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If you believe everything you see on television and in the movies, you’d think that all dogs LOVE travelling in cars. Dogs are shown jumping in the vehicle with enthusiasm, wagging their tails like crazy and even hanging their heads out the window to sniff every last outdoor aroma. But if you’re the owner of a car sick pup, you’ll know it’s just the opposite. One in every five dogs suffer from motion sickness, often leading to vomiting or diarrhea. What are the causes and how can you be prepared?

Possible Causes

Puppies and younger dogs are usually more prone to car sickness than older dogs. Their ears aren’t fully developed at that stage, so the movement of the car can throw off their balance which is regulated in the inner ear. This feeling of not having their sea legs can set off nausea and vomiting. That’s not to say adult dogs aren’t prone to car sickness, but less so.

Stress can also play a big factor in many behavioral issues, including car sickness. For example, if your dog only goes for a ride in the car on their way to the vet, he’s probably associating any ride in the car with a negative experience.

Entering a new stage in your dog’s life could also be the reason. Completely unafraid in their prime, when a dog starts to lose their hearing or becomes more frightened of vibrations, the triggers to becoming worried and stressed out can increase while in the car.

What to Watch For

The most common sign of car sickness is vomiting. But there are many other signs to watch for in dogs that differ from human motion sickness, including excessive licking or panting, drooling, repeated sneezing, whining or complete immobility. In general, your dog will act restless and uncomfortable.

How You Can Help

Some dogs have a severe case of motion sickness which may require medication. But others can be helped rather easily by following some of these tips:

  • Take your dog on short car trips more often to places he enjoys, like a dog park or hiking trail.
  • Make sure Fido is getting plenty of fresh air. Keep the heat down and aim an air vent toward your pooch.
  • Don’t feed your dog prior to a trip. Better to pack small, easily digested treats to give along the way.
  • Take along his special toys or blankets that create a happy space for him.
  • Keep him in his crate in the car – if he considers this a safe, comfortable place – or sit in the back seat to give him a comforting snuggle.

Get Prepared Before the Trip

If your dog requires medication, be sure to have his over-the-counter or prescription medication refilled and ready to go. Many pet retailers carry non-prescription calming treats for dogs to help relax your pup during periods of high anxiety. Ingredients to watch for would be L-Theanine, L-Tryptophan, Ginger and Chamomile, among others. These have been shown to effectively support relaxation, balanced behavior and soothe a nauseous stomach.

If your dog has vomited, he is clearly past the early stages of feeling nauseous. For many, their stress level is at high alert, not only because they feel bad physically, but they know they have done something bad by vomiting in your car. So now what do you do?

Just like a person with sea sickness, it may take a while for the nausea to pass. With some, they may also develop diarrhea. Many veterinarians will recommend a bland diet recipe of chicken and white rice for just these situations. A bland diet soothes the digestive tract to allow the healing process to start, while keeping up your dog’s strength with the food intake.

A Travel-Friendly Bland Diet Solution

Most travelers won’t have the ability to cook up a bland diet while on the road, so we recommend keeping a few bags of Under the Weather® freeze-dried bland diets. There is no cooking required, just add hot water. The company offers Chicken & Rice, and five other bland diet foods, all made from 100% freeze dried, premium meats raised in the USA.

So, the next time you pack for a trip, take along a glass Pyrex dish with rubber cover and a glass measuring cup. Stop by a convenience store, boil your water in their microwave, stir it into the food and cover about 15-20 minutes until cooled. What could be easier? Happy travels!

This blog is brought to you by Under the Weather®, producer of a wide range of products to support optimal health for pets, including our award-winning bland diet foods.

Under the Weather is also an avid participant in the pet overpopulation cause. A portion of every sale is channeled to the Ruffy Rescue Transport Fund which finances the transportation of pets from overpopulated kill shelters around the USA. to Vermont for adoption. The fund also covers the cost of spaying and neutering these animals. Get to know more about Ruffy and the inspiration for our company.

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