he gets more used to traveling. Our 45-pound lab mix has always dealt with car sickness. It got somewhat better as he got older (he's 4 now), but on longer trips (more than about an hour), he still gets carsick.
Some things we tried that helped a little:
-taking a 15-30 minute break halfway through longer trips
-withholding food the morning of the trip
-making sure the dog was in a place in the vehicle where he could see outside and move around freely
I finally talked with our vet about it, and she gave us some Cerenia. It's not cheap (about $7/pill, and our 45-pound dog needs 2 per trip), but it seemed to work for us. We've only tried it twice, on 3.5-hour trips, but he didn't get sick.
Tell then to work with their vet, that will give them something for the dog's nausea.
Most dogs outgrow it, we had a few with that problem, but they got over it, although have heard of the rare dog that didn't.
In our dog club circle, we did notice that some cars and more pickups tended to cause nausea more than others, station wagons seemed the worst, for some unknown reason.
Tell them to try taking the dog in another vehicle, in the front seat, or front seat floor, in the back in a crate, etc.
We have battled this for almost 4yrs now with one of our GSD's. What works for us is exercising him 10 mins or so before a ride. We also withhold food until we get to our destination if we have to leave w/in 2 or 3 hrs of him being fed. We have a Chuckit and they LOVE chasing the ball so that gets excess energy out of him. Usually the places we go they play with other dogs and are worn out on the ride home so there are never any issues coming home.
As a general rule the more dogs travel in the car the more they become used to it. Is the pup usually only in the car for vet/groomer visits? I'd freak and/or puke too, if those were the only times I went in the car! How often does he go for a drive? Is there any fear/reluctance getting into car? How is dog's general car demeanor--nervous? Quiet but pukey?
Let's start with getting into the car, because if Pup gets in calmly and willingly, future drives will be a breeze. Tell owners that if he's fearful approaching/entering car, to practice approach/entry ON LEAD w/GOOD treats (hotdogs, cheese, etc)....dont allow retreat(that's what the lead is for-no hauling pup to car, just short lead and food reward for progress), but dont drag either. Any step towards approach/entry gets food reward. REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT, IN AND OUT, in and out, until pup is happy-or at least resigned-work for clear progress each session, and do as many sessions/day as they can handle-at least 3/day.
From there, short rides around the block (or farm), less than 5 min., w/destination being a rewarding walk, run, retreive session, etc., and then home. If they can find a park/field <5 min. from home, head there until it all goes well. Gradually increase time and distance---they can take the long way to the same reward spot.
If Pup is agitated in car-pacing, barking-good obed. training will give owners more tools to help w/ control...2nd worse car behavior is a barking agitated dog-totally annoying and downright dangerous.
Withholding food for a good 2 hrs. before a drive is good sense. Owner should plan on drives EVERY DAY ad nauseum (pun intended).
I drive 20+ dogs/day, 5 days/wk, for the last 30 yrs. (nope, not all mine-clients)- ALL without exception learned to be great travelers. The pukers got better the more they went w/me.
That is encouraging. They tried some meds - he is a calm and low-key pup and does not seem afraid, anxious, etc. Small trips, being comfortable in the vehicle and he may come around. They would love to have a car companion eventually.
"All, without exception learned to be great travellers" is the best news!
Our dog used to love the car but in her senior years, she has started to get carsick sometimes. Creating a space that they feel secure can help- keep seats up instead of folding them down so they can lean on them, and if you have slippery seats, cover them with a blanket or one of those doggie seat covers (bonus.. easier to clean if pup gets sick) so they don't slide around or get stressed out. Depending on the length of the trip, keeping the windows down or cracked so your dog has some fresh air can be helpful. I don't feed right before a trip in the car but I make sure she has something (not a full meal) a while beforehand, since she seems to travel better after having a little snack as opposed to when her stomach is empty. Don't withhold water! Pup might outgrow it somewhat- maybe frequent, short trips to help him get used to it.
I'm surprised no one's mentioned sea sickness meds. I've tried dramamine before on some fosters that get sick with mixed results, but enough positive ones that I'd still consider it.
Recently I had to take a dog on a 4 hour trip. She drooled like a running faucet and puked twice. On the trip home, i asked my mom if she had any dramamine; she didn't. But she did have bonine, which is used for motion sickness too. ( She takes it with ginger before boating). Gave the bonine abt 45 mins before leaving, didn't feed the pup. She still drooled for the first part of it, but didn't vomit and stopped drooling after a short while. I have to take the same dog to visit my parents again in two weeks and will probably buy the bonine to see if it wasn't just a fluke.
Definitely second the recommendation of desensitizing the dog to the car, too. I'll also be taking this dog on short errands between now and the trip, too.
God luck! It seems not to be all that uncommon, especially in puppies.
Last edited by bits619; May. 14, 2011 at 11:19 PM.
Our puppy gets sick if the ride is over 20 minutes. Our solution was to put the crate in the backseat (I realize this isn't an option for everyone, but you mentioned a truck and many of them have decent sized backseats) and put him in it. He LOVES it. He just settles in with his bed, bones, and toys and will ride for hours with no fuss. He isn't a huge dog though and we are lucky his crate fits in the truck, lol. Just another thought if that option is open.
Otherwise I've heard that both ginger and regular anti motion sickness medication works well.. I like the ginger idea but I'm a hippie anyway.
My last dog(aussie) had car sickness quite a few times when she was young. She also had a few episodes when she was older, but I think those pertained more to an upset stomach than actual car sickness as we had barely gotten the car a block down the street. My current dog(mini aussie) has so far only had one episode of car sickness (the day I brought her home).
I've had Collies for about 10 years now, when my Sadie was a puppy and we were bringing her home I think she spent about 1/2 the ride throwing up a real interesting variety of dog food, grain, etc, (whatever she'd eaten that day from the farm we got her from!). Taking Collie pups down to the opthamologist, (in a large pet taxi in the back of a pickup truck) I generally would arrive with puppies drooling and with bits of puppy food thrown up in the carrier...poor little guys.
Some have been better travellers than others, and even Sadie doesn't get carsick now (though she doesn't enjoy car rides), but the opthamologist (who sees the breed frequently) told me early on "I'd never want to be stuck on a boat with a Collie", lol, apparently they are notorious for having bad "sea-legs"
The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, "You know, I want to set those people on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done".
Consider how and where you drive: fast-start, fast-stop, lots of city traffic? or smooth, slow acceleration, slow around corners, consistent speed, etc? try driving your car like you drive with your horse trailer and see if the problem improves.