What Is Motion Sickness in Dogs?
Motion sickness in dogs can make traveling with your furry friend difficult and messy. However, this condition can easily be remedied, making travel possible again!
Motion sickness is illness, such as vomiting, diarrhea or nausea, in a moving vehicle, such as in a car, boat, plane, or another fast moving object. Balance and motion are normally regulated by small balance centers in the inner ear, which have fluids inside that move as your dog is moving around.
This movement, in combination with visual and auditory cues, helps your dog stay balanced and free from dizziness. However, in fast moving objects, the inner ear’s balance system may begin to disagree with what is visually seen, especially if the road is moving fast or is not visible at all. When this occurs, it causes a disagreement between the centers, leading to a loss of balance, nausea, and vomiting.
Motion sickness in dogs may occur if they are experiencing illness or disease causing problems with the inner ear. Issues, such as vestibular disease or inner ear infections, can interfere with the vestibular system’s ability to regulate balance and motion and can cause the same dizzying effects and nausea without being actually in motion. Signs of vestibular or inner ear infection include a head tilt to one side (usually the affected side), walking in circles, drooling, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Motion Sick?
Luckily, motion sickness tends to be a problem for young dogs and puppies, many of whom will naturally outgrow the issue as they age and their bodies adjust.
Motion sickness can be lessened by feeding your dog a lighter meal prior to travel to decrease the amount of food that may come back. Natural remedies, such as ginger supplements, may also help with associated nausea from motion sickness.
What Should I Do If I Suspect My Dog Is Motion Sick?
If you think your dog has not outgrown his or her motion sickness or if he or she is showing signs of a possible infection or vestibular issue, then making an appointment with your local vet is best. Regular motion sickness can wait until your vet has an opening; however, vestibular disease and inner ear infections can indicate a serious problem and should be seen immediately. Keeping track of your dog’s symptoms can help alert your vet as to whether your pooch should be treated as soon as possible.
Regular travel motion sickness in an otherwise healthy dog can usually be treated with over-the-counter remedies, such as Dramamine or an antihistamine, similar to how people with motion sickness are treated. Your vet can prescribe the dosage appropriate for your dog’s size. He may prescribe a different pet-specific medication for treatment.
If vestibular disease or infection is suspected, your vet may recommend additional tests in addition to an exam to rule out any serious issues causing vestibular issues, such as stroke or internal organ illnesses.
Your vet will also likely take a look in the ear and may take a debris sample to test for infection. Vestibular disease is treated depending on the symptoms and underlying issues and may range anywhere from minor medication and kennel rest to several days of hospitalization and fluid treatment. The cause of vestibular diseases is relatively unknown, so the vet focuses on treating all symptoms and underlying issues so that the pooch experiences relief.
Natural Remedies For Treating Motion Sickness
There are many natural remedies available for treating motion sickness in dogs. One great remedy is a blend of hazelnut or almond oil, ginger, and peppermint. This is given in a small dropper dosage to the pooch before setting out for a travel tour. The ingredients included here are very soothing on upset stomachs and can prevent vomiting, which may be due to motion sickness in dogs.