Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Dogs and Motion Sickness
Did you know that motion sickness could also affect your dog?
Motion sickness is an illness associated with motion – as in a car, a boat or an airplane. Since vacations typically involve traveling, dogs prone to motion sickness do not always enjoy the trek to the final destination.
The cause of motion sickness is stimulation of the vestibular apparatus located within the inner ear. When this apparatus is stimulated, your dog feels dizzy and nausea may develop. Usually, the signs of motion sickness stop when the vehicle stops moving. Pets afflicted with motion sickness begin drooling, feel nauseated and may even develop vomiting or diarrhea. If your pet is known to experience motion sickness that is not easily treated, you may want to reconsider bringing him/her along on vacation.
There are various ways to treat and even overcome motion sickness.
Frequently, the signs of motion sickness can be overcome by conditioning the pet to travel. Slow, short and frequent trips in the vehicle, gradually increasing length of the ride, can help condition your dog.
Some dogs cannot be conditioned and medication is necessary. Commonly used medications to help reduce the nausea associated with motion sickness include diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), meclizine (Bonine®) and dimenhydrinate (Dramamine®). These medications are available without a prescription but should never be used unless specifically recommended by a veterinarian. Proper dosage and use are crucial to treating and diminishing the signs of motion sickness.
For some pets, the motion sickness and anxiety associated with travel is so severe that sedatives are necessary. Commonly used sedatives include acepromazine and phenobarbital. These are available by prescription and should be used with caution in animals traveling by airplane because of the possibility of side effects. In a cargo hold, there is little direct supervision of animals, so side effects may go unnoticed. In addition, there is little chance that a pet can receive medical help while the airplane is in the air.
Previous blogs discussed both traveling on an airplane with your dog and whether or not to sedate your dog.