| Kelsie Shields
The warm weather and well-earned vacation time of summer offers a perfect opportunity to road trip with your pup. But unfortunately, your dog’s motion sickness may make all these exciting adventures seem unattainable. Motion sickness is a common malady in humans and dogs alike; one survey reported 21 percent of dogs showed at least one symptom of motion sickness.[i]
Luckily, there are many options are available to help your four-legged friend enjoy the journey to your next adventure or even simply make a trip to the vet a more relaxing one.
There is no cut and dried answer to why your dog may experience motion sickness, but to learn about several possible causes and symptoms, click here.
Whether your dog’s illness is caused by an idiopathic reaction or simply from stress, there are several ways you can still help make any trip a little bit better.
Many dogs show signs of motion sickness from the stress of bad past experiences. Perhaps the only time they get in the car they go places like the vet, maybe they have not been socialized and dislike being away from home. Whatever the cause, stress can make your dog anxious and even nauseous in the car—almost exhibiting common anxiety symptoms. Reversing this response takes time, but it is worth it in the long run.
Desensitization is the step-by-step process of getting your dog used to traveling—in this case, specifically car travel.
- Start by bringing your dog into the car. Don’t start the car, simply play and praise your dog.
- After getting pup acclimated to an un-started car, turn the engine on.
- Next, go for short trips. Remember to praise your dog-- treats and their favorite toys are good ways to show them that car rides aren’t so bad.
- Continue to increase the length of trips, always being sure your dog is comfortable with the length of the journey.[ii]
Perhaps desensitization is not a viable option or maybe lack of acclimation is not the main reason for your dog’s motion sickness. If that is the case, here is a list of several other options for your travel wary pet:
- Restrict food intake
- Try to avoid feeding your pet less than two hours before your trip. If the case of long trips, keep food intake light, and be sure to go for a walk after your pup is done eating.[iii]
- Align their senses
- Motion sickness is sometimes brought about by the scrambling of sensory information. Allow your dog to sit somewhere near the front, so they can see the road moving while they feel the movement.[iv]
- Roll those windows down
- Getting some fresh air circulating through your car equalizes air pressure inside and out. All those good smells may also help distract your dog from the stress and discomfort they may be feeling.[v]
Treats and smells
Certain herbs and essential oils have been found to reduce anxiety and upset stomachs in dogs.
- The flower found in many nighttime teas works well to calm anxious pets and its anti-inflammatory properties are exceptional at calming upset stomachs and the unfortunate symptoms that accompany it. Click here, to learn more about how chamomile is a natural way to calm your pet’s worries and upset stomach.
- In one human study, inhaling lavender oil was found to decrease blood pressure, reduce heart rates, and decrease skin temp of test subjects.[vi] The correct amount of lavender for your pet should be researched before use but many pet parents have found it to greatly help their pet’s travel worries.
- Ginger has anti-spasmodic properties that help with nausea and stomach pain.[vii]
- CBD hemp oil
- Hemp oil is believed to help in calming and soothing anxious pets. It has also been found to reduce nausea and vomiting in canines.[viii]
How our products help
We’re in the business of calming anxious pets, but our products’ benefits don’t stop there. Both our Bedtime Bones® and Eau de Bedtime Spray® combine chamomile and lavender to create a soothing symphony for stressed dogs and pets. In fact, many of our customers use our products to help their dog’s motion sickness and upset stomach.
All in all,
there are many products on the market that can help your pet overcome their motion sickness—the most important is your patience! Be willing to take the time to talk to your veterinarian, work on desensitization, and pinpointing the cause of your dog’s symptoms. A little added work can make any adventure with your pet possible (even a seamless visit to the vet's or groomer's).
[i]Canine Motion Sickness? (n.d). Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.zoetisus.com/products/pages/cerenia/canine-motion-sickness.aspx
[ii] Treat Dog Motion Sickness Naturally. (n.d.). Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com/dog-motion-sickness.html
[iii] Bocca, D. (2018, August 14). 6 Ways to Cure Car Sickness in Dogs. Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/6-ways-cure-car-sickness-dogs?view_all=1
[v] Shojai, A. (2019, January 27). Puppy Feeling Pukey? Try DIY Cures for Canine Car Sickness. Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.thesprucepets.com/cure-puppy-car-sickness-2804799
[vi] Sayorwan, W., Siripornpanich, V., Piriyapunyaporn, T., Hongratanaworakit, T., Kotchabhakdi, N., & Ruangrungsi, N. (2012, April). The effects of lavender oil inhalation on emotional states, autonomic nervous system, and brain electrical activity. Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22612017
[vii] Ginger Benefits for Dogs: Safe Herbs for Dogs. (n.d.). Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com/ginger-benefits.html
[viii] Treat Dog Motion Sickness Naturally. (n.d.). Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com/dog-motion-sickness.html