By Mriganka Chandra*

Hey there… dog parents!!

Don’t you feel that every new day in our lives brings forth a new discovery for us as dog parents? Even after 11 years of dog parenting, I am constantly surprised.

On a random day in June, I decided to plan a beach trip for my doggo. Not having visited the beach in last 6 months made both of us crave a nice dip at the beach and hence the plan was finalized.

On Saturday, we set out at 4 p.m. in evening for the beach. Our destination was approximately 2 hours from my place and I was comfortably settled at the back seat of a safari along with Joey (my Goldie) and my mother. Joey loves to sit by the window seat as I roll down the windows for him every once in a while. Suddenly, after half an hour of our journey, I started observing Joey being extremely uncomfortable and the first thought that hit my brain was the obvious – of my dog needing a pee break. We stopped by the side and I took Joey for a quick pee round. He peed and sat back but the discomfort did not vanish. Another 15 minutes into the journey, to my horror, Joey puked. Honestly, I wish I was wrong but I aptly understood the situation. My dog was showing signs of motion sickness for the first time in his life.

Yes, for those of you who are new to this, our dogs suffer from motion sickness just as we do. It is not a matter of severe concern or panic till you take the required precautions and take good care of your dog. A vehicle has restricted space, which is frightening for many dogs. The aim is to make them feel at ease in the car.

Signs that your dog shows if they are suffering from motion sickness:

  1. Reluctance to sit for a long time and settling comfortably in the car.
  2. Constant change in position or looking down for a while.
  3. Whinning / panting heavily.
  4. Vomiting or diarrhea.
  5. Restlessness or lethargy.
  6. Excessive drooling.

It is rightly said that ‘Prevention is better than Cure’. Hence, let us hop onto the

Steps to prevent motion sickness in dogs:

A) Short Term Precautions

  1. Do not feed your dog heavy meals before or during travel.
  2. Keep your dog hydrated, but do not over feed water as well. Providing water after every pee break is enough.
  3. Never feed your dog in the car while traveling.
  4. Open the window for a short while after every 20–30 min to let them breathe fresh air. Do not let them venture their heads out and peep while on the road.
  5. Take a break every 45 minutes to an hour to let them out of the vehicle, move a little and pee or poop.
  6. Look for signs of discomfort in your dog and plan the breaks accordingly.
  7. Let the dog have ample amount of space to move or change their position in the car as per their wish.
  8. Do not stuff luggage around them.
  9. Keep a set of at least 2 towels and sheets to clean up in case of an incident.
  10. Keep some comfort toys/bedding (as per available space) in order to make your dog feel homely.

Traveling with my dog has truly been the best part of my journey. Since Joey’s favourite activity in life is to go for rides in a car, it was heartbreaking for me to witness him being hit by motion sickness. Joey has travelled in car numerous times ever since he was a young puppy of 2 months and this was the first time when he displayed signs of discomfort as a 1.3 year old dog. Motion sickness in dogs can arise at any period of time and age. It can be a temporary phase as well as a permanent condition. Mostly dogs become sick in the car due to lack of being adjusted to the idea of travel as they connect dots of being in a car with a scary vet visit. Keeping this in mind, as responsible dog parents, we must keep long term solutions in mind.

A) Long Term Solutions

  1. Condition your dog to be in a car, apart from going to vet, by taking them on small frequent rides from an early age. It may take days for your dog to be accustomed to being in the car; be patient and try to make it as happy for them as possible.
  2. Learn to recognize signs of stress and anxiety in your dog.
  3. Make a vet visit and inform your vet about the signs you noticed. The vet will surely suggest some anti-nausea, anti-anxiety medication as per the need of your dog.
  4. Feed your dog light food at least 12 hours before travelling. It keeps their tummy light and ready!

I overcame the hurdle of motion sickness in my dog by increasing the frequency of breaks for fresh air, making him smell some ginger, keeping a constant check on their signs and reacting to them on time. Thankfully, our return journey from the beach was less inconvenient for Joey.

For all dog parents their dog is like their heartbeat; watching them in discomfort definitely brings sadness and feeling of helplessness to us. As a result, it is better to be prepared and to keep our dogs healthy, wealthy, and wise!

Happy pet parenting!

*Author is a 23 year old political science graduate, a teacher, a passionate dog parent, and a content writer, who finds solace in being surrounded by dogs and books at all times in life. Her blog ‘Paint it Olive Green’ represents her personal life experiences in the military surroundings, as a student and a dog parent. For any guidance on dog parenting, she can be reached on her dog blogging account on Instagram @dogistaan.

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