Like people, dogs can also get motion sickness. But unlike humans, dogs experience the world primarily through their sense of smell. So when they’re on a car ride or boat tour, it is not only the movement that affects them but also the smells in new environments.
As with humans, there are different types of motion sickness in dogs depending on what causes it. For example if your pet has an upset stomach due to eating too much or having diarrhea then he/she could be experiencing queasiness from any type of transportation (car rides).
If your dog experiences dry heaves then it is possible that he/she might have eaten something toxic before getting into the car ride or boat tour which would result in him/her getting sick.
However, if your dog experiences nausea and vomiting immediately after the start of a car ride or boat tour then it is most likely that he/she has motion sickness caused by the movement.
How to help your dog if they get motion sick
If your dog is only experiencing dry heaves then it should wear off within an hour or so.
However, if your pet is vomiting and has nausea then you’ll want to get him/her home as soon as possible.
How long motion sickness lasts in dogs depends on their individual tolerance for motion sickness. While some dogs are very prone to motion sickness, others might only get it when traveling for longer periods of time.
But what can you do when your dog is getting sick?
Do not punish your pet if he/she gets sick in the car or on a boat tour because they cannot help it!
Instead expect that this might happen and be prepared to help your pup feel better as soon as possible after the start of a car ride or boat tour.
A few tips on how to make travel smoother for an upset stomach:
– Feed your dog a light meal several hours before traveling. Have a small snack once you’re on the road, but don’t feed too much.
– Don’t feed your dog just before traveling, but if they get hungry during the trip give them small amounts of food every hour or so. Avoid giving milk or milk products on a long trip, because some dogs have trouble digesting lactose.
– Give your pet plenty of water to drink – whether it’s bottled or from a water bottle at home. Don’t let your pet drink too much, though, which can be a problem if he/she has diarrhea while traveling.
– Stop every couple of hours on a long trip so your dog can walk and maybe have a chance to go potty. Allowing dogs to “do their business” before starting out on a trip helps avoid problems later.
If your dog gets sick during a car ride or boat tour have some nice smelling pup treats ready to reward him/her after the trip is over to reassure your pup that the trip won’t happen again.
If you need to take your pet on a boat tour or car ride, then talk with your veterinarian about safe medications that may prevent motion sickness. Also, check out our blog article on small travel dog carriers/pets carriers if you’re looking for good options available online.
What to do if your dog vomits or has diarrhea while in the car
You’ll need to keep the dog calm, cool, and comfortable, then stop at the first place that’s safe to pull over. Do not give any food or water to your dog if he/she experiences motion sickness because they may have an upset stomach.
If you stop by a gas station convenience store then grab some paper towels, doggie bags and a couple bottles of water to clean up your dog and the car in case they get sick or have diarrhea in the car.
After stopping at a safe location let your dog walk around to stretch their legs while you grab a bottle of water and paper towels.
If your dog has diarrhea then clean up the area that he/she pooped in to avoid stepping it later, take along some doggie bags with you to be safe. If he/she only vomited on the seat (or somewhere else) then use some paper towels or napkins to clean it up.
If your dog was vomiting or had diarrhea in the car then do not feed him/her until they’re back home, give them plenty of water instead.
Most dogs will recover within 24 hours, but if you notice that your pup is lethargic or has a fever then take him/her to the veterinarian to rule out other illnesses.
Tips for preventing motion sickness in dogs
Most dogs that experience motion sickness do not like to be petted and will often go off and hide.
If your dog is prone to motion sickness, then try to feed him/her something before you leave for your trip. Some “motion sickness” medications work well in some dogs, but make sure to ask your veterinarian if they are safe for your pooch.
If your dog gets sick in the car then you can try using a small portable fan, put on some calming music and talk to your pup in a soothing voice.
Some dogs will do better when riding in the back seat of a car because they won’t be looking out of windows or watching the scenery zoom by. Also, try to keep your car ventilated well with the windows down, this helps them feel more comfortable.
If you are taking a long road trip then stopping for potty breaks can be difficult, but it is important to let your dog walk around because sitting in one place for too long can make things worse. Be sure to give them lots of water when they get back in the car.
Products that can help relieve symptoms of motion sickness in dogs
If your dog is having a hard time with motion sickness or gets sick in the car, then try these products before you take him/her on their next road trip.
Dramamine for Dogs is safe and non-drowsy so it can be used in dogs of all sizes. It works within 30 minutes to stop vomiting and motion sickness and is good for up to 4 hours. These treats are a supplement that helps prevent motion sickness and nausea in your pup, they’re made from natural ingredients like ginger root and Valerian.
Chewables can be used on dogs and puppies over the age of 4 weeks depending on your veterinarian’s recommendations. These chewable tablets can be used on all sizes of pups and are fast acting to stop motion sickness in as little as 30 minutes.