Car anxiety in dogs can really get in the way of a good trip to the park. This guide discusses tricks for easing their nerves. No one likes cleaning up barf in the backseat. If you deal with dog car sickness, these natural remedies will help. Can CBD Oil Help Your Dog’s Anxiety and Nausea In The Car? Did you know that CBD oil can help your dog battle a number of ailments including nausea and anxiety related to car travel? These
How to Help Dogs With Car Anxiety
If your furry passenger is feeling the effects of car sickness, you are likely to be familiar with a few of these common symptoms:
- Excessive whining, drooling, licking lips, or yawning
- Unable to get comfortable and clear signs of discomfort
- Vomiting or dry heaves
It is important to understand that car sickness in our canine companions is usually a combination of factors. The first is motion sickness, something that many people also suffer from when riding in cars. If you have ever felt nauseous from being on a boat, riding a roller coaster, or trying to nap in the back of a moving car, then you are familiar with what your furry friend is feeling. Needless to say, it is not very comfortable!
However, over time, repeated experiences of car sickness can cause car anxiety for our dogs (as can other situations such as trauma from a car wreck or only getting in the car to go to the vet). It makes sense: If every time you got in the car you got sick, you would probably dread car rides, too. Unlike you, your dog doesn’t understand why, and may simply develop a phobia of car rides as a result.
So, the first step in such cases is to stop nausea that is causing the problem to begin with, followed by working on the dog’s anxiety that may have resulted from repeated episodes of car sickness.
Common Medications for Dog Car Anxiety and Motion Sickness
Until recently, many people turned to common over-the-counter medications for dog nausea. However, the side effects of these medications, which are potentially serious, have left others concerned about their safety.
An over-the-counter anti-histamine, this drug is sometimes recommended by veterinarians for dogs who show signs of motion sickness, mostly because it seems to have a sedative effect. However, drug overdoses have been known to occur and include the potential for extreme sedation, seizures, respiratory problems, coma, and even death.
This powerful anti-nausea medication is potent and lasts for 24 hours. It is available by prescription only and is administered by injection. One of the well-known side effects of this medication is the possibility of an allergic reaction, including swelling so severe it restricts your pet’s ability to breathe and can cause seizures, coma, and even death if not promptly treated.
In addition, even the product label warns that prolonged exposure may lead to “skin sensitization” in your pet. Some think the risk outweighs the potential benefits of the gains, particularly when there are natural alternatives that can treat nausea just as well.
A pharmaceutical-grade tranquilizer that also reduces nausea. This dog sedative for car travel anxiety depresses the central nervous system and is thought to block dopamine receptors in the brain. While some vets and dog owners do find the extreme sedation effects helpful for severe cases of motion sickness in dogs, the downside is that once your dog gets to the destination, they are likely to be “out of it” for several hours.
Does CBD Oil Help Dogs With Car Sickness?
If you are concerned about finding something that will help your canine companion without dangerous side effects, potentially life-threatening adverse reactions, and sedating your pal to the point that he won’t even be able to enjoy the fun at the other end of the car ride, then you may be delighted to find out about a natural product that may help.
Many pet owners and holistic vets are turning to high quality CBD for their dog’s car anxiety, a natural product that can help calm both mood and tummies in dogs in the face of phobias such as fear of car trips.
Tips for Addressing Dog Car Phobia in Dogs
Here at Lolahemp, we are big believers in the power of CBD oil to help with car sickness and car phobia in dogs because it worked for our rescued chihuahua, Lola . And, many of our customers report that our organic hemp oil has also been effective for their canine companions.
However, we also want to be sure that dog owners are aware of other things they can do to help their dogs overcome dog car phobias caused by motion sickness. To that end, here are a few great tips:
Ride on an Empty Stomach
Many pet owners make the mistake of feeding their dogs right before a ride or giving their dogs treats during the ride. While this may not bother all dogs, for those prone to motion sickness, it is likely to make the problem worse.
