Activities For Dogs With Motion Sickness

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Introduction

Dogs who suffer from motion sickness find riding in a car to be torture. They will start to drool and may vomit. Even a short trip can make your pooch throw up his biscuits. This can be extremely discouraging for an owner who wants to take his four-legged buddy on a jaunt to the dog park or a hike in the mountains. Your dog is miserable and you are unhappy. It is believed that motion sickness is a result of vestibular apparatus disruption. The vestibular apparatus is located in the middle ear and  is what controls your dog's ability to balance and achieve orientation. Many puppies and young dogs suffer from motion sickness because they are not fully developed but other dogs continue to be sick even into adulthood and beyond.

Desensitization

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Any Day
Free
Normal
15 min
Items needed
car
leash
collar
crate
Activity description
Some owners opt to try to desensitize their dog to motion sickness by undergoing a series of exercises. They feel that the condition is not only physical but also mental. When a young puppy gets sick in an auto they remember how badly they felt in the car, so they start to display anxiety when older. That anxiety leads to motion sickness even later in life. Although the inner ear has developed, the condition has transitioned from a physical disorder to a mental problem. The belief is that only through various activities that may work on the anxiety can a dog overcome the sickness.
Step
1
Leash and collar
Many dogs who suffer from car sickness run and hide the minute they see the leash and collar. You will need to pursue your dog and offer calming words of praise as you place the leash and collar on. Now comes the hard part, you will need to walk your dog up to the automobile. Let them sniff it and see that it is not as scary as they remember. Now open the door and try to encourage them to enter. The dog may balk and exhibit reservations. You might want to climb into the car and encourage your canine to join you. If your dog will be riding in the car then you will want to let him sniff his crate (if you use one) and maybe even enter it. Do not close the crate's door until your dog seems calmly settled inside.
Step
2
Turning on the car
Once your dog is secure in the crate or in their seat in the car, it is time to turn the car on. Many dogs start to panic at the sound of the engine. Offer reassurance. Let the car idle and give your dog time to adjust. They need to feel the vibration and hear the sound of the motor so they know that nothing is hurting them.
Step
3
Driving the car
Once your dog is calm it is time to drive slowly up the street or around the block. You can do short trips so your dog starts to get used to the entire experience. Gradually lengthen the trips. If your dog starts to show signs of motion sickness then you will want to immediately return home. After a while, your dog should be desensitized to the entire experience and overcome his motion sickness.
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Bring a Friend

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Any Day
Free
Easy
15 min
Items needed
Dog toys
Activity description
Some dogs develop a mental hangup when it comes to riding in a car. They know that they have experienced motion sickness in the past and it has been unpleasant so they start to stress and worry about a relapse. The dog can literally psych themselves up so that they become sick. Often the best way to overcome your canine's mental handicap and prevent motion sickness is through the act of distraction. Obviously, you cannot drive the auto and distract your dog at the same time so why not bring a friend? Load up your friend and some interesting toys to keep your four-legged buddy occupied so your K9 ceases thinking about becoming motion sick. Eventually, your dog will forget that a vehicle created sickness and only associate the auto with positive experiences.
Step
1
Load your friend in the car
Have your friend loaded in the auto and waiting before you ever place your dog into the vehicle. Ideally, your friend should be someone your dog likes and enjoys being around. When your canine sees the beloved human friend the chances are good that your pooch will quickly forget about the possible discomfort of the inevitable car ride. Many dogs immediately jump into the car.
Step
2
Have your friend distract your dog
Once the vehicle is in motion, your friend needs to talk calmly to your dog and try to distract them. Ideally, the friend should have a bag of beloved toys to start playing with the dog. Many pooches have a favorite stuffed animal or chew toy. Have your friend produce the toys and start to play with the dog.
Step
3
Roll down the windows
Rolling down the windows while your friend distracts your pooch will create airflow and may even assist your dog in forgetting about the motion of the vehicle while playing with your friend. During the entire process, your friend needs to continue the banter with your dog. Most canines love communication and play time. If the entire process of bringing a friend along is successful, then your dog will be effectively distracted and forget about ever getting motion sick.
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Walking

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Any Day
Free
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Waste Pick Up Bags
Collar
Leash
Activity description
If your dog has reached adulthood and still suffers from motion sickness then it might be time to accept that your pooch will never comfortably ride in a car without medication and excessive stress. This means it's time to put on your walking shoes and just take your baby for a daily walk. Walking is a healthy activity and good exercise for both of you.  Overall, it is a great activity to enjoy with each other. If you can walk to a dog park or some other special location where you canine can enjoy the great outdoors, then that is ideal.
Step
1
Leash and collar
When you get ready to go for a walk be sure to put a leash and collar on your dog. They do not need to have a choke collar but a simple adjustable collar is ideal. The old style collars with leather and buckle are also perfect. You can walk your pal on a short leash or choose to use one of the longer expandable leashes to provide a bit more freedom.
Step
2
Hit the trail
At first, don't over do the walking. You can start out walking a block and gradually increase the distance. Remember that dogs are just like people and need to get into shape before tackling long distances. You can eventually start walking miles together and you might even want to diversify by jogging.
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More Fun Ideas...

Biking

Your pet might love to ride in a bike trailer while you bike. Believe it or not, the motion of a bike trailer usually is not significant enough to make your dog motion sick. In fact, it can actually help many pooches overcome getting sick as they get used to the feel of the wind in their hair and the breeze on their face. You can even transition from pulling your dog in a bike trailer to riding slowly in the car with the window down and the air conditioner on. This will replicate the feeling of riding in the bike trailer and many dogs overcome their motion sickness in such a circumstance.

Motorized Remote Control Car

This is another activity that you can enjoy with your dog which can also assist your pup in overcoming motion sickness. There are remote control cars designed for toddlers. A parent places the toddler in the car and then controls the acceleration and steering via a handheld remote.  You can place your dog into the plastic battery powered auto and then drive him around using the remote. Most of the remote controlled tot cars do not exceed 5 to 15 miles per hour. Your dog will get used to the feel of the small car and the motion. Over time, your canine may conquer their motion sickness.

Conclusion

Motion sickness is no fun for the owner or the dog. It is perfectly normal to worry about your pooch vomiting all over the leather of your auto. No one likes to clean up this type of mess. However, motion sickness is typically a stage that a dog goes through. In time, most canines grow out of the condition. With added work and activities they can eventually overcome the anxiety and fear that often grows in them after they first experience the unpleasant disorder. However, a few dogs may never be able to ride in a car. These dogs will need extra love and fun activities that do not involve a motor vehicle.