My Dog/Cat Gets Car Sick

I have been very fortunate.  SHERPA, SuNae, KIMBA, KARTU, and KoKo never suffered from motion sickness. But many people do have to deal with this problem.  I’ve had many people ask me “my dog gets car sick what can I do?”.  Fortunately, motion sickness is something that most puppies outgrow.  If you want to include your puppy or other pet in your active lifestyle, don’t let your pet’s tendency to become sick stop you from taking him or her in the car.

Part of an animal’s inclination toward motion sickness stems from the stress or anxiety of riding in a car.  Try to create positive experiences for your pet that she will associate with the car.  Why not try a trip to the new park for a game of Frisbee or catch? A ride to a pet bakery?  A trip to a favorite friend?  Maybe your pet enjoys riding through the car wash with you.  SHERPA used to love it when I sang in the car and she would chime right in.  Cats that don’t travel very often can moan and wail all the way there and back.  That’s unpleasant for both of you; So, I advise you, if you have a kitten, to start car training now, and he may soon take it to.  Be sure to keep your cat in a carrier while traveling and invest in squirm-proof halter and leash so that you can exercise him during long-distance trips.


Warning signs and treatments

Keep an eye on your pet.  Usually the first signs of motion sickness are yawning or drooling.  The good news is that a lot of the same things that help people overcome motion sickness also work for pets.  If you stop the car and take your dog or cat out for a walk when you notice warning signs, you can often prevent sickness, at least for a while.  Cracking a window to increase ventilation in the back seat can help these pets and small, crate bound pets too.  Sometimes the churning juices in an empty stomach can make matters worse.  If you see the warning signs, offer your pet an unsalted cracker or piece of plain bread.  Other bland, calming foods you can offer any pet suffering from nausea or diarrhea include a little plain, boiled hamburger, rice, oatmeal, or the appropriate type of baby food for your pet species.  Calm your pet by talking to them.

If diarrhea is present and if there are no other symptoms of illness, withhold food for two to four hours.  Withhold both food and water if your pet is also vomiting, but do not withhold water for more than two hours.  The time period stated is based on a normal, healthy adult versus a puppy or a kitten, an elderly pet, or a pet with any special or compromising conditions.  (If your pet has diabetes or any other type of illness or medical condition, consult your veterinarian before withholding food or water.)

When do you resume feeding your dog or cat, the best home remedy for diarrhea is to serve a 50/50 mixture of boiled hamburger (drain off the water and fat) and plain cooked rice.  A restaurant or hotel room service will be more than happy to help you out here.

If your pet suffers simple motion sickness, and cannot seem to overcome it, you should also consult your veterinarian.  Your vet will likely suggest that you withhold water for an hour before leaving for a trip (you can provide ice to keep him from becoming too thirsty), and then only feed your pet once you’ve completed the trip at the end of the day.  If all else fails, he may suggest a small dosage for Dramamine or a prescription tranquilizer that diminishes nausea; but make this a last-ditch remedy and be sure to study the side effects of the medication because some side effects can be unpleasant or even life-threatening.


If you enjoyed this article be sure to check out Gayle’s Story


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