Summer time means the open road, national historic landmarks and loads of fun! Some dogs really enjoy car rides and can’t contain their excitement. Our dogs Sushi and Espy do just that, their tails wag every time we jingle the car keys. One of the simple pleasures of being a dog, besides chasing squirrels and sniffing butts, is sticking your head out the car window with the wind in his fur and tongue flapping in the breeze. Dogs love watching the world whiz by in their house on wheels (a home away from home)!
While other dog’s detest car rides, even the mention of a car ride makes them ill. Forcing you to drag them in the car just to make their annual vet checkup or appointment at the groomers, outings they don’t look forward to. Getting your dog to the final destination is definitely no walk in the dog park. The entire ride is miserable for you both, as your car sick pooch looks at you with those big, sad puppy eyes curled in the back seat, anxious, fearful, shivering and about to cough up his biscuits.
But there is hope! Here are a few facts about car sickness and ways you can help your dog overcome motion sickness, anxiety and fear associated with car rides.
Car sickness in dogs is caused by their inner ears being over-stimulated, which creates motion sickness. Puppies and younger dogs are susceptible to car sickness because their ears have not fully developed. The part of their inner ear that is used for balance is still growing. Stress can also cause our canine friends to get sick in the car. They might think they are going to their least favorite place: the vet.
For humans, it’s easy to know when someone is nauseated. They turn pale. But dogs, unfortunately, don’t give us that tell-tale sign. So look out for a few of these symptoms: dry heaving, rapid panting, inactivity, listlessness, vomiting, whining, excessive drooling, excessive licking or excessive chewing.
Before you head out on the road its crucial you get your dog use to car rides. If your dog associates a car ride with a trip to the vet, then take him on short drives and allow him to get out and run. It might also be helpful to change cars so he doesn’t associate one car with previous bad experiences. Also, get him use to the car by sitting in it with him for brief periods of time. Another way of conditioning him for the car is to get him a special toy that he can play with only on car rides.
If you know he’s having trouble keeping his food down on car rides, one of the simplest ways of preventing a vomiting disaster is to reduce the amount of food he will consume prior to the drive—or don’t feed at all beforehand. Snacking on Ginger prior to the car ride and during long trips helps to calm a dogs anxious stomach.
During the ride it is important to make his commute as comfortable as possible. Placing a pillow in the back seat for him to lay on could help ease his stress level. Don’t allow him to peer out the back glass; have him face forward instead. Additionally, get some air flow in the car. Roll down the window an inch or two.
**Protect your dogs eyes from bugs and grit by purchasing doggles for your nomadic pup!
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