What is Car Sickness?
Any motion that a pet is not used to can cause them to feel ill and disorientated. While some animals see a car trip as an exciting journey, for others it can become a stressful time of feeling ill and unwell. The first signs of car sickness are yawning and excessive drooling (sometimes followed by vomiting).
What Causes Car Sickness?
Car sickness can be caused by:
- Car motion
- Previous bad experiences in a car
- A first-time ride
- Anticipation of the destination
Help for Car Sickness
Conditioning can go a long way in helping your pet to overcome car sickness. Sit with your pet inside a parked car with the engine off, playing with toys and giving your pet praise and positive attention. Let your pet get used to these new surroundings. Initially, just sit in the car with your pet and give him/her lots of praise and love for not showing any symptoms of sickness.
Next, repeat the same thing for the next few days, but this time, run the engine (don’t forget the praise!). Next, when the engine is running, try backing out of the driveway and then pulling up to the house again. Continue showing praise. Finally, try going around the block and keep this up until your pet is able to ride without getting sick. For severe cases and for long trips, you may want to try motion sickness medication – always consult with your vet.
There are many herbal and homeopathic remedies that can safely help treat and prevent car sickness without harmful side effects for your pet. Zingiber officinalis has a long history of use in relieving the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, indigestion, flatulence and dizziness. Working mainly in the digestive tract, Zingiber boosts digestive fluids and neutralizes acids, making it an effective alternative to conventional anti-nausea medication.
Mentha piperita relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract and stimulates the flow of natural digestive juices and bile, while Kalium phosphate provides quick relief of a ‘nervous stomach’. Aconite and Cocculus are homeopathic remedies that treat illness accompanied by fear, anxiety and panic attacks. Pulsatilla vulgaris helps to calm and soothe animals during bouts of travel sickness. It is particularly useful in animals that are averse to being confined in small areas.
More Information on Car Sickness
Tips to Prevent Car Sickness
A number of steps can be taken to help prevent car sickness. Here are some helpful tips:
- While traveling with your pet in the car, open a window a crack to get some fresh air.
- It is important that the dog be able to see out of the window so try to arrange a spot in the car that the dog can get up onto and see the road ahead.
- Train your dog to get in and out of the car with a specific command. This will teach him or her not to get into strangers’ cars.
- Safety first while on the road. If your dog is jumping around inside your car, put him or her in a crate for a short while. After your pet has settled down, open the crate and offer some freedom so long he or she behaves.