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Dog Car Anxiety: Medications and Natural Alternatives

DATE:June 03, 2019BY:Joey DiFrancesco

If your furry passenger is feeling the effects of car sickness, you are likely to be familiar with a few of these common symptoms:

  • * Excessive whining, drooling, licking lips, or yawning

  • * Unable to get comfortable and clear signs of discomfort

  • * Vomiting or dry heaves

It is important to understand that car sickness in our canine companions is usually a combination of factors. The first is motion sickness, something that many people also suffer from when riding in cars. If you have ever felt nauseous from being on a boat, riding a roller coaster, or trying to nap in the back of a moving car, then you are familiar with what your furry friend is feeling. Needless to say, it is not very comfortable!

However, over time, repeated experiences of car sickness can cause car anxiety for our dogs (as can other situations such as trauma from a car wreck or only getting in the car to go to the vet). It makes sense: If every time you got in the car you got sick, you would probable dread car rides too. Unlike you, your dog doesn’t understand why, and may simply develop a phobia of car rides as a result.

So, the first step in such cases is to stop the nausea that is causing the problem to begin with, followed by working on the anxiety that may have resulted from repeated episodes of car sickness.

Common Medications for Dog Car Anxiety and Motion Sickness

Until recently, many people turned to some common over the counter medications for dog nausea to help with motion sickness in dogs. However, the side effects of these medications, which are potentially serious, have left others concerned about their safety.

Benadryl

An over the counter anti-histamine, this drug is sometimes recommended by veterinarians for dogs who show signs of motion sickness, mostly because it seems to have a sedative effect. However, drug overdoses have been known to occur and include the potential for extreme sedation, seizures, respiratory problems, coma, and even death.

Cerenia

This powerful anti-nausea medication is potent and lasts for 24 hours. It is available by prescription only and is administered by injection. One of the well known side effects of this medication is the possibility of an allergic reaction that can be an emergency, including swelling so severe it restricts your pet’s ability to breath, and can cause seizures, coma, and even death if not promptly treated.

In addition, even the product label warns that prolonged exposure may lead to “skin sensitization” in your pet. Some think the risk outweighs the potential benefits of the gains, particularly when there are natural alternatives that work.

Acepromazine

A pharmaceutical grade tranquilizer that also reduces nausea. This dog sedative for car travel depresses the central nervous system and is thought to block dopamine receptors in the brain. While some vets and dog owners do find the extreme sedation effects helpful for severe cases of motion sickness in dogs, the down-side is that once your dog gets to the destination, they are likely to be “out of it” for several hours.

What Can I Give My Dog for Car Sickness?

If you are concerned about finding something that will help your canine companion without dangerous side effects, potentially life threatening adverse reactions, and sedating your pal to the point that he won’t even be able to enjoy the fun at the other end of the car ride, then you may be delighted to find out about a natural product that may help.

CBD oil, made from the non-psychoactive plant hemp, has been shown in research to have both anti-nausea and anti-anxiety properties. Furthermore, it has been shown to be safe for dogs. Many pet owners and holistic vets are turning to CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol, to help address car phobias in dogs whether caused by motion sickness or conditioned fears (such as past trauma in a car).

Tips for Addressing Dog Car Phobia in Dogs

Here at LolaHemp, we are big believers in the power of CBD oil to help with car sickness and car phobia in dogs because it worked for our rescued chihuahua, Lola. And, many of our customers report that our organic hemp oil has also been effective for their canine companions.

However, we also want to be sure that dog owners are aware of other things they can do to help their dog overcome dog car phobias caused by motion sickness. To that end, here are a few great tips:

Ride on an Empty Stomach

Many pet owners make the mistake of feeding their dog right before a ride, or giving their dogs treats during the ride. While this may not bother all dogs, for those prone to motion sickness, it is likely to make the problem worse.

Practice Very Short Rides

One of the best ways to help your dog get used to riding in the car is to practice taking very short rides. Since motion sickness often takes 10 minutes or more to set in, these short rides can help your dog get used to riding in the car without feeling sick. In addition, it may even help her find her “sea legs” by giving her a chance to adjust to the motion of the car.

Reward and Praise Every Aspect of the Ride

Car phobia, just like other phobias in dogs, is usually handled through a process of reconditioning and desensitization. This means exposing the dog to the car without triggering the reaction threshold and rewarding and praising along the way.

For many pets, this may mean going back to square one, that is, getting in and out of the car while it is parked and repeating with rewards and praise. Then, taking a drive to the bottom of the drive and back, again rewarding and praising. This can help “retrain” your dog that the car is associated with good things.

Go to Fun Places

It is easy to overlook, but if the only time you take your dog in the car is for a trip to the vet where she gets poked and prodded, then there is a good chance that you have inadvertently taught her that the car is basically equivalent to going to the doctor. No wonder she hates that car!

Instead, look for excuses to take short rides to fun places like the dog park, on a doggy date to meet a favorite canine playmate, or to the lake. As long as the rides are short, and the fun trips far outnumber the less fun trips, then your pooch will learn to enjoy the excitement of what comes at the end of the ride.

A Natural Product for Car Sickness and Anxiety in Dogs

If you are interested in CBD Oil a try, consider LolaHemp organic, full spectrum CBD hemp oil for dogs. In addition to offering our lab tests for purity and concentration, we also donate one bottle for every four bottles sold to a rescue dog in need.

Interested in learning more about the researched backed health benefits of CBD oil for dogs? Provide your email address below and we will send you our free guide citing nearly 60 peer reviewed research studies on the properties of this safe and effective natural product.

Joey DiFrancesco

Joey is the founder of LolaHemp CBD for Pets. In 2015 he launched Lolawawa's Pet Boutique, an e-commerce store for pet lovers and pets that donates a portion of profits to animal rescue efforts. In 2018 he launched LolaHemp in response to customer's growing demands for a supplement to help with pet ailments like anxiety, aggression and seizures.

 

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