Car Sickness in Pets
Humans are not the only species to get car sick. Dogs and cats can also get a queasy stomach when traveling in the car (or even by boat or air). Most often car sickness is caused by the stress of being in the car and not the motion of the car.
Signs that your pet is feeling uneasy: excessive drooling, crying out in distress, immobility or acting afraid to move, vomiting or regurgitation, urinating and/or defecating.
Some tips that may help:
- Help your pet become familiar with riding in the car by choosing a park or open space about 5-10 minutes away from your home. If you have a dog, take them out for a walk, play ball or frisbee for a bit before heading back home. Once you return home, finish your session with a treat or meal time. Try doing this as frequently as you can to help your pet become used to car rides.
- Don't feed your pet a full meal prior to going on a car ride. If possible, feed a smaller portion of their meal or a few treats to help keep them from getting sick. Water is also fine.
- There are some over-the-counter medications that may be useful; they don’t cause sedation, but can reduce nausea and vomiting. A veterinarian should be consulted before any drugs are given (either OTC or prescription) just to be sure the pet is healthy, the dosage is correct, and that the medication won’t harm your pet.
- Make an appointment with us to discuss your pet's needs - there is a pet prescription medication for dogs called Cerenia that we can provide to you for longer road trips, and even a prescription medication available for travelling cats.
- Fresh air is good for anyone who's feeling a little carsick, including your dog or cat, but don't open the window enough so he can escape or get his head out the window. This can be especially damaging to a pet's eyes.
If you'd like to discuss your pet's specific needs about riding in the car, whether it's a short trip to the vet office, or a long move across the country, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors to discuss prevention of car sickness prior to their appointment.