Practice Very Short Trips
One of the best ways to help your dog get used to riding in the car is to practice taking very short rides. Since motion sickness often takes 10 minutes or more to set in, these short rides can help your dog get used to riding in the car without feeling sick. In addition, it may even help her find her “sea legs” by giving her a chance to adjust to the motion of the car.
Reward and Praise Every Aspect of the Ride
Car phobia, just like other phobias in dogs, is usually handled through a process of reconditioning and desensitization. This means exposing the dog to the car without triggering the reaction threshold and rewarding and praising along the way.
For many pets, this may mean going back to square one, that is, getting in and out of the car while it is parked and repeating with rewards and praise. Then, taking a drive to the bottom of the drive and back, again rewarding and praising. This can help “retrain” your dog that the car is associated with good things.
Go to Fun Places
It is easy to overlook, but if the only time you take your dog in the car is for a trip to the vet where she gets poked and prodded, then there is a good chance that you have inadvertently taught her that the car is basically equivalent to going to the doctor. No wonder she hates that car!
Instead, look for excuses to take short rides to fun places like the dog park, on a doggy date to meet a favorite canine playmate, or to the lake. As long as the rides are short, and the fun trips far outnumber the less-fun trips, then your pooch will learn to enjoy the excitement of what comes at the end of the ride.
Can a Natural Product Help with Car Phobia in Dogs?
If you are interested in trying CBD for a dog’s car sickness, consider Lolahemp full-spectrum hemp oil for dogs. Our oils are made from certified organic hemp plants sourced from a family-run farm in the U.S. and are always lab tested for purity & concentration.
We also make CBD calming chews for easy administration, which include other natural calming ingredients to promote relaxation in even the most stressed pups.
Joey is the founder of Lolahemp. In 2015 he and his mother launched Lolawawa’s Pet Boutique, an e-commerce store for pets and pet lovers that donates a portion of profits to animal rescue efforts. In 2018 the son and mother duo launched Lolahemp after the success their own rescue chihuahua, Lola, had with hemp products. Joey & Susan are the visionaries behind the brand, oversee day-to-day operations & marketing, and run all of the company’s philanthropic efforts.
Dog Car Sickness: Natural Remedies That Work
Dog car sickness is common. And if your dog’s ever thrown up in the backseat, you’ve probably already realized that.
So, what actually causes this reaction? And is there any way to stop it?
Why Do Dogs Get Car Sickness?
Car sickness happens when the motion of a vehicle interacts with the nervous system. It’s an imbalance between what your dog is seeing and what he feels.
Dogs sense motion through their inner ears, they see it with their eyes and they feel it with their bodies. Intentional movements create specific inputs that allow for coordinated responses. When movement occurs without intention, then motion sickness can start.
If your dog is feeling motion sick from being in the car, he will show symptoms …
Car sickness is more common with younger dogs because their systems haven’t fully developed … just as children are more likely to get motion sickness than adults. Like people, most dogs will grow out of it, but some don’t.
The good news is, there are several natural remedies that are perfect for dog car sickness. You may even have some at home in your cabinets right now.
Natural Remedies For Car Sickness
If your dog has an upset stomach and is vomiting, here are some herbs you can try. You can give them to your dog separately or in combination, as described later in the post.
Ginger is well known for its anti-nausea effects. In fact, a study compared ginger to dimenhydrinate (1). Dimenhydrinate is in popular nausea drugs like Dramamine for dogs and humans. In humans, ginger was as effective as conventional drugs and had fewer side effects.
Caution: Don’t use ginger for dogs undergoing surgery, on blood thinners or going into labor. For pregnant dogs or dogs with diabetes or heart conditions, talk to your holistic vet first.
Tinctures are a convenient way to give your dog herbal remedies when on the go. If you use a ginger tincture, use the following dosages …
1 to 10 lbs … 1 to 3 drops, 2 to 3 times daily
10 to 20 lbs … 3 to 5 drops, 2 to 3 times daily
20 to 50 lbs … 5 to 10 drops, 2 to 3 times daily
50 to 100 lbs … 20 drops, 2 to 3 times daily
Over 100 lbs … adult human dose
Peppermint calms the muscles in your dog’s stomach, which can help ease nausea and flatulence.
