Achieving Balance and Harmony

DOG CARE

Motion Sickness

Written by Dr. Sherry Weaver

We adopted a rescue, Molly, around 8 months of age, which was in July 2007. She was emaciated, flea-bitten, and had a lampshade cord wrapped very tightly around her neck. She was so weak, she couldn't stand and weighed around 14 lbs. She is now a very happy and healthy dog at about 26 lbs.

I have been working with her to get her used to riding in our car. She shakes so badly and then throws up. I've given her Dramamine, and it doesn't do anything. I took her today to get her nails trimmed (which I haven't learned to do), and she threw up four times in the car. I'm almost 100% sure it's psychological, not car sickness, although we live in the mountains of North Georgia. She's a Jack Russell, maybe Beagle, or some sort of hound. She's a wonderful and very, very smart dog, just can't seem to get her over the car thing. Will it help for the vet to give me some sort of tranquilizer and then ride her around until she realizes nothing bad is going to happen? I'm a real estate agent, and I would love to take her with me sometimes especially when I'm looking at land, etc, but it's not worth it.

Carol Cowan

Dear Carol,

Unfortunately what you are describing still sounds like motion sickness.

Dramamine is not effective for all patients, but be sure that you are not using the non-drowsy dramamine, as it does not work as well. Also, you may want to confirm with your vet that you are using an appropriate dose. Give it to your dog a good 1-2 hours before you get in the car.

If it still is not enough, your vet can prescribe a drug called chlopromazine, which is often effective with more severe motion sickness. Unfortunately, even if you do find a way to control the symptoms, he will always find it challenging to be a riding-around dog partner, because all these drugs will sedate.

Dr. Weaver

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