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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I apologize in advance if this is the wrong forum subsection for this.
I've been reading a lot of old car training posts on this site (which I truly appreciate), the web at large (with both good sites and just sites where dog breed X is replaced with Havanese for ad clicks etc)

I'm quite jealous of anyone whose dog doesn't have car issues - you're lucky.
And for those who have perpetual car issues, you have my unwavering sympathy - it's not pleasant to see your young charge to be so miserable. And the added distraction is just dangerous. And the cleanup breaks your spirit.
I thought I had lucked out on our long drive back from the breeder (even though he threw up in the first hour), but nope.

So we've started a new process, morning and evening for the past 2 days.

First step was to let him sit in the car without carrier/crate and have a few treats while just talking to him. This was done before he ate to prevent any vomiting.
I used tiny bits of the freeze dried chicken breast (breaking the existing treats into pieces 1/4 of a fingernail)

5-8 minutes later, went back into the house with him. Engine not started.

Playtime inside the house. Half an hour later, back into the car without carrier/crate, gave a treat.
Next, I started the engine and let him listen to those noises and offered another treat.
Turned ac on to get the car cool.
Reversed out of the garage and stopped in the driveway - treat.
Waited in the driveway with engine running - treat.
Drove forward into garage and stopped engine - treat.

All this time, he kept coming back to my lap / arms.

Then in the evening an hour before feeding him, put him in his carrier and gave him a treat in the car.
Reversed out slowly, and gave him another treat.
He cried and whined loudly as we went around the block. I stopped once and gave him another treat.
He would cry and whine until we got back into the driveway - this was just a mile taking just 5 minutes or less.

But the good news is no drooling, no vomiting, no peeing.

Takeaways so far:
  • Keep car cool
  • Remove the polyester / woolen mat from the Sherpa carrier to keep him as cool as possible
  • Carrier has his toys he sleeps with at night
  • Car has some music playing

Plan for tomorrow is to feed him a tablespoon of kibble in the car in his carrier, and do another drive around the block, and I'll update...

Either I'm tilting at windmills, or this will work...

I'm open to suggestions and ideas
 

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I, too, am jealous of anyone with a dog that rides in the car without throwing up.
Shadow(he is 5) gets motion sick. He has only been on 3 car rides over a mile that he did not get sick on. He really wants to go places. He is an angel in the car. He is VERY happy to get in the car. But his little belly disagrees.
I just have to accept it.
Best of luck to you and since he is a puppy, it will happen! Shadow was 10 months when I got him and had a history of motion sickness.
 

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Perry got sick for his first 4+ years, it's only in the last year and a half that we've mostly gotten past it. He would get sick and be unhappy but he didn't whine and cry, in fact he was sometimes too quiet, like the time a suitcase partially fell over and on to his carry bag and he never made a sound.

I am convinced his issue was a combination of motion sick and anxiety. While we were still having problems, the only thing that sort of worked was cerenia plus no eating before a trip. We did get to a point where, as long as he hadn't eaten, we could go for about 15 minutes and he wouldn't throw up until after we got out of the car.

I can't pinpoint one thing that finally helped us because we changed several things all at the same time. This included travel in a varikennel instead of his sherpa bag, no eating before the trip, Gabapentin (which was for pain but does get prescribed for anxiety as well) plus trazadone, and lots of long (weekly for a couple of months then every two weeks for a while) 90 minutes each way trips.

None of this was done to solve the car issue but was because of all the trips to the ortho vet for his leg and meds after surgery.

While he does still most often travel in the varikennel he can also travel in his sherpa bag, we're now at the point that he can eat before travel, he still takes the Gabapentin for his leg which i think helps. He almost never gets sick now and didn't even really get drooly either.

As we've discussed in other posts on this subject, I think good experiences reinforce each other and help lessen the anxiety, so each trip without vomiting would build on the previous trip and would lessen his anxiety which would lessen the chance of vomiting, etc.

I won't say that he's a huge fan of car drives but at least he's not getting sick every trip.
 

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Metrowest, MA
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Sounds like you definitely have the right idea. Just don't go to fast!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thank you - let's see... everything is a new (and learning) process - a building block each time.

So some anxiety from the get go in his carrier. didn't want to stay inside his carrier, so i got him out and gave him some kibble from my hand while he was in my arms.
started engine, another bit of kibble.
no music and it's cool (almost cold outside).
tried to get him back into carrier with kibble - he ate them, but didn't want to stay inside. so a 50% win - at least he's not stressed to the point of not eating. no drooling either. he had his tail wagging in my arms on and off.
couple more minutes moving window up/down, turning engine off, and back inside the house. he's exploring the inside of his carrier now - body in completely.
will feed him inside carrier again as usual.
 

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Sounds like you have a good plan. Just wanted to offer sympathy since Mia had lots of problems with car sickness. She was my first dog and I thought all dogs loved riding in the car. What a shock. She eventually got better, however we had a property two hours away and did not have the luxury of slowly building up to that so it took awhile. She still does not love it but never gets sick anymore.
 

