Get carsick puppy acclimated to drives

We have an older little terrier cross and a young 3 month old border collie and I have a question about each of them.

The puppy gets very car sick when I drive around with him. Sometimes he drools a lot and sometimes he just vomits.

What can I do to make him stop or will he just outgrow this phase? I don’t drive a fancy car, but it’s still a decent vehicle and the mess is a chore to clean up. Most of all, I want my puppy to feel comfortable while traveling.

Our older dog appeared to be in pain four days ago and has screamed a couple of times. His back also seemed arched and he didn’t want to go up or down the stairs. I had Rimadyl left from an earlier time when he injured his knee so I gave it to him and it seemed to get better after two days. Probably a long shot, but any idea what it could have been or if it’s going to happen again?

Apparently my first answer covers what has already been done for your older dog. There are many different causes for an older dog to have arched backs and apparent pain. Most often, the problem is actually back-related and can result from a partial herniated disc, mass, vascular or bleeding herniation, or simple back strain from jumping or landing incorrectly. I would advise you not to take any medication on your own in the future as you might be covering up something that really needs treatment by a veterinarian. This applies to all pet owners.

In the case of your dog, I think that mass and vascular problems can be eliminated and that he likely had back strain or a disc problem. Thankfully it seems to have been fixed, but should it recur I’d see him and probably get X-rays to look for possible causes. Herniated discs or bony spinal changes may be seen on the x-ray, and proper medication, rest, or even surgery may be required. Occasionally I also see dogs with abdominal pain arching their backs and this can be seen with pancreatitis, foreign body ingestion, masses, intestinal rupture and many other possible causes. These can be accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, or both.

As for the puppy, you need to get him used to driving. Start by driving to the end of the block and back. Gradually increase the distances until your dog is fully used to driving. Many dogs just outgrow motion sickness in the car, and this will happen at some point. After all, you shouldn’t take your dog with you in the car right after you’ve eaten. Good luck.

Dr. John de Jong owns and operates the Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic. He can be reached at 781-899-9994.

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