Ear Ear – The Truth About Motion Sickness

Photo courtesy of Megan VanParis

Have you ever wondered why your pet may become listless, yawn, whine or smack/lick their lips when you get in the car? These symptoms are actually signs of motion sickness! Although contrary to popular belief, motion sickness in pets isn’t caused by their stomachs. It is actually triggered by excessive stimulation in their inner ear where the ears’ sensory organ relays to the brain that a pet should be nauseous or vomit. Motion sickness is most often seen in puppies because their ear canals are not fully developed. Some dogs may grow out of it but other times it can be a lifelong affliction.

While pet owners can try their best to avoid taking their pet in a car, some situations are unavoidable – such as trips to Blum, the groomer, daycare or even a summer road trip. For some pets, riding in the car is a treat and they can’t wait to jump in the car, but for others, it can be something they dread.

To help treat motion sickness, our doctors recommend a product called Cerenia that can be administered orally. Cerenia tricks your pet’s nervous system to prevent them from vomiting, and is the only FDA approved medication to help prevent motion sickness in dogs. Motion sickness can also create some anxiety, so sometimes they may actually worry themselves sick if they have to ride in the car. Helping your pet become more comfortable in the car can aid with their motion sickness. Try using either Adaptil or Feliway sprays to also help ease their anxiety during trips. You can also take short trips to places your pet enjoys, such as the park, or buying a special treat or toy that your pet only receives in the car to work on building their acceptance of travel.

For any further questions about how motion sickness and how it affects your furry family member, please call us at: (773) 327-4446.

Written for Blum Animal Hospital by Jackie Sheppard.