Have you ever traveled with your pooch and noticed something strange about him? You probably might have thought he was not just comfortable with the ride. But what if other things happened, like him starting to vomit even if he had not eaten anything or drooling too much?
Your pet might be experiencing motion sickness, which is quite common in young dogs as it is in human children. Yes, canines can experience motion sickness the same way us, humans, do. In the event of this happening, you could give your pooch a human drug.
One of the dog-friendly human meds is Dramamine. If you haven’t used it before, it’s good to know a few more information about it, in case you or your dog experience motion sickness symptoms in the future.
Dramamine: Uses and Effectiveness
Dramamine is an antihistamine used for preventing the subjective symptoms of motion sickness. These symptoms include vomiting, nausea, and dizziness.
Dimenhydrinate, the primary ingredient of Dramamine, is also used in many allergy products. The drug helps prevent drowsiness because of its 8-Chlorotheophylline content.
Aside from treating motion sickness, there are other uses of Dramamine. It is sometimes used in treating vertigo in humans and anxiety in dogs.
However, avoid giving your pet Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals. It contains 500 mg or full clinical dose of ginger. While ginger actually helps in relieving car sickness, too much of it could only make the dog even more ill.
The medication works best when administered 30 minutes to an hour before a car ride. If you find it challenging to give your dog a pill, you could try mixing it in with his food.
If mixing the pill with his food also fails, try Dr. Sophia Yin’s One Two Three Game. The late veterinarian’s approach to administering oral medications combines two processes: desensitization and classical counter-conditioning.
In counterconditioning, dogs were trained to associate things with something they like including play, food, and treats. By desensitization, you could present an aversive stimulus at a level that your pooch hardly notices.
With the One Two Three Game, you could start by giving him a treat first before you try giving him the pill in a way he would not notice.
Causes of Motion Sickness in Dogs
There are a few things that cause motion sickness in canines. One is their age. Motion sickness is more frequent in puppies than in senior dogs. This is due to the fact that the ear structures necessary for balance are not yet fully mature.
There is no specific breed that experiences this condition, it can happen to all dog breeds.
Long travels can cause motion sickness in them. Your dog’s first travel could make him nauseous. Try going on short rides until he gets used to traveling.
Another factor is stress. Despite having their ears fully developed, they could still go through motion sickness because of stress. Your dog might associate the car ride with stress if you only travel with him to vet trips. You can try taking him by car to a dog park or to places he likes.
Dealing with Motion Sickness in Canines
You can get creative and apply a few tricks before considering any medication. Take note of these when you are out with your pooch, especially during a long travel:
1.Make dog feel comfortable inside the car. One of the things pet owners usually do is make the dog feel at ease during travels. Give your puppy a relaxing resting place, such as a crate designed for them. Spend a week or two getting the pet accustomed to your car before the long travel.
2.Consider giving dog treats. There are dog owners who give tthem treats in the car. While this trick could work in some puppies, most pups would only puke more. Try doing it once to see if it will work on your own pet.
3.Bring along your pup’s favorite items. Dogs are creatures of habit. One of the ways to make him feel comfortable is to bring along something that he associates with fun and excitement. You could even buy him a toy that he could only enjoy once he is in the car or pack up things that would remind him of home so he doesn’t feel estranged, like his blanket.
4.Take your dog to a place he would enjoy. They may associate car rides with anxiety and motion sickness if they only travel when going to the vet or when they need some grooming. Go somewhere new or in a place you know your dog would surely love. An example is a park where you two could spend an hour playing fetch. Take advantage of apps showing the dog parks near you.
5.Play a calming music. It is one of the effective tricks in helping your dog relax while in the car. There are a few music apps specially designed to soothe them. You could even try playing classical music because it is now being used to calm them.
When all else fails, it is time to administer Dramamine. Remember to do it at the appropriate time and dosage to benefit from its full efficacy. It would also help to limit the dog’s food and water intake before a ride.
Is Dramamine safe for dogs?
Yes, Dramamine is a safe and quick solution for motion sickness in canines. Still, a vet’s consent is important when giving this medicine to a dog. There are various formulations of Dramamine and it is best to ask your vet if you are unsure which one to use. Furthermore, the medicine is available as tablets, chewables, and liquid and the best thing is to consult your vet if you haven’t given this medication to your dog before.
Do not administer Dramamine to a pregnant or nursing dog. Although the medication is not really harmful to puppies, they could still ingest it while being nursed.