Caution: Don’t give your dog undiluted peppermint essential oil. It’s highly concentrated and can cause liver or kidney problems. You also shouldn’t use peppermint in combination with homeopathic remedies.
You can give peppermint as an infusion. Steep 2 tbsp of dried herb in 8 oz of almost boiling water for 20 to 30 minutes while covered. Strain the infusion and cover to let it cool. Give your dog the following amount of tea based on his size …
Small dog … 1 tsp, 2 to 3 times daily
Medium dogs … 2 tsp, 2 to 3 times daily
Large dogs … 1 Tbsp, 2 to 3 times daily
Extra-large dogs … 2 Tbsp, 2 to 3 times daily
Catnip isn’t just for cats … you can also use it to help with your dog’s upset stomach. Catnip has a sedative effect on dogs, so it can help calm nerves and make them feel more restful.
Caution: Catnip seeds are not safe for dogs. Products made from leaves, stems and flowers are safe for dogs.
To give your dog catnip add 12 drops of tincture to your dog’s water. If your dog doesn’t respond, try adding another 6 drops at a time until your dog seems calm.
Fennel has a similar effect to catnip when used for digestive issues. It’s also a great option for dogs who don’t like the taste of peppermint and other mints.
Caution: Don’t use fennel for pregnant or lactating dogs.
Give your dog 10 to 20 drops per 20 lbs body weight as needed.
Dill is also an effective anti-nausea herb. Its compounds work like an antigas remedy to reduce stomach upset.
Caution: Don’t use it for pregnant or lactating dogs.
To give dill to your dog, make dill seed tea. Add 1 tsp of dill seed to 8 oz of boiling water. Once cooled, give your dog 2-8 oz before you head out.
2. CBD Oil
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil comes from cannabis and hemp plants. The difference between the two is that hemp plants have almost no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is what causes psychoactive properties. If you give your dog products made from hemp, he’ll enjoy the calming effects of the CBD without getting “high”.
CBD has many different benefits. Research has studied its use for seizures, cancer, pain relief and mood disorders. But research at Canada’s Guelph University shows it may also be an effective remedy for nausea and vomiting (2).
As an added bonus, CBD oil can help ease anxiety. And, as you’ll find out later in this post, anxiety can be a factor in your dog’s car sickness.
3. Use A Crate
A major contributor to motion sickness is watching the world fly by the window. For people, the solution is simple – look out the front windshield. Of course, you can’t simply tell your dog to do that and expect him to understand.
That’s where a crate comes in. If your dog is in a crate it will stop him from being able to look out the windows and may help reduce his motion sickness. (For dogs who can still see out the window, you can cover the crate with a blanket or towel). But … only use a crate if your dog is crate trained and relaxes in it. Otherwise, it could cause anxiety that could make his car sickness worse.
4. Fresh Air
When a dog is starting to get sick in the car, some owners will immediately open a window. For some dogs, this can ease car sickness by helping to balance the air pressure in the car. Not to mention that the smells of the outside world can be distracting.
But for other dogs, opening the window can make their car sickness worse.
If your dog starts to show signs of car sickness, try cracking the window to let fresh air in. If it doesn’t seem to be helping or makes his symptoms worse, keep the windows closed. Instead, make frequent stops to give your dog a break and get fresh air with a short walk.
You also want to watch the temperature. Warmth can worsen car sickness. Turn down the heat a bit or turn on the AC to help cool things down. Watch your dog to see if it helps ease his symptoms.
Homeopathic remedies can be very effective for car sickness.
Nux vomica is one of the most common homeopathic remedies. It’s often used for constipation, indigestion, irritability or general digestive upset. And it’s also one of the best treatment options for dog car sickness.
Give your dog this remedy if he looks like he could be sick. It treats vomiting and sour stomach issues effectively.
Sepia works exceptionally well with senior dogs. It can also work to lift your dog’s spirits if he feels anxious about going for a drive.
