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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
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Car sickness?

My Kayla gets so excited when we say car ride. She loves it for the first 5 minutes, then she starts to pant excessively. She does this for the whole car ride, short or long and she cannot get comfortable. She tries to lie down, then she stands and pants. We want to take her wherever we go but dread putting her through the car ride every time. She did this from the first day we brought her home as a pup.
My guess is it is car sickness. Any advice or ideas on how to relieve this stressful time for her.[We tried "rescue remedy" , didn't work]

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 09:49 AM
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It helps if you drive as smoothly as possible and make the trips really short and frequent. Chlöe had the same problem/reaction but these last few days it seems to be getting better. We tried Dramamine ( 1/4 tab), but it knocked her out for the whole day!! I've also read about desensitizing her to the car to not make it such a big deal. Put her in the car, take her out, turn the car on, pull out the driveway, go down the block, all in successive steps as long as she stays calm. She'll probably grow out of it.

Pamela (with Chloe, Cinderella, and Chrissy)
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 09:52 AM
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I think it sounds more like anxiety than car sickness, in my opinion. I would try a homeopathic for anxiety (homeopet makes one -- but start out using less than they call for b/c if I gave a dosage for my girls weight, it almost knocks her out).

The other thing might be to try an anxiety wrap or hoodie thing that blocks their view. Also, harness her in so she can't move around.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 09:52 AM
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High Natasha from Milton Ontario. I am just down the highway in Kitchener. Here is an article that explains it pretty good.
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.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 09:53 AM
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how old is she? It might be a youth thing.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 10:53 AM
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Natasha, how old is Kayla? Jackson used to get sick as a puppy. We tried a car seat and the crate, and the threw up with both. So then we made sure he had an empty tummy and gave him Cerenia (an anti-nausea drug that apparently helps with visual disturbance.) That helped get him over the nausea, but then we had a bad experience with him getting tangled up in his carseat belt, so he never wanted to get in his seat again and combine that with his dreading going to the vet. Now he whines two seconds after we get in the car. He does this the entire time we are riding to obedience class or the pet store or anywhere, even though he's two now, fastened into a nice harness, and in the front passenger seat where I can soothe him and rub him. After he sees where we are going, he's fine on the ride home. Dave's article is dead on that with the secondary anxiety. I think if your dog is young, she can be acclimated to gradual small trips, but I remember someone (I think it was Kimberly?) said all her dogs were totally different in the car . . . some always happy, some always hating it. They are all different, but distraction is also great . . . Jackson never cries if there is another dog in the car with him.

No, that is NOT another reason to get another one at this point

Kathy and Jackson Jackson
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
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Car sickness

Thank you all for your replies. She is 2 yrs old now and has had this from day one. I think from all your comments it probably is anxiety. I will speak to our vet as well as using all your helpful suggestions
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 01:41 PM
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We've used Pet Ease by Nutrivet (Petsmart) with great success on dogs that are carsick prone.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-18-2009, 03:28 AM
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I have been going through the same thing with my 14 week old puppy. He hypersalivates, vomits and then has diarrhea even on short car rides. I have not found anything over the counter yet that has helped, just knocks him out- and my vet says he is too young for any anti-nausea meds. I think he is having car sickness with anxiety. I have been so disappointed because I have had to severely limit where I take him because he gets so stressed and I have a big clean up afterwards. I started to desensitize him by playing in the car with him for 5 mins every day and I see progress. I hope to keep progressing this so he can go on short trips.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2009, 01:59 PM
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I too have a 6 month old hav who gets car sick usually after 3's obvious that she is sick to her stomach, sits up, licks her lips and then up it comes. We usually travel twice a month and the trip is 3 1/2 hours. There have been a few times where she can make the whole trip without becoming sick.

To date I have only tried altering the car environment and not feeding for 3 hours before we leave. I have read the other threads and researched different products.

Has anyone tried Pet Alive Easy Travel Solution? It's a homeopathic remedy and the ingredients seem to make sense to me. Please let me know if you have tried and if it was helpful.


Last edited by lexigirl; 10-19-2009 at 02:27 PM.
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