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Understanding Your Dog’s Motion Sickness Problem

May 1, 2015

Your one-year-old retriever mix Bentley thrives on excitement. Although he clearly enjoys his neighborhood walks and dog park visits, they don’t compare to his enthusiasm for car rides. He prances across the back seat, peering out each window so he doesn’t miss anything. Lately, though, your normally happy pooch has shown a different kind of emotion. He’s been whining frequently, and once he even threw up on the leather seat. You know dogs can experience motion sickness on cars, boats, and planes. You think Bentley has become the latest victim. Tomorrow, he’ll visit your Leesburg veterinarian for a physical exam and expert behavioral counseling.

Unforgettable Symptoms

If Bentley’s bothered by motion sickness, he’ll show some distinctive symptoms. He’ll begin by frequently licking his lips; and then he’ll drool like crazy. Next, he’ll moan and yawn before sitting completely still. Finally, he might vomit on the vehicle’s seat or leave an impressive pile on the carpeted floor.

Potential Causes

Since Bentley’s barely into his young adult stage, his sense of equilibrium is still establishing itself, making him prone to motion sickness. After he becomes a full-grown adult dog, he could outgrow this troublesome malady.

Or, your canine housemate’s behavior could result from a rather unpleasant incident. He still recalls that terrible three-day weekend trip, when he was trapped in your SUV’s cargo bay with your nasty old cat. Although this feline demon couldn’t leave his crate, he clearly wanted to sharpen his claws on your cowering half-grown pooch. Since then, your poor dog thinks that cat is lying in wait inside the vehicle.

Diagnosing the Problem

Your vet will first consider neurological and behavioral causes for your dog’s antics. After she learns about Bentley’s travel woes, she’ll probably conclude that he suffers from motion sickness.

Several Treatment Tactics

Your vet might address the motion sickness with a combination of tactics. First, open the vehicle’s windows while traveling, as that should reduce the interior air pressure and decrease Bentley’s stomach queasiness. Pack several favorite dog toys, and stop often for potty breaks. Don’t feed him for several hours before the trip. If there’s little food in his system, he won’t be as likely to throw up.

If Bentley’s still suffering, ask your Leesburg veterinarian if she thinks medication can help. If your dog has shown similar symptoms, contact us for expert advice.