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Pets and Car Sickness

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Bo here, the cool cat with all the answers! While many pets jump at the chance to get in the car and go for a ride to some exciting destination (other than to the vet’s office!), there are those four-legged friends of ours who suffer from motion sickness.  Not fun.  However, did you know that in most cases, motion sickness is stress related and actually not motion related? A pet who continues to suffer from car sickness may be associating that ride in the car with a trip to the vet or being taken away from their home for the first time or even being taken to a kennel.  Those are not fond memories, are they?  As such, a ride in the car can provoke unpleasant memories leading to the physical trauma that results in vomiting.

To allow your pet to associate car travel with good times, find a place about 10-15 minutes away from home, like a park.  Find someone else to go along for the ride in the car with you to distract your pet.  Once at the park, get out and have fun.  Toss a Frisbee, play fetch.  The quality of the time spent there is better than the quantity. Once back home, playfully remind the pet of how much fun you just had and make a fuss over him.  Offer him a treat, too.  Do this routine as often as possible, and before you know it, your pet will probably be behind the wheel of your car with the keys in his mouth.

Other suggestions to consider when traveling by car to avoid the motion sickness trap:

  • It is best to not feed your pet six to eight hours prior to a road trip.  An empty stomach means that your pet will be less likely to vomit.  You can, however, offer him some water.
  • Some pets feel comfortable with a small meal in their bellies and this actually helps them from feeling sick.  Just put a little food in their tank and that might help!
  • Frequent rest breaks are important. Every couple of hours, stop to take a quick walk with your pet.  Both of you will appreciate the opportunity to stretch your legs. Be sure to offer him some water, too.
  • Since there is less movement up front in the car, let your pet ride up there with you instead of in the back.  However, make sure your pet is properly secured with a harness or small kennel that buckles into the seat.  However, if you car has dual air bags, those could harm your pet in the event they deploy.  Consider that fact.
  • Crack the windows a bit.  Fresh air always helps, but don’t open the window so wide that your pet could escape or get its head way out.  Also, when your pet is near a window, this gives him the opportunity to look outside and see the scenery, another great distraction from the motion sickness dilemma.

Well, that is my muse for today.  I hope this information helps.  I am off to do some doughnuts in the parking lot with our dog Jessie in the back seat.  I want to see how well she handles a “real” ride in the car!  In fact, I think she just finished eating breakfast.  (Hollering down the hall, dangling the car keys:  Oh, Jessie!  Wanna go for a spin?)

(Some of this information was found at the Pet Travel web site, which boasts great information for those who travel with their pets.)


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