What Is Motion Sickness in Dogs?
Motion sickness in dogs can make travelling 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 just nausea when in motion such as in a car, boat, plane or other fast moving object. Balance and motion is 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 help your dog to 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 not visible at all. When this occurs, it causes a disagreement between the two centers, leading to loss of balance, nausea and vomiting.
Motion sickness can also occur in dogs that 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), circling when walking, nausea, drooling, loss of appetite and vomiting.
Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Motion Sick?
Luckily, motion sickness tends to be a problem of young dogs and puppies, many whom will naturally outgrow the issue as they age and their bodies adjust. Motion sickness and the mess it can cause can also be lessened by feeding your dog a lighter meal prior to travel to decrease the amount of food that may come back up. Natural remedies such as ginger supplements may also help with the 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 dog 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 let you know the dosage appropriate for your dog’s size, or may also 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 help 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. Vestibular diseases’ cause is relatively unknown, so treatment tends to try and treat all symptoms and underlying issues to provide relief.
Natural Remedies For Treating Motion Sickness
There are many natural remedies available for treating motion sickness in dogs. One great remedy is a motion sickness blend of hazelnut or almond oil, ginger and peppermint. This is then given in a small dropper dosage prior to travel. All of the ingredients included such as peppermint and ginger are very soothing on upset stomachs and can prevent vomiting.