How to Help Pet's, Dog or Cat With Travel Sickness
Unfortunately, just like humans, dogs can suffer from travel sickness. The good news for dog owners is that with a few simple adjustments, it is possible to help a dog to overcome this problem. The key to solving problems, such as travel anxiety and travel sickness is to gradually accustom a dog to car travel.
Symptoms and Causes of Travel Sickness in Dogs
It is thought that approximately one in six dogs suffers from some degree of travel sickness with puppies being the most commonly affected. Symptoms of travel sickness include:
Signs of anxiety
Like humans, travel sickness in dogs is caused by the brain receiving excess signals from the body's balance system. Obviously, the lack of balance can cause the dog to feel anxious and nauseas and may ultimately cause the dog to vomit. Naturally, this is very distressing for both dog and owner. Therefore, it is important to address these signs as soon as possible.
How to Help a Dog Overcome Travel Sickness
As mentioned above, the best way to help a dog with travel sickness is allow him, or her, to become accustomed to car travel. In order to achieve this, it is a good idea to take your dog on short car journeys, preferably starting at a young age. However, if you have an older dog, or one who is particularly anxious of travel, you may need to take smaller steps to begin with.
For example, you may find it helpful to start by just sitting in a stationary car with your dog. If your car is parked on the driveway, you can leave the doors open and try feeding and playing with your dog in the vehicle. Once, he, or she, begins to feel more comfortable, you can start to drive short journeys around the block and gradually increase the distance.
One thing that is certain to make a dog fearful of traveling by car is if the first journey you make is to the vet. So, try to avoid this at all costs. Ensure that the first journey is to a pleasant and fun location, such as the beach, park, forest etc. Additionally, it is wise to make provision for regular stops, especially if the journey is a long one. Giving the dog a chance to stretch its legs, have a drink and perhaps something to eat (if he, or she, has an appetite) will help to alleviate some of the problems that anxious dogs experience.
Other Tips for Travel Anxious Dogs
If none of the above is effective in reducing your dog's anxiety or travel sickness, than it is advisable to seek the assistance of a vet. There are some medications, which can be used to alleviate stress and feelings of nausea. Obviously, your vet will be able to advise on the best treatment for your dog.
Alternatively, behavior modification classes, with a professional animal behaviorist may be helpful. If you are averse to using drug treatments, then this is a route you may wish to explore.
These are just some of the ways that you can help a dog with travel sickness. The most affective ways of avoiding these problems is to expose a dog to car journeys from puppy-hood. However, if you are concerned about your dog's condition or you are having no success with gradual exposure, than it is wise to seek the advice of a vet.