Many dogs enjoy riding in the car. However, motion sickness is a common problem in puppies. If your Labradoodle puppy drools excessively or vomits in the car, you may be dealing with motion sickness. Fortunately, there are ways to treat motion sickness in puppies, so you and your dog can have fun traveling year-round.
Why puppies experience motion sickness
Puppies are more likely to have problems with motion sickness because the ear structures used for balance are not fully developed. The balance system matures when puppies are approximately 1 year old. At that time, some dogs will outgrow the condition.
However, that isn’t always the case. Puppies who have several bad experiences with motion sickness may associate traveling with illness. These puppies will often continue to experience motion sickness symptoms due to stress and anxiety. That’s why it’s important to begin treating motion sickness as soon as possible.
Preparing for a car ride with your puppy
Feed your puppy at least 2 hours before riding in the car to reduce nausea and vomiting. Cover the car seat and floor with old towels or sheets that can be thrown in the washing machine. It’s also a good idea to bring extra towels, plastic bags, and odor neutralizer for easy cleanup.
Letting your puppy see out the front windshield can reduce nauseating signals. For best results, place your puppy in a forward-facing position using a specialized car harness. If your puppy is small, you may wish to use a booster seat. You can also crack the car windows to equalize the air pressure and give your puppy fresh air.
Conditioning your puppy to enjoy car rides
If your puppy is already afraid of the car, you can improve the situation with training. Begin by approaching the car with your puppy without getting in. When your puppy is showing less anxiety, you can start sitting in the car with the engine off. Once your puppy is comfortable, you can turn the car on.
The next step is to take your puppy on short car rides. Start by just going around the block and work your way up to short trips to fun locations. If possible, avoid taking your puppy to unpleasant places during this period, as you work your way up to longer car rides.
Using medications to treat motion sickness
You can use prescription or over-the-counter medications to combat motion sickness symptoms. Your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-nausea medication that can prevent vomiting.
Antihistamines, including Benadryl, Dramamine, and Bonine, can reduce drooling, prevent vomiting, and provide sedation. While these medications can be purchased at your local drug store, you should always check with your veterinarian to determine the proper dosage for your Labradoodle puppy.
Never give up on your puppy
The only way to prevent and treat motion sickness is to face the problem head-on. Motion sickness can be cured with patience and persistence. Eventually, your Labradoodle puppy can learn to enjoy car rides. You will be happy that you made the effort when it’s time to travel for holidays and special occasions.