Dogs who get car sick
Going for a drive
Many people love taking their dogs with them wherever they go. This exercise becomes slightly less attractive if they have to clean up the car every time they’ve been out – because Fido got sick again. Speaking as one who gets motion sick in almost anything that moves – I can promise you it’s no fun for the dog either!
There are many theories as to why people get motion sick – which probably relate to dogs too. We can spend hours debating them, but the relevant question is – how can we make the car travel experience better for both of us?
Overcoming the fear
Using TTOUCH© bodywork and groundwork – we have found that we can improve the situation significantly. The work we do addresses the dog's balance. If you feel unbalanced it often leads to nausea (think about spinning around and feeling dizzy – you might feel nauseous). So, if we address the unbalanced part, we may relieve the nausea too. TOUCH© also helps dogs to relax – going in the car can be VERY exciting for some. Being over-excited can lead to them being sick.
Working a dog through groundwork – slowly and consistently, can help him become aware of his body. Working over different surfaces will help with proprioception and an awareness of where the body is in space. Creating this awareness allows the dog to change his posture so as to be in a more balanced state. Being in a balanced state will help to release tension and create relaxation. The more balanced and relaxed you are – the less likely you are to get sick.
Obviously we can’t set up an obstacle course in the car – but doing these exercises at home can teach the dog to be more consistently in a relaxed posture.
One of the most useful TTOUCH© tools we use is a body wrap. This consists of an elasticised bandage (like the leg bandages used on horses) which is wrapped around the dog’s body. (PLEASE do not use sticky plaster – you could end up with a sick AND bald dog). This DOES NOT mean we have to wrap Fido up like a Christmas cracker!
Simply putting the middle of the bandage across the chest – bringing it around over the shoulders – crossing over and then pinning it under his rib cage (or if it is long crossing over again and then tying along his back – not on the spine – just next to it). This wrap seems to help with an awareness which allows the dog to feel far more relaxed (also useful for thunderstorms – but that’s another chapter).
Sam is wearing a body wrap (a half-wrap, above left, and a full wrap, far right), which has many uses, such as helping an over excited dog to remain calm. Taz is wearing a jacket (above centre), which can help a dog feel calm and relaxed while travelling
Wraps and jackets to the rescue
The wrap is snug but not tight – so that the dog will feel it, but not be restricted by it. T-shirts may also be used and there are many fun ones available commercially.
Many people have found that just putting a wrap like this on their dog has prevented the dog from getting car sick. It is certainly worth a try isn’t it?
Body wraps and jackets as shown above help dogs to be calm and a lot of the sickness in the car – is not just motion sickness – it may be hyper excitement as well.
Bodywork that really helps with nausea and to calm - is ear work. There is a meridian (the triple heater) that runs around the base of the ear – which governs digestion, respiration and reproduction. Working with tiny little raccoon touches (The tips of the fingers in a circle and a quarter) around the base of the ear as well as ear slides (self explanatory) can work wonders to prevent the up-welling of nausea. If you can – do the ear work while in the car (but not if you are driving please), and doing some before and after trips will also help.
Some dogs have been getting sick in the car for so long – that as soon as they get in the car – they start drooling. You may need to work on breaking this association – by letting them into the car and then straight out again – before the drooling can start and then doing something fun. Slowly increase the time in the car – so that eventually they can sit in the car without feeling sick by association.
We hope this will help make your travels much more fun.
Thanks to Sam, Taz and Nola for being models.
Practical travelling tips to ease car sickness