Dog Car Sickness & Motion Sickness: Warning Signs & Prevention Tips

You did it! The pet-friendly hotels are booked, the trip is planned, and your car has been packed with enough supplies to keep your pet happy, fed, and feel like it’s a home away from home. Hooray! A trip with your pet and you’re both excited.

Everything has been taken care of except maybe one thing, what if Max gets sick while on the road? What will you do? Can you prevent this?

If you’ve ever been motion sick, you know it feels terrible and can take a while to feel better. Dogs don’t have a way to let us know they are starting to feel funky and they don’t turn that fine, fine shade of olive green that we do. It’s also not easy to keep an eye on him and the road. There are some precautions you can take to help cut down on the occurence of your dog being sick and also some signs to watch for. There is hope. We know how gross it can be and cleaning a car is not easy.

Signs Of Motion Sickness in Dogs

  • Inactivity but not quite the same as “settling down”
  • Listlessness and seeming “down”
  • Uneasiness and nervous
  • Yawning
  • Whining
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting

It’s not easy to distinguish some of these signs from your dog just being a little nervous, tired, or uneasy. Especially if your dog associates the car with trips to vet, nervousness can appear in the form of yawning and whining without sickness following. Some dogs may not show any of these symptoms and may simply vomit without any signs and then lay down and whine.

What Can You Do?

If you’re in the middle of driving and you notice your dog starting to fidget and seem “weird” it could be a good idea to pull over and let him take a small walk for a few minutes. The fresh air and lack of motion can help stop a problem before it starts. Also, make sure the air flow in the car is fresh, keep a window cracked, keep the vents open, and do not smoke in the car.

Other Tips to Help Prevent Motion Sickness

  • Invest in a dog seat belt or carrier and face your dog forward
  • Limit your dog’s food and water before travel and during pit stops
  • Keep air flow going in the car to regulate the pressure from outside the car and inside
  • Try giving your dog a jellybean, as the sugar can limit the nausea
  • Talk to your vet about medications that might help alleviate motion sickness

Don’t forget the first aid kit and other doggie supplies in case your dog gets injured while away. Also, it is a great idea to do some research of the places you are going and find the local 24 Hour Emergency Vet, local pet stores, and other info.

Happy travels!

Image from The Dog Training Secret

Pet Health Insurance. Good Idea!

woman_cat1I have to admit, as much as I love animals, when I heard that companies are now offering pet insurance, my first response was “You’ve got to be kidding me!” This was basically the same response I had when I learned there were pet psychiatrist and pet psychics…. But then I thought about it.

A few years ago I had a beloved cat named Winston. Winston had been with me for 5 years. He had moved with me from one state to another and then back again. He had also  sat on my lap, purring and butting his head against me, when I had a major health scare.

Then one day he was on my lap and I noticed he was getting a little thin. I started watching his food and realized he wasn’t eating¬† much, so I took him into the vet. 6 days later I came home with my cat. It turns out he had kidney failure but, much to the surprise of myself and my vet, had responded to treatment and was able to come home with me. By some miracle, he had recovered.

cat_vetThe invoice from my vet for saving Winstons life was close to a thousand dollars. I pondered this. On the one hand, it had cost an arm and a leg, and after all, he was just a cat. But on the other hand, he was like family to me, and because of this enormous bill I was able to have three more years with him.

I’m guessing a lot of pet owners have experienced this dilemna because now more and more pet insurance is offered for just that reason. Insurance, which covers routine visits as well as major catastrophes, costs approximately $25-$30 per month. If I had had pet insurance when I took Winston in, his six overnight stays, as well as treatment and anesthesia, would have cost’ me approximately $50.

The thing is, when the vet asked me if I wanted to put Winston to sleep or try to save him, he warned me that it could get expensive. For me though it was a no-brainer. My heart always wins…. but if I had to do it over again, I would have gotten insurance.

If you’d like to know more, read our guide to pet health insurance including plans and companies that offer insurance.