The impact of this homeopathic remedy is often immediate for your dog. If the remedy’s a good fit for him, you’ll see a return to his usual joy in a few minutes.
You can dose this remedy before getting into your car. It’s useful for other types of anxiety or nausea too.
Cocculus indicus is a great choice when fresh air or the smell of food aggravates your dog’s car sickness. If you think your dog is sick from watching everything pass by the window, try Cocculus indicus.
This remedy also works quickly.
Dogs who suffer from anxiety and motion sickness benefit the most from Tabacum. It works well when your dog associates negative feelings with a car ride … like a visit to the vet, perhaps?
If your dog seems nauseous and nervous, try Argentum nitricum. This homeopathic remedy is useful for dogs who feel hurried or apprehensive.
You may also want to look for a product that combines remedies specifically for dog car sickness.
How To Use Homeopathic Remedies
For all the above remedies, go with a 6C or 30C potency. You can give these 30 minutes to 1 hour before travel and repeat while en route.
Here’s how to dose the remedies.
- Choose the remedy with the best-fitting description for your dog, and try it first. If the first option doesn’t work within an hour, switch to the next best-fitting remedy. If it helps but the improvement doesn’t last, re-dose as needed.
- To give your dog a dose, for any size dog, tip 3-5 pellets in your dog’s mouth, in the cheek area. You want them to melt on the gums. Try not to touch the pellets with your hands as this can antidote the remedy.
- Sometimes it’s easier to give a wet dose. Mix them in a dropper bottle of filtered or spring water before you go driving. Shake the bottle or pound it on your palm 10 times before dosing. You can use a dropper to place liquid directly on the gums. If you add about 10% alcohol (like vodka or brandy) to the bottle, it’ll preserve the remedy for years. Otherwise it’ll last 2-3 days without alcohol. Don’t refrigerate it.
Unlike drugs, homeopathic remedies don’t work by body weight. No matter what size your dog is, it doesn’t matter whether you give one drop (or pellet) of the remedy or five. As long as some of the remedy touches your dog’s mucous membranes (like his gums), you’re good.
When Car Sickness Isn’t Really Car Sickness
Sometimes it isn’t the motion that makes your dog sick, but the anxiety he feels being in your car. The problem is, symptoms of anxiety-induced car sickness look just like motion sickness. But there are some key differences. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, his car sickness may be because he is nervous …
- Crying or barking
- Excessive licking
Natural Remedies For Anxiety
If you think anxiety could be causing your dog’s car sickness, there are a few things you can do.
The first thing you want to do is get your dog used to being in the car. Take him on more frequent short car rides … Even if it’s just around the block. This should help your dog get more comfortable with the experience.
You may also want to take him on longer trips to places he likes, like a local park. This will help him associate car rides with positive feelings. This can ease his anxiety.
Try saving special toys your dog gets only for travel. This gives him a fun distraction that may reduce his nervousness.
If these tricks don’t work, you can try some of the following home remedies.
2. Rescue Remedy
Rescue Remedy is a blend of flower essences you can give right before getting in the car to ease your dog’s anxiety. If you feel your dog needs more during the ride, you can repeat the doses as needed. Three doses given 3 to 5 minutes apart is usually enough, but you can’t overdose flower essences, so give more if needed.
You can give doses directly from the Rescue Remedy bottle. Place 3-4 drops in your dog’s water or onto his tongue.
3. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is incredibly versatile. It’s used for many different problems from joint pain to insomnia. It’s also an effective natural remedy for your dog’s car sickness due to anxiety.
In fact, one study looked at the effects of lavender oil on traveling dogs. The research showed just a small amount could calm dogs and reduce excitement (3). As an added bonus, it can help limit the effects of motion while traveling.
How To Safely Use Lavender Oil
If you’re using lavender oil (or any essential oil), you must dilute it in a carrier oil. Otherwise, you could make your dog sick, as undiluted essential oils are very powerful.
Add 3 to 6 drops of essential oil to 1 oz of the carrier oil of your choice. Good carrier oils include almond oil, avocado oil or jojoba oil.
