MY DOG GETS SICK ANYTIME WE TRAVEL, WHAT IS THE CAUSE?
What your dog is experiencing is what is referred to as motion sickness. Motion sickness is an uneasiness or illness associated with movement or travel by land, air, or sea.
WHY WILL DOGS AND CATS GET SICK WHEN THEY TRAVEL?
There is an organ in the inner ear of dogs and cats as well as most mammals called the vestibule which is responsible for detecting the position of the body of your dog or cat in space. this is what will help your pet to know whether the head is turned upside down or the head is tilted at an angle of forty-five degrees. During travel either by land, sea, or air, if at any time the body is not able to detect its position during the travel, the biological systems of the dog or cat become confused which results in uneasiness and motion sickness.
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WHAT WILL CAUSE MY DOG NOT TO DETECT ITS POSITION IN SPACE TO RESULT IN MOTION SICKNESS?
Motion sickness is caused by abnormal functioning of the vestibular system of the inner ear. These are some causes of motion sickness resulting from abnormal functioning of the vestibular system:
- The poorly developed vestibular system is common in puppies and kittens. This explains why motion sickness is common in puppies.
- Disease in the inner ear affecting the vestibules can result in motion sickness.
- Going through some form of motion that the body is not used to or new to the vestibular system can result in motion sickness, For example driving in a car at a high speed that the vestibular system of the dog is not used to. braking suddenly after speeding can also elicit motion sickness according to Newton’s first law of motion.
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WHY DO DOGS AND CATS VOMIT WHEN TRAVELING?
The vestibular system of dogs and cats is connected to the vomiting center of the brain stem. when there is abnormal functioning of the vestibular system signals are sent to the vomiting center of the brain which also results in the initiation of the vomit response.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON SIGNS OF MOTION SICKNESS?
Motion sickness is associated with uneasiness, vomiting, yawning, drooling or hypersalivation, and diarrhea in some cases.
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HOW DO I KNOW IF MY DOG OR CAT IS GETTING MOTION SICKNESS?
Motion sickness often begins with uneasiness followed by yawning or drooling before vomiting will be observed. The following may be observed as well;
- drooling or hypersalivation
- licking lips
HOW LONG DOES MOTION SICKNESS LAST?
Motion sickness usually ceases when the body is able to find balance in space or when the vestibular system begins to function normally, this often happens when the motion stops.
5 THINGS TO DO TO AVOID MOTION SICKNESS WITHOUT GOING FOR A PRESCRIPTION
Would you still consider going for a prescription if there are simple steps you can follow to avoid motion sickness based on the understanding of the subject? Follow these steps and you will thank me later!
- Feed your dog or cat 3-4 hours before the start of the journey; this gives your dog the chance to digest the food and possibly pass some feces before the start of the journey. Also, peristaltic movement is high during digestion so you don’t want to increase the risk of getting motion sickness with the high peristaltic movement of the GIT.
- Condition your pet before the travel: just before you enter the car to begin your journey, you can give your dog a 5-minute walk and another 5 minutes of running. This will prepare the mind of the dog that we are going to run or be in motion.
- Get a second person who can engage the dog while you drive. It will be easier if you are not driving so you can get the chance to engage your pet and ensure that your pet is assuming the recommended position.
- Position your dog to face the rear of your car or vehicle. Never let your dog face the same direction as the driver rather it should be opposite the direction the driver is facing. This position is advantageous because while the car is in motion, the movement of the stomach content will be in the same direction as the peristaltic movement or movement of the intestines. Normally, when a dog eats the direction of movement is from the mouth through the stomach and intestines to the anus, if your dog is not properly positioned and the dog faces the same direction as the driver, the movement of the intestines will be against the direction of movement of the car. when this happens as the car speeds the momentum of the stomach content increase and move in the direction of the car thereby causing nausea, vomiting, and or discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract. This has been tried and tested and has proven to produce prevent motion sickness.
- Make sure your dog can see its environment while you travel. Coordination between the eyes and vestibules helps the dog or cat to appreciate its position in space. Once your pet is able to balance itself while it travels, the risk of motion sickness is reduced.
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Motion sickness is preventable if the above-detailed steps are followed. I hope this article was able to help you to avoid motion sickness in your dog or cat without using medications.