Canine Tip of the Day: Travel Sickness
Vomiting, shaking, anxiety and drooling can be as a result of car travel or nervousness, and this is very common indeed in puppies – with my boy Axl having just sired a litter, Im in constant contact with our new puppy owners and this is something that all of them, my puppy Chi included, have suffered with. Simple vomiting is common and not usually associated with discomfort.
Sometimes, these symptoms can be reduced and eventually removed by careful, gentle, acclimatisation of the dog to travelling in the car. If you know your are going to make a journey, ensure your puppy does not have a full tummy before you begin. Start with very short journies of only a couple of minutes duration, giving copious reasurance throughout and making sure that your final destination is one that the puppy will really enjoy.
If you have other dogs in your home, often having the dogs travel together for moral support can take some of the fear out of the journey for your puppy.
If even this is too stressful to begin with, there are some very good techniques to help your puppy overcome their fears. It might be best to start with something as gentle as simply opening up the car doors so there is a clear entrance and exit and take the dog right through the car and out the other side without even stopping. Gradually, increasing the length of time between entering and exiting, all the while offering reassurance, may get your puppy over the hurdle. However, if you feel that your dog is so frightened of the car as to need this kind of intervention, then speak to a registered canine behaviourist to help you accomplish a stress-free outcome for your puppy, using positive force-free learning techniques.
You may also consider giving an anti-sickness tablet to help make the experience a little less unpleasant. Tablets can be obtained from your vet but please remember that with some anti-emetics there may be a mild sedative effect which, if you are wishing your dog to “perform” at the other end of your journey say as a show dog, agility/flyball competitor or shooting companion etc, this might not be a viable option.
If you are looking for a homoeopathic first aid remedy, Petroleum is the remedy of choice. Petroleum is liquid crude oil that comes from beneath the earth’s surface. The remedy is made from purified commercial petroleum. Borax (boric acid) can also be tried. If there is an actual fear of the car itself, then Gelsemium should be given. For longer journeys, start treatment around an hour before the journey commences and repeat at hourly intervals during travel.