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I, too, am jealous of anyone with a dog that rides in the car without throwing up.
Shadow(he is 5) gets motion sick. He has only been on 3 car rides over a mile that he did not get sick on. He really wants to go places. He is an angel in the car. He is VERY happy to get in the car. But his little belly disagrees.
I just have to accept it.
Best of luck to you and since he is a puppy, it will happen! Shadow was 10 months when I got him and had a history of motion sickness.
Have you tried cerenia? It's only practical for longer trips because it does need to be given 2 hours before the trip, but while Perry was getting sick it was the only thing that mostly worked for us
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I must admit I was under the impression that since his first drive back from the breeder (9+ hours) went off without incident (once he threw up in the first hour), he'd be all right.
First introductory vet visit couple of days later went fine too - other than him throwing up outside the Petsmart that same trip.
But it has been challenging.

I haven't tried Cerenia - his next vet visit for shots is tomorrow, and I'll discuss it. Thank you!

EDIT: looks like Cerenia is out for now - not for pups below 16 weeks. We're a spunky 12 weeks
 

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Have you tried cerenia? It's only practical for longer trips because it does need to be given 2 hours before the trip, but while Perry was getting sick it was the only thing that mostly worked for us
We've tried Cerenia a few times without success. It usually delayed it and he would be sick later in the day and into the night. He also got liquid poop from it. He had the same side effects when he had a $hot of it at the vets. Plus it's expensive to be used often.
I'm going to start actively trying again with him when it cools down. It is either 95 degrees or thunder and lightning every single day. I do think that he has done better since we have had a couple of no vomitting trips lately without any drugs.
 

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Hoping this journal log helps others later (I just spent a few minutes reading old posts going back to 2007 about how they get used to it, and how ginger capsules may help).
Waiting for the evening attempt next.

Other things in arsenal to try after speaking with vet tomorrow:
  • crystalized sugared ginger
  • Adaptil
I have not tried ginger but have used Adaptil which really seemed to make Shadow calm although Shadow is not nervous in the car. I did try some calming treats, calming collars, calming music, raising his crate. I think one of the treats had ginger in it.
For months, I used to take Shadow in the car to visit his best friend(who only lives 10 homes away) and we would stop and visit any friends that were out. I tried to make every small trip a happy one since he loves people and other dogs. In his case, the vet feels that he is simply a dog that gets motion sick.
Most puppies outgrow the motion sickness.
If he doesn't like his carrier, I would bring it inside and put it where he can see it. Play fetch and throw his toys and treats in it often so he gets comfortable in it. Don't put it away and bring it out just for the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Lovely name - Shadow.

Thank you - I'm seriously pondering carrying Adaptil with me - but I am hoping the ginger might help.

He's content with his carrier - eats in it, plays on top of it, and sleeps in it too. No issues there.
I'm just trying to plan how to drive half an hour away and get the crystalized ginger stuff from a local store. Doesn't make sense to take him in the car and traumatize him over that. And leaving him behind at home will make him cry, but I guess it's a good 'break' to work on separation anxiety too...
 

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It was important me that my puppies NOT have this problem when they went to their forever homes, so I made sure to get them out in the car VERY easy... starting with when they were still nursing, so didn't really even notice. HOWEVER, I did not start with half hour car trips. I started with VERY SLOW trips around the block, ending with a party time in the back yard. When we started "going places" it STILL wasn't far, and it ALWAYS ended someplace "fun". I think the mistakes people make with their puppies in the beginning is that:

1. The car rides (or exposure, even) tends not to be frequent enough
2. The car rides tend to be too long
3. TOO OFTEN, the only car rides tend to end some place unpleasant, like the vet or the groomer! Make it SHORT and make it FUN!

There are STILL going to be a few who have a physical "motion sickness" that they need to grow out of. (hopefully!!!) But for the vast majority of puppies, where their upset about the car turns INTO car sickness, proper, slow introduction can get them through it!
 

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I used to spray Adaptil in the car near his crate about 10 minutes before we would go for a ride.
I know of people who have used ginger to calm a doggy tummy but think they used ginger treats or capsules, not the sugar coated root?
It is best to get a puppy used to being alone for short periods of time. Separation anxiety is real.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Just picked up some crystalized ginger - that was the first time he was left alone at home in his playpen. Total outing of 40 minutes. He did good.
And he likes the strong crystalized ginger too - so hopefully, that helps him tomorrow when we go to the vet for his distemper and parvo shots (just spoke with the vet office - they suggested Bordetella too, but not doing that)

Next step: more car desensitization training this evening before eating - but with a tiny piece of ginger prior, and of course, more treats.
 

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I know of people who have used ginger to calm a doggy tummy but think they used ginger treats or capsules, not the sugar coated root?
It is best to get a puppy used to being alone for short periods of time. Separation anxiety is real.
I think you can use plain old ginger snap cookies (the people kind) too.
 

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Oh nice - I'll get those too. Thank you. That way we have 2 kinds to nibble (for both of us)
I like them too... They wouldn't last long around here! LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Some good progress! We just went out for a quick drive - same trip around the block. Had to coax him into the carrier with treats (even though the little monkey was playing in it by himself just a few minutes earlier...)

but still, progress - couple of whines and cries, but not blue murder like yesterday.

didn't give any more ginger than the bit earlier (as I don't want to overload his stomach).

onto the morning.now.
 
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