Put a few drops on a blanket and bring it in the car with your dog.
There are other essential oils that can help with anxiety. Find some recipes here.
There are also a few herbs you can use to help calm your dog’s anxiety. Valerian is a good choice as it will relax your dog, as well as calm his nervous stomach.
You can use a tincture and put it on food or water. It can also be placed directly in your dog’s mouth.
1 to 20 lbs … 1-4 drops, 2-3 times daily
20 to 50 lbs … 5-10 drops, 2-3 times daily
50 to 100 lbs … 10-20 drops, 2-3 times daily
Other herbs that can act as mild sedatives include …
- Oatstraw – 1 to 2 ml per 20 lbs daily of body weight; divide amount into multiple doses
- Skullcap – 0.5 ml of tincture per 20 lbs body weight, up to 3 times daily for up to a week
- Passionflower – 0.5 to 1.5 ml of tincture per 25 lbs body weight; divide amount into multiple doses
You can give these alone or in combination with the herbs mentioned earlier for motion sickness. Again, dosing will depend on the dog, herb and application. But you can use the general rules described earlier.
Going for a ride should be fun. With these natural treatment options for dog car sickness, you’ll help everyone have a great time on the road!
Can CBD Oil Help Your Dog’s Anxiety and Nausea In The Car?
Did you know that CBD oil can help your dog battle a number of ailments including nausea and anxiety related to car travel? These symptoms are often caused by a combination of psychological and physiological factors, making them especially difficult to manage. CBD oil offers a safe, holistic option proven to relieve physical tension and promote a calm state of mind.
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is one of many chemical compounds called cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. Only one of these compounds is responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana – tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC). Unlike THC, CBD is derived from hemp, a safer, more medicinal form of cannabis.
Clinical reports show that CBD has the potential to treat a wide variety of ailments in pets without the psychoactive side effects associated with THC. While it does not cause a mind-altering high, it does produce significant changes in the body, helping to relieve the symptoms of many common veterinary concerns including:
- Joint Pain
- Systemic Pain
- Seizures & Epilepsy
In order to reap the benefits of CBD, the compound is isolated from the hemp plant and concentrated into an oil that can be given by mouth or drizzled over food.
Scientific research has confirmed that dogs (and many other species) have the same natural cannabinoid receptors in their brains, nervous systems and organs as humans do. Known as the endocannabinoid system, these receptors are involved in physiological processes such as appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory.
While most scientific testing has focused on the effects of CBD oil in humans with anxiety, the similarities between the endocannabinoid systems of humans and canines have encouraged researchers and holistic veterinarians to champion its use in pets.
Many dogs are fearful during car travel because of the noise and frightening sensations associated with the vehicle itself, while others experience a combination of anxiety and physical car sickness. Extreme stress can actually manifest as nausea thanks to the vast majority of the nervous system being located within the gut.
CBD For Dogs With Car Sickness
CBD oil has proven especially beneficial for easing nausea and anxiety associated with car rides, because it can be given in advance of the stressor, allowing it to take effect before the dog’s symptoms escalate.
The CBD compound activates the cannabinoid receptors and stimulates the production of serotonin, a natural chemical in the central nervous system that promotes feelings of well-being and happiness. In addition to the nervous system, serotonin is also found in the gastrointestinal tract. By stimulating the body to produce more serotonin, CBD naturally soothes the nerves in the gut as well as the brain.
Unlike anti-anxiety drugs, CBD oil is all-natural and less likely to cause unwanted side effects. Cannanine™ Organic Hemp Oil is derived from organically-grown Colorado hemp, which is legal in all 50 states.
While most CBD products contain trace amounts of THC, Cannanine™ is 100% free of this controversial chemical. This is very important when using CBD for dogs, but can be hard to come by as the process of removing every trace of THC is quite expensive.
In addition to its many benefits for your dog’s health and wellbeing, every purchase of Cannanine provides healthy meals for shelter dogs.
For more information on CBD oil and how to choose a high-quality product for your dog, check out our Ultimate Guide to CBD Hemp Oil For Dogs.
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