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My Puppy gets car sick

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Our question this week was:

My 4 month old Irish Water Spaniel puppy gets car sick and has done so since we got her at 8.5 weeks.

We have tried Rescue Remedy, glucose in water before the trip and ginger biscuits. The ginger biscuits worked for 3 half hour trips (still very drooly but no vomit) but she has since decided she does not like them - even when we tried to give them to her when she had not eaten for 8 hours.

She sits in the back seat in a harness and lies down so can not see the world passing by. any tips?

She drools very heavily in the car and is covered in it after even a 10 min trip, even if she is not actually sick. She drools as soon as she is put into the car so maybe desensitization is the way to go - sitting in it, stationary, with her for many short periods?

Any tips or advice would be great as she is a show dog and that involves hour long car trips every weekend. Our other dog - 3 year old Clumber Spaniel - adores the car and can travel happily for hours!


Answer

There are various ways to treat and even overcome motion sickness. Frequently, the signs of motion sickness can be overcome by conditioning the pet to travel. Slow, short and frequent trips in the vehicle, gradually increasing length of the ride, can help condition your dog.

Some dogs cannot be conditioned and medication is necessary. Commonly used medications to help reduce the nausea associated with motion sickness include diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), meclizine (Bonine®) and dimenhydrinate (Dramamine®). These medications are available without a prescription but should never be used unless specifically recommended by a veterinarian. Proper dosage and use are crucial to treating and diminishing the signs of motion sickness.

For some pets, the motion sickness and anxiety associated with travel is so severe that sedatives are necessary. Commonly used sedatives include acepromazine and phenobarbital. These are available by prescription and should be used with caution in animals traveling by airplane because of the possibility of side effects. In a cargo hold, there is little direct supervision of animals, so side effects may go unnoticed. In addition, there is little chance that a pet can receive medical help while the airplane is in the air.


Our question this week came from Phoebe, from Sydney, Australia.

Dr. Debra



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