Many dogs are prone to car sickness. It’s hard to take them anywhere with dealing with them tossing up in the back seat. You have to clean the car, deal with the drool all over the upholstery and the windows and it just isn’t fun. It is terrifying for some dogs and other dogs just get so overly stimulated that they can’t handle it and get sick. Some dogs suffer from true motion sickness and will actually enjoy the ride but still throw up.
What can you do?
How Dramamine Works and Why Dogs Get Motion Sickness
Dramamine helps to limit the symptoms of motion sickness, which can include nausea and vomiting. It works by inhibiting the workings of the vestibular system. This is the body system in the ears which controls balance. It gets completely out of balance when riding in a car for some dogs. By blocking the vestibular system, Dramamine helps to stop the overstimulation of the system while riding in the car. This lessens nausea and vomiting, sometimes completely eliminating them.
Dogs and humans are both sensitive to having their vestibular system overstimulated but dogs actually get motion sickness less frequently than people do.
Dramamine is not FDA approved for use in dogs and cats but many veterinarians have been recommending for years. It’s less powerful and overwhelming than Benadryl though it has similar effects on the animals. They’ll be relaxed and have less anxiety.
Therefore, Dramamine is sometimes recommended for animals with anxiety as well. It can also be used for nausea in general, not just that associated with motion sickness. It works very well at reducing nausea in humans and in animals. The pills are very tiny too. It’s easy to hide them in a treat.
If you are using a Dramamine from the pet store, use 2 to 4 mg per pound of body weight. You should give a dose at least 30 minutes prior to travel if this is the reason for administering it.
If you have any questions about the dosage, ask your veterinarian.
**This is important**
DO NOT USE NON-DROWSY DRAMAMINE – this has additives that are not safe for animals.
Dogs can overdose on Dramamine. If you suspect that your dog has been given too much, seek medical help immediately. It is typically not fatal if treated right away. Overdoses can cause urinary retention, rapid heart rate, and breathing. Dogs can also hallucinate from overdosing on Dramamine. Dogs may become lethargic, have seizures, and even fall into a coma. Be very careful when giving them any medications to make sure that that they are not exhibiting any symptoms of an overdose and closely follow the directions.
When NOT to Give Dramamine
If your dog has any of the following conditions, it is not safe for them to take Dramamine.
- High blood pressure
- Seizure conditions
- Gastrointestinal issues – see your veterinarian
- Prostate issues
This is a general list. You should always consult your veterinarian when you are giving your dog any medication from over-the-counter. You must always ensure the product is safe for your dog and that your dog is healthy enough to take these products.
Giving them Dramamine is very easy. The pills are small and easy enough to hide in a mouth full of peanut butter or in a pill pocket. Most dogs don’t notice the pills as they are small and not noticed in something that tastes good. Being easy to get them to take is a big plus compared to other medications that are bigger pills. Benadryl is quite a bit larger, for example.
If you have a dog that simply refuses to take anything that is ‘suspicious’ then you may need to purchase a pill popper device that allows you to push the pill to the back of the throat and pop it out as far back as possible, encouraging them to swallow.
You may also wish to try other alternatives to motion sickness that you consider more natural.
CBD Oil for Motion Sickness in Dogs
CBD oil works naturally with the Endocannabinoid system in the body to help ease stomach upset and nausea, as well as a host of other issues. It has a calming effect because of the way it works to relax the body and ease anxiety and stress. The overall effect is perfect for animals who are struggling with an upset stomach due to the stress of travel.
CBD bind with the CB2 receptors in the Endocannabinoid System where lipids are formed. This fat molecule travels the neural network in the body, repairing cells, coating the nerve tissue with an armor coating and it helps in blocking anxiety and stress signals from reaching the brain.
CBD doesn’t cause any side effects unless too much is taken and a mild case of diarrhea may develop. This will cease as soon as the CBD it also stopped. A dose will peak in approximately 2 hours but begins working within minutes for most animals.
Most dogs do well with a quarter of a dropper or less of the oil. More severe cases may need a bit more. You cannot overdose them to the point of harm. Don’t worry. CBD oil works naturally and there is no THC in it, which is the cannabinoid responsible for causing the high in marijuana. You cannot get high from using CBD oil and your dog will not either.
CBD works for many issues that are common with dogs and you should consider have a small 30mL bottle of CBD oil for your dog on hand. Pain, stress, anxiety, use as an antiseptic, boosting the immune system and more. CBD has many uses and the best part about it is that you don’t have to worry about seizures or hospitalization as a result of using it.
CBD can have a sedative effect on your dog but it will not cause coma or deep sedation. You can relax if your dog falls asleep, he is simply asleep and nothing worse. CBD won’t cause breathing difficulty or changes in heart rate (although it may slow if the animal was stressed with anxiety before taking the CBD).
CBD for pets is exactly the same as for humans. Typically the mg of the bottle is less for dogs so they aren’t getting as much at one time. They are smaller than we are and should be given less accordingly. A good mg to start with for your dog is a 250mg bottle. This should be enough that you can gradually increase to a whole dropper at one time if you wanted and they would still be getting a relatively low dose.
You Have Choices
You have choices and you should consider them carefully when it comes to treating your dog. Use the product you feel most comfortable with. Do not use medical marijuana as THC is toxic for dogs. Even if you have a prescription and can legally possess it in your state, it isn’t safe for your dog to ingest THC and can cause death via THC Toxicity.
CBD has the THC removed and while there may be traces of THC in the product, it must be less than .03% THC. This is barely a trace. WIth use only as necessary, this should not hurt your dog. If you are going to use it daily as a supplement, make sure you are getting a product for dogs that is THC free.
If you choose Dramamine, take care to give on the correct, approved dose. Watch your dog closely for any signs of allergy to the medication. Remember to give either product far enough in advance before traveling that the product has time to begin working. Dramamine can take up to 30 minutes and CBD takes roughly 15 minutes to begin working.
Both products are considered safe to use. Only one of them has potentially serious side-effects. Some people still prefer using what has been tried and true for many years. Other people prefer using the plant-based product, with no harmful side-effects.
There really is not a right or wrong choice. It is your choice and your comfort level. If your dog is not one that can use Dramamine, now you know that you have an alternative from Benadryl. Benadryl can also help with nausea due to anxiety and has a sedative effect on most dogs that can knock them out, sound asleep, for a long drive. Some people prefer this. Again, it is up to you and your comfort level, as well as how your dog tolerates the drug.
Laura Barnes is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.