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Car anxiety leads to vomiting

Discussion in 'Behavior' started by k9kreationz, Aug 14, 2017.

  1. k9kreationz

    k9kreationz Premium Member

    Oct 24, 2008
    Portland, OR
    Hi all,

    I was hoping I could get some suggestions. Vogue has anxiety in the car regardless of where we go. I'm not sure if it stemmed from her getting into a car then getting on a huge loud jet then riding home with me for 3.5 hours or what. All I know is that it doesn't matter how long the ride, she will pant, drool, then vomit at some point.

    With buying our new house, it'd be nice to be able to take her back and forth with me, but not if she's going to vomit all the time (I feel bad taking her and I feel bad leaving her home). I used the Thundershirt the other day and thought she was going to make it. I swear, the minute I stopped the car, she threw up. I say that because I turned around a few seconds later and Koji was eating it (he had been lying down prior to me stopping). Poor girl.

    I would ask the vet but I'm sure he'll give me an anti-anxiety med which is basically a tranquilizer. What has worked for you? What hasn't? Thoughts? Ideas?

    Worst case scenario, I can leave her home as I'm sure all the moving would stress her out too. But still, it'd be nice to figure something out. I feel horrible and even when I've held her (as a passenger), she's drooled like no tomorrow.
  2. Hanne

    Hanne Forums Enthusiast

    Nov 13, 2014
    Fortunately - none of my 5 dogs have been driving sickness !!
    But I have heard that this has helped some dogs:

    Bachs Rescue Remedy
    Take a piece of raw ginger, chop it finely and mix it in dog food.
    DAP Adaptil (spray)

    And this: (google translate)
    Some dog owners remedy driving sickness through newspapers; Put a newspaper or under the dog (so it sits or lies on the newspaper). The reason behind this advice is that the smell of newspapers should have a calming effect on dogs.
    Phil Hughes and tesslynn like this.
  3. ghggp

    ghggp Premium Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Grosse Pointe, Michigan
    There are a number of treatment options available to help prevent car sickness for your puppy or dog. Physical comfort in the car, reconditioning, medication and holistic treatments can all help to make car traveling a lot easier on your dog.

    1. Physical Comfort in Car: Try these options to help make the car ride as physically comfortable as possible for your dog.

    • Face your dog forward in moving vehicle – if your dog is facing forward he will see less movement. Looking out of the side windows causes objects to blur and that can cause or compound motion sickness.
    • Avoid letting your pet travel in the farthest backseat because this is where there is the most motion.
    • Opening the windows in the car a little bit may help reduce air pressure inside the vehicle and allow for better ventilation.
    • Don’t give your puppy or dog any food for a few hours before getting in the car.
    • Try putting him in a travel crate. Sometimes, this helps to keep him from looking outside too much and helps to keep any sickness he may have in a confined space.
    • Keep it cool in the vehicle. A hot, stuffy ride can make car sickness worse for your dog.
    • Toys may help distract and entertain a high-strung dog.
    • Taking frequent potty breaks may also help.
    • Exercise before getting in the car to travel.
    2. Reconditioning: Sometimes reconditioning will help your dog to relax in the car. Reconditioning is needed if your dog associates riding in the car with something bad, like getting sick or going to the vet. Reconditioning takes patience for both you and your dog. Here are some tips to help recondition your dog.

    • Try a different vehicle. He may associate your vehicle with unpleasant memories.
    • Take short car trips to places your dog enjoys.
    • Gradually build your dog’s tolerance. Start by sitting in the car with your dog with the engine off. Do this over a few days. Then, when he seems comfortable, sit in the car with the car idling. After this, take a ride around the block. Now you can try a longer trip. By doing this slowly and over a period of time you are helping remove the stress of traveling from your dog.
    • Use treats to make the car a fun place for your dog.
    • Buy a special toy that they can only play with in the car.
    3. Medication: There are times when medications are necessary to help your dog during pet travel. Some over-the-counter and prescribed medications are listed below.

    • Anti-nausea drugs - reduce vomiting.
    • Antihistamines - used to lessen motion sickness, reduce drooling, and help them to be calm.
    • Phenothiazine and related drugs - reduce vomiting and help to sedate.
    Always discuss any medications with your veterinarian before using to make sure your dog is healthy, the dosage is correct, and that the medication won’t harm your dog.

    4. Holistic Approach: Holistic treatments are another option for a dog parents to try. Some common holistic choices are listed below.

    • Ginger can be used for nausea. Ginger snap cookies or ginger pills can be given at least 30 minutes before travel.
    • Peppermint, chamomile and horehound naturally help calm the stomach of your pup.
    • Massage helps to relax your pet before you travel.
    Always discuss any holistic remedies with your veterinarian before using to make sure your dog is healthy, the dosage is correct, and that the treatment won’t harm your dog.

    Patience and training may help in preventing car sickness during pet travel. You may also need to stock up on certain medications or holistic remedies to help calm your dog if physical changes and reconditioning don’t do the trick. Hopefully, with time and a little effort your dog will be able to ride safely and happily in your car!
    SheepOfBlue, tesslynn and corbinam like this.
  4. mxt161

    mxt161 Forums Novice

    Reconditioning worked for me. Miko was always sick when he was young. It took 3 months. Now it's the sheltie dance of excitement every time we go for a ride :)
  5. k9kreationz

    k9kreationz Premium Member

    Oct 24, 2008
    Portland, OR
    This is a first for me too, but I'm pretty sure the sickness is brought on by anxiety, but maybe some of these remedies will help. I've already tried Rescue Remedy and the Thundershirt, nothing. :( I'll look into the DAP; ginger I have, we'll see if she eats it.

    Newspaper, huh? That's interesting.

    Thanks for the suggestions. At least I can try some thing.

    Is this the same as desensitizing or counter conditioning? Just want to be sure. I think I can try some things. Problem only arises that Vogue is very food motivated and I don't want to give her food and then her throw up. :( BUT, I think I can work on putting her in the car (not driving, just sitting there) and work that angle.
  6. mxt161

    mxt161 Forums Novice

    Miko is food motivated too. No problem if you can start with very short drive to exciting place. Me it was a field 2 miles from home where Miko can play frisbee. When he was more relax, the drive to get there was slowly longer using different road. After a year we went to Florida (1600 miles) and there was no sickness.
  7. Shelby's mom

    Shelby's mom Forums Enthusiast

    Jan 4, 2012
    Shelby used to get sick when she was young. Counter conditioning worked for us. Now she has no problems traveling. She still is not very excited about getting in the car but once she is in she loves it. When we go on a long trip she just lays down and goes to sleep.
  8. take4roll10

    take4roll10 Moderator

    Aug 31, 2009
    New York
    My dog was the same as Shelby. She used to throw up in the car when she was a puppy. I started by feeding her a little ginger snap cookie before car rides and did counter conditioning by feeding her treats in the car when it was parked. She rarely throws up now.
    Shelby's mom likes this.
  9. Calliesmom

    Calliesmom Moderator

    Mar 29, 2008
    near Mobile, AL
    Destin was my carsick boy. we did find some ginger treats for him but up until last year- he never got cookies when we were going in the car....
    everyone else got cookies for getting in their car crates but not him. he's been good for so long that he now gets cookies too......
  10. Phil Hughes

    Phil Hughes Premium Member

    Jul 15, 2017

    Any idea of how much ginger to use?

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