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11 Natural Remedies for Dog (and Cat!) Motion Sickness

Updated on October 3, 2014
Dogs and motion sickness: what you can do to help them
Dogs and motion sickness: what you can do to help them | Source

Dog (and Cat) Motion Sickness: Natural Cures to Prevent and Treat Car Sickness in Your Pet

Traveling with your furry companion can be a wonderful experience… if all goes well. But when a pet gets carsick, a lot more stress is involved every time you load up your car and take your animals out for a ride. You might even think twice about bringing your pet with you the next time you go on a trip. If traveling with your pet is a stressful experience that has you covering your car in newspaper, loads of paper towels and blankets you probably have a cat or dog that that gets carsick. Luckily in many instances car sickness doesn’t last forever, in some cases animals outgrow motion sickness as they get older. Puppies are especially prone to car sickness but become more tolerant as they get older. Whether you have a cat or dog, this list can help you with your animal, so that you can travel without having to worry about cleaning up a mess. This list includes some of the most popular and easy ways to help your pet with motion sickness. I have had several animals with car sickness in different stages of their lives and these tips have helped my own pets through their car sickness.

1. Don't Feed Your Pet Before a Trip

I’ve read in many places that a solution to car sickness is stop feeding your pet up to 8 hours before a trip. I disagree, because my dog gets nauseous if she doesn’t eat on a regular schedule, so I simply reduce her meal portion instead. If you know your pet and their habits then judge accordingly: you can reduce their portions or try fasting. A big meal right before a trip is not a good idea, and if your pet is sick, it’s also a big mess. If you do choose the fasting method, make sure you give them lots of water.

2. Open the window

Fresh air helps with car sickness, just make sure that your pet is safe and can’t fall out of the car. Also don’t let them stick their head OUT of the window. A pet with his head out of the window is prone to ear and eye infections.

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3. Let Them Look Out the Window

Looking out the window helps with motion sickness. If they are able to see the motion of the car it will help them with the disorientation they are feeling. If your pet is in a carrier, try to prop his carrier up if possible.

How to Help Carsick Dog

4. Give Your Pets a Smooth Drive

Are you the type of driver that likes to speed up to a stop sign? All that speeding can really throw your pet around, causing them to be nauseous and vomit in the car. Try not to come to sudden stops and when accelerating away from stops, don’t step on the gas like you are drag racing! Also remember to do your best to drive around turns a little slower. Sudden jerking movements are nauseating for pets (and people passengers too).

Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Dog Harness

5. Secure Your Pets

The more an animal is allowed to move around in the car, the more they get thrown around the vehicle and the more nauseous they feel. Try to put your pet in a seat belt harness or in a crate. These are especially helpful if your animal is used to these items: if your pet sleeps in a crate, then they will probably be more relaxed inside of one. However don’t use the crate for travel if at home the crate is only used for punishment.

6. Reassure Your Pet

Are you an anxious driver? Maybe you start to feel worried because you know your pet is going to get carsick, but try to act calm and relaxed. Pets know when their owners are nervous, and it could be that your nervousness is making them nervous too. Reassure your pet that everything is going to be all right, and never yell or raise your voice at your pet if you see he or she starts to get anxious. Reinforce good behavior with rewards like praise, food or even a toy.

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7. Give Your Pet Some Company

If you are driving and your pet is in the back, try to arrange it so that a friend or family member can be by your pet’s side. Petting and comforting your animal can really help. Try calming them by rubbing their stomach, or scratching behind their ears.

8. Bring Their Favorite Toy with Them

Just like a blanket or a teddy bear for kids, pets will feel reassured with a favorite toy by their side. Being in a car might feel unfamiliar and strange, so if you bring some of their toys along, they will feel more at home.

9. Take Your Pets to a Fun Place

A lot of people make the mistake of only putting their pet in the car when it’s time to visit the vet’s office. Naturally if the only time your pet is getting in the car is when they make a trip to see the veterinarian, your animal is going to associate the car ride with the scary time they spend at the doctor’s. To make sure that your furry friend doesn’t associate the car with a negative experience, take them for car rides that end with fun time: If you have a dog you can take them to the park, or drive and then go for walk. Try giving them a favorite treat or a reward.

10. Take Them Out More Often

If a pet is susceptible to motion sickness, an owner’s reaction is to reduce the frequency of car trips, but the best thing to do is take them for more trips. Allow them to habituate themselves with the noises and motions of a car. If you see that your pet is afraid to even be in the car, you can even try to slowly habituate them to the car by just sitting in the car quietly. Then turn the motor on but don’t drive, so they can get accustomed to the sounds of your vehicle. Once your pet is calm inside an unmoving vehicle, try going for a spin.

Make sure to take your dog to the bathroom on long road trips!
Make sure to take your dog to the bathroom on long road trips! | Source

11. Make Frequent Pit Stops

Are you going on a really long road trip and bringing your pets? Make sure you stop and take breaks, allowing your pet to use the bathroom and stretch their legs. Getting out of the car and walking around will help them with any nausea they are feeling.

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