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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-19-2014, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Car Sickness What To Do?

Sorry for asking so many questions as a new member but, I want to learn more. Then, I can help others too.

Have any of you had issues with car-sick pups?

We don't feed him before we take him in the car (if we know in advance..ie: appointment). Water....yes, but no food.

Still...he gets sick...even just bile.

I hate drugging him up to go to the vet's.

Have any of you found anything natural that works for this?

I'm hoping he'll grow out of it as our previous dog eventually did. But, until then...I need to do something for the poor little guy. It's got to be miserable (I used to get car sick as a kid and still do on long drives to some extent).

Like Mother, like Son? LOL
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-19-2014, 02:29 PM
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Mine gets carsick too.
He been throwing up like a mess when we picked him up from the breeder, and now I'll take him out for a short 10 mins ride ( pick up / drop off my daughter), no food or at least 1.5 hrs after meal time.
He's getting much better after 3 weeks and I hope I can take him to NY one day, without any carsick or throw up.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-19-2014, 02:30 PM
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carsickness cocculus indicus made by Boiron- you can get it from the health food
store. that and ginger snaps.

Also Travel Anxiety by Homeopet

A drug called Cerenia (Pfizer Animal Health) does seem to help many dogs who actually suffer from motion sickness.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-19-2014, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Dave and Carmen!

My vet did recommend the Cerenia and I'll have to look into it.

Carmen, I will try what you are doing as well...short trips so that at the least, "emotional upsets" are lowered. He gets all hyper in the car and that *may* be part of it. So, perhaps, a small (VERY SHORT) ride more often (not just to the vet's to break that association with the car) might be worthy of a try.

I also find that the front seat of the car is better than the back because somehow, there's less motion or something? The windows are always rolled down for him to stick his nose out of it too.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-19-2014, 04:44 PM
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here's the scoop ...When dogs are carsick, they feel nauseous which is unpleasant. In fact, in
the unpleasantness sweepstakes, nausea can rank above pain in "wow would
I like to avoid this." Just like we humans, nauseous dogs don't always throw
up, which means we might be missing it. Sometimes they salivate and are
restless and sometimes they just pant and look glassy. Interestingly, it's easy
to mistake this for a primary car-anxiety. Also, it doesn't take many such car
rides for anxiety to be added: "oh no, here comes that place where my tummy
feels bad...pleeeease can I not go in there." The anxiety is also aversive, which
could exacerbate the ill feeling, and so on.
Sometimes even if the carsickness is resolved, the secondary anxiety may remain
alive. If this is the case, your interventions—making positive associations
with approach and the considerable cumulative effect of so many car
rides to enjoyable dog sports—are on the right track and you will probably
continue to make gradual gains. Although it's intuitive to not feed in order to
avoid the product of vomiting, check with your veterinarian about whether
or not this will help reduce nausea, as opposed to a light, bland snack prior
to travel.
Your veterinarian will help sort this out and, if she thinks it's indicated, try a
course of anti-nausea medication to help break the cycle. In the can't-hurtmight-
help department, I've heard that static charges may be implicated in
cases of carsickness in both dogs and humans. Cars can drag lines from their
undercarriage to the road to dissipate charge.
If it's a primary car anxiety, it means he's not as fine as you think once he's in
the car. To firm this up, look very critically for signs of anxiety. Those signs
that can mimic nausea include trembling, a blown-pupil deer in the headlights
look and whining.
If he really, truly is fine once in the car, and not suffering from carsickness,
we need to consider a superstitious fear of some part of the jump-in process.
Dogs acquire these fears all the time. For example, if the first time a dog attends
a baseball game, fireworks go off, he could subsequently fear kids in
baseball uniforms. Likewise, if, twice in a row, a conformation handler steps
on the dog's foot after the rosettes are presented, the dog could get spooky
about ribbons. These are considered "superstitious" because there is no logical,
rational basis—kids in baseball uniforms don't make big booming noises
and rosettes don't hurt feet. The fear remains alive because of the nature of
avoidance learning. Subsequent to the chance association, the dog behaves
fearfully—balks at the end of the leash or growls at the kids, scrambles away
from the rosettes, rushes into the car—and, in his mind, avoids the fearful
stimulus. "See how well my behavior works?" He never finds out that the
scary thing wouldn't have happened anyway.
Try blocking his avoidance response. Mechanically prevent him from rushing
through "something" to get into his crate so he finds out something is
nothing. To facilitate this, separate the crate and car elements. Practice going
slowly into the car as well as slowly into the crate you use in the car. A halter
or plain buckle collar held taut could get you started (keep it taut to avoid his
rushing and getting an inadvertent jerk). Do pauses at the "sticky" point (die
place he needs to rush through) and provide him with treats and praise. The
more you hang out at the spot he thinks is dangerous, the more evidence you
are giving him that there is nothing scary there. Jean Donaldson

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Last edited by davetgabby; 06-19-2014 at 04:48 PM.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-19-2014, 05:28 PM
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Yes, I was going to mention that Kodi had some mild car sickness when I first got him. I found quite quickly that it was WORSE if I withheld food. Just a few pieces of kibble were enough to keep him from feeling nauseated. Then we did LOTS of short rides ending up at fun places… the training center, play dates, the park… He outgrew it pretty quickly.


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-19-2014, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Wow...thank you so much Dave and Krandall!

I'm reading all of this, nodding "yes", "YES" and "YES" to it all!

I'd really like to be able to take him places with us (not always or inappropriate places for him) so that we can travel a bit with him. I'd love him to enjoy the car and feel like it's his place to be with us BUT...I do see the signs that are spoken of in what you've posted about, Dave. I do see the very things like the hyperness, dilated pupils etc.. It's definitely an avoidance situation and, at the same time, one that he WANTS to do. It's an odd thing. He wants to be with us, but he doesn't like the car. The association with feeling sick and going to the vet's I'm sure is part of it.

What you've all said about giving him something small/bland/light to eat before he goes into the car, I've tried. I try to give it at least an hour before we go out. But, he inevitably throws that up. (We need to plasticize the car seats like some people do their furniture LOL).

Do you guys recommend a "car crate"??? I've tried a seat-belt harness (to keep him safe and from getting hurt). I've tried riding with him in the back seat and putting toys he loves and blankets beside us. I've held him on my lap in the front seat, windows down to stick his head out and holding onto his harness firmly....STILL the vomiting. (Usually starts with the drooling buckets, lip licking and then....well....).

But, maybe...I need to just get him into the car, without it actually going anywhere and let him get used to being in it for a few times, quietly and with a treat or two. Then, graduate to a ride to the nearest park (fun, fun, fun) and back? Maybe, that will break the association with the "fear" factor? Then if he's still throwing up....work with some sort of car sickness potion/med?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-19-2014, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Oh and, Dave...by the way, our vet did mention those anti-static strips for the back of the car! Think I'm going to look into those next.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-19-2014, 06:23 PM
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My guys have never been car sick. I just wonder if it has anything to do with daily car rides since day 1. I always drive to places to walk and hike, so they got used to it. Bella used to shake and shiver, but that doesn't happen as much as long as she is familiar with where we are going. maybe try taking him for daily car rides. Keep them short in the beginning.

I use the lookout car seat and the Solvet deluxe car harness.






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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-19-2014, 07:22 PM
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Emmie was car sick the first week but since then she's been fine. We're in the car almost everyday and most of our trips are somewhere fun, which has led to good associations.

Jeanne and Emmie

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