What Are the Side Effects of Dramamine in Dogs?
The side effects of this drug for canines are quite similar to the ones for humans. Here are the most common things that could happen after administering the medication to dog:
- Lethargy – it is normal for your dog to lack energy after taking the medication. The drug is somehow helpful in calming a carsick doggie. Will Dramamine make your dog sleepy? Yes, because the most common effect of Dramamine is sedation.
- Dryness of the mouth – this side effect also occurs in humans. Your dog could also have a dry throat after taking it.
- Retention of urine – this one is one of the unlikely side effects of a Dimenhydrinate with only a few cases of urine retention being noted in humans. Your dog may or may not experience this.
Dramamine Dose for Dogs
How much Dramamine can you give your dog and how often should you administer it? This actually depends on his current weight.
The recommended Dramamine dosage for dogs is 2 mg for every pound of their body weight. Supposing your dog weighs around 30 pounds, he could take 60 milligrams of the drug every 8 hours.
Be careful not to go overboard with this medication. Vets recommend that you should not give the drug thrice a day. As with any medication, it is crucial that you are extra careful in administering to your dog.
Dimenhydrinate overdose can be a life-threatening issue. The active ingredient in Dramamine may cause seizures and hypoventilation in dogs. The worst thing to happen would be for your pet to go comatose because of excessive use of Dramamine.
In the event that your dog ingested too much of the medicine, call an animal poison control center. They might advise you to do induce vomiting at home if the tablets were only recently ingested. You can induce vomiting by administering a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. You can also get help from your veterinarian if you are unsure what to do.
Tips on Giving a Pill to Your Dog
Dogs have an amazing sense of smell and they can tell if you are about to give them a pill or if you mix it in their food. Because of this, your pet could end up being uncooperative and you will find it extra challenging to give him a medication. To make the procedure a less tedious task, keep these things in mind:
- Immediately follow the pill with water to make sure it doesn’t get stuck and cause esophagitis.
- Stroke the dog’s throat downwards to make the swallowing easier for him.
- Don’t tilt your pet’s nose up at a sharp angle. This would only prevent him from swallowing the pill.
- Powder the pill and mix it with his favorite food. This way, he will be distracted enough by the smell of the food to even detect the pill. Finely grind the tablet using a mortar and pestle, then add it to his most-loved treat, like peanut butter for example.
- Try the “meatball method”. Just like how you would do a meatball, put the pill inside a soft treat or a moist dog food.
Can I give my dog Dramamine for anxiety?
If your dog hates traveling, he may be anxious the entire ride. Anxiety is very common with dogs experiencing motion sickness. However, you should not give the drug for only treating anxiety. Supposing your pet is showing symptoms of anxiety unrelated to motion sickness, it’s best to consult a doctor about it.
VCA Hospital’s Dr. Ernest Ward, DVM, warned that anti-nausea medications including Dramamine could only help with motion sickness and not anxiety.
There are other meds that can help with this issues. The most common ones are Clomipramine, Fluoxetine, and Benzodiazepine. These drugs should not be given to dogs without a vet’s go ahead. Benzodiazepine, for instance, is a powerful sedative that can only be acquired with prescription.
Treating anxiety in dogs should not always involve medication. You can try giving your pooch calming herbs to ease his anxiety. The best natural remedies for this condition in canines are Bach flower, passionflower, and kava.
A canine’s anxiety is not very far from human’s anxiety. Dogs can start being anxious because of fears and phobias, just like us. It would be helpful to know the source of anxiety before starting with a treatment.
If your pet is anxious, you could ask your vet about a Dog Appeasing Pheromone, a synthetic chemical that was derived from hormones from nursing bitches. This is the same hormone mother dogs create to help their furry babies feel secure.
Dramamine is a safe and effective medication for motion sickness in dogs. Although it is an over-the-counter medication, you should at least let your vet know that you are giving it to your dog.
Administer the drug based on the recommended dosage. Dramamine overdose can be bad for dogs and could even cause life-threatening issues.
Dr. Dawn Ruben noted that the Food and Drug Administration has not approved Dramamine as an animal drug. Still, it is worth noting that veterinarians legally label it as an extra-label medication. Extra-label drugs are those medicines not designed for pets but allowed by vets when the animal’s health is threatened.
More important than giving your pup vet-approved meds is to teach him to love car rides. Make the car a comfortable space for your pet or offer him treats. Give your pooch about a week to adjust, especially if this is the first time he travels.