Neither Miss Millie nor Molson every experienced motion sickness. Mr Magoo on the other hand he suffers tremendously from motion sickness. How do you manage dog motion sickness?
Puppies seem to have motion sickness worse than dogs, but that doesn’t mean they will out grow it. An older dog might have terrible motion sickness if they were never exposed to a car when they were young. Regardless, you don’t want your furry friend to suffer while they are in the car.
Some dogs may appear to suffer from motion sickness but really it is anxiety driven. Unfortunately, it is unlikely your puppy with “grow” out of this. To overcome this type of motion sickness you will need to work on counter conditioning to help create good experiences with the car.
In the beginning you won’t know what exactly you are dealing with, I currently don’t know which it is with Mr Magoo. I’m hoping he will grow out of it. But in the meantime, he’s miserable, my car is sick of having vomit all of it, and it’s just gross.
How do I manage dog motion sickness in the meantime?
There are a few different options which may work for you. Some are natural and others are medicinal. It is up to you to decide what you are willing to try.
Like humans some dogs will respond better to being in the front seat of the vehicle. If this is the case make sure they are in a harness, preferable one by SleepyPod as they are crash test rated. Mr Magoo does better when someone is holding him in the car, in the front seat. Clearly this is not an ideal option so I have moved on.
You can also try fresh air which will regulate the pressure in the car, helping some dogs. You can also ensure they are facing forward particularly when they are in a crate, and not feeding them before your trip. For Mr Magoo none of these have made a difference that I can tell.
Lots of Portuguese Water Dog owners swear by ginger. They give low to no sugar ginger cookies prior to car rides. I haven’t tried this method, mostly because I keep forgetting to look for the cookies. It is next on the list. I will give it a try for short car rides as that is how preform all of my tests. If cookies aren’t your thing you can try ginger in the capsule form.
If you know your dog is suffering from nerves you can try a Thundershirt or an ace bandage wrap. Miss Millie does well with Thundershirts when her nerves are running high, like in a thunder storm. I haven’t tried this with Mr Magoo because I think his is motion related not nervousness.
Using Essential Oils
Peppermint is known for being calming for upset stomachs. Peppermint oil can be helpful for your dog too. You can place some on their collar or dilute it with a carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut oil or almond oil) and rub it on their belly. You may want to have some additional in the car to put on an aromatherapy diffuser pad for your car vents.
Lavender is good to use if your puppy tends to be nervous. Personally, I like the blend Peace and Calming from Young Living or the two blends Peace and Lighten from Melaleuca. I have used these on Miss Millie before agility trials to help relax her and it has helped.
Since puppies can manage to put everything in their mouth it is important to ensure your essential oil will not be harmful if it is ingested.
I will be the first one to say that sometimes it is worth taking a pill. And in Magoo’s case, so far this seems to be the best option. I have used Dramamine and Cerenia with Mr Magoo and have had success with both. The downside to both of these is you have to plan ahead.
I am using Dramamine for shorter trips that aren’t on winding roads. Mr Magoo get one tablet, 50mg, one hour prior to our trip. I have tried giving it closer to the drive and it doesn’t seem to help at all. If Dramamine is something you want to use make sure to check with your vet for the proper dosage.
For longer trips or those on winding roads I am using Cerenia. You receive a prescription from your vet so the dosage will vary. Mr Magoo has successfully gone on a two-hour road trip with additional short trips after without an issue. However, you have to plan three hours ahead of time. You give the pill two hours before you leave and no food is to be given one hour before the pill. It’s a lot of planning but well worth it if you don’t want to spend hours in the car with dog vomit.
These are just a few of the options out there, you can check out our article “Counter Conditioning to Help Anxiety” for some other ideas to help you. What works for Mr Magoo may or may not work for you. If you have a puppy or dog that suffers from motion sickness what have you done?
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