Have you ever sat in the back seat of a car on a long, winding road, maybe glancing down at your phone to read something, and suddenly, a wave of nausea comes over you? For those who have experienced car sickness, or motion sickness of a different variation, it is not a pleasant time.
And while our dogs may not be riding roller coasters or checking their cell phones in a moving car, motion sickness still affects them. Fortunately, veterinarians have a solution by the name of Dramamine.
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What is Dramamine?
Dramamine, a brand name version of the drug Dimenhydrinate, is an antihistamine medication used to treat nausea, vomiting and dizziness caused by motion sickness. It is used in both humans and small animals such as dogs.
What Causes Motion Sickness in Dogs?
So, we know that car rides and really any sort of travel can cause motion sickness in our dogs. But what is actually happening? Motion sickness is closely tied to your dog’s vestibular system. The vestibular system involves the inner ear and is responsible for sending sensory information to the brain as it relates to motion and balance. When this system is thrown off, say by a turn in the road while traveling in a car, therein enters motion sickness. Other sudden changes in balance or motion can also cause motion sickness, but more often than not, especially with dogs, will occur when traveling in a car.
Motion sickness is more commonly found in puppies and younger dogs. Similar to humans, where motion sickness usually affects children more so than adults. The reason being, young dogs and human children have underdeveloped vestibular systems, making them more vulnerable to the effects of motion sickness.
Common Signs of Motion Sickness in Dogs:
- Excessive Drooling
- Excessive Yawning
Dosing & Administration
Dramamine will normally come in pill or tablet form and can be given with or without food. It will need to be prescribed by your veterinarian. Dramamine will usually take 30-45 mins to take effect, so it is best to administer your dog’s dose prior to their travel or other event. It should not be given more than once in an 8-hour period. Normally, veterinarians follow a dosing structure of about 2-4mg of Dramamine per pound of body weight.
While it is common practice to try and hide your dog’s medication in their food bowl, it can also be helpful to limit food intake before traveling or entering another motion-sickness-prone situation. If your dog will not accept the Dramamine without it being concealed in some way, try hiding it in a small treat that they typically enjoy, rather than including in their meal.
Side Effects of Dramamine in Dogs:
- Trouble Urinating
You may look at these potential side effects and think, “Hmm, ironic that the side effects can include vomiting, which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid”. The good news is these side effects are not very common. If you think your dog is showing negative side effects to Dramamine, or is showing signs of an allergic reaction, contact your veterinarian.
Is Dramamine Right for My Dog?
If your dog struggles with travel, and has shown signs of motion sickness, Dramamine may be a valid option. It is important to address the issue, if not, your dog may start associating motion sickness with things such as riding in the car, making things even more difficult moving forward. With Dramamine, they can get back to sticking their head out the car window and enjoying the wind in their hair!