HOW TO STOP YOUR DOG FEELING WUFF ON THE ROAD.
All of us at some time or other have probably felt a bit car sick. But it doesn’t just affect people; dogs can suffer from it too. It’s stressful for your pet and, if the worst happens, unpleasant for you – particularly if there’s a mess to clean up!
So we’ve put together a guide to help you spot any warning signs, prevent it from happening and keep your pooch a happy travel companion.
WHAT CAUSES CAR SICKNESS IN DOGS?
As the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) points out, car or motion sickness is caused when certain types of movement affect the balance centre of the brain.1 Stress and anxiety can play a key role too.
Car sickness is common in puppies, but older dogs can suffer from it as well – particularly if they don’t travel by car very often or weren’t trained to be comfortable with car travel early on.
HELPING YOU SPOT THE WARNING SIGNS.
Whether it’s a short or long trip, keep a close eye on your canine passenger. There are a few tell-tale signs that might suggest they’re not feeling 100% paw-fect:
Swallowing more than usual
Lip licking Retching
If you spot any of these, it’s probably a good idea to just stop for a while and take a break to get a sniff of fresh air.
WAYS TO PREVENT DOG CAR SICKNESS?
Car sickness can be tricky to prevent. However there are certain avenues you can explore. For a start, because stress and anxiety can help trigger car sickness, it’s a good idea to train your dog so that they feel comfortable being in a car.
- Get them used to your car – reward them for being calm whenever they’re near it. If they’re unsure about getting in, put something inside that smells familiar to them, like a blanket, pillow or favourite toy.
- Keep them safe and secure – rule 57 of the Highway Code says that a dog in a vehicle needs to be suitably restrained.2 One of the best ways to do this is by using a dog guard, seatbelt or crate.
- Take it slow and steady – introduce your dog to the idea of car travel carefully as the sound and movement can be unsettling. Start with shorter trips and slowly build from there.
- Get them in and out safely – keep things calm and make sure they don’t get over-excited.
If your dog has severe car sickness, there are medications available that your vet can prescribe. But think of these as short-term solutions while you find other ways to help your pet. And don’t be tempted to use non-prescription or human medicines as these can have nasty side effects.
HAPPY MOTORING – NO MATTER HOW FUR YOU GO.
Always pack enough food (including some of their favourite treats) and take plenty of drinking water.
Make sure they feel comfortable. Familiar blankets and toys can really help. Having plenty of space is important too. When it comes to stretching out, the MINI Clubman’s spacious boot is hard to beat.
Go gently. Keeping things smooth and avoiding sudden accelerations or jerky braking will help your pooch stay calm.
Keep an eye out for the weather. If it’s chilly, make sure your dog’s wrapped up warm and if the sun’s shining, the temperature inside your car can rise rapidly, so make sure cool air is reaching them.