Does your pet suffer from motion sickness? Though cats can get nauseous in car, train and plane rides, dogs are far more likely to grace your upholstery with their stomach contents. Lest your vehicle’s interior start to remind you of a frat house on a Sunday morning, here’s some recent research that may help you out as you plan your next summer outing:


It’s a study of some 190-odd dogs prone to motion sickness in cars. In the first trial, one group received a pill two hours before their car ride––the others, ten hours prior. The trip ran for one hour...or until the dog vomited (no mention of whether winding roads were involved). In the second trial (weeks later), all dogs received placebos.


Dogs administered the pill two hours before the ride experienced an 86.1% reduction in the occurrence of vomiting compared to the placebo. The ones who received it ten hours before vomited 76.5% less. 


Pretty good. So what’s this magic pill? It’s called maropitant and it’s marketed for dogs as “Cerenia.” It affects the brain’s response to motion and it works super-well for my in-hospital pukers (I use it as an injectable). Now it looks like you’ll be stocking up before your next road trip. One dose a day should do you, based on this research.


But I have a couple more tips up my sleeve, too: 


One involves feeding your dog (or cat) no less than four hours before the ride. Sure, that’s not always so doable, but it’s a help (and aids in cleanup, anyway). 


I also recommend that you accustom your pet to the car’s motion with frequent no-trip car rides. Short jaunts are great at the start. Work her up to the longer rides over time. Once a day is best for this kind of “training,” but you’ll need to pick low-traffc roads so that at the first sign of nausea (salivating, lick-licking, heaving) you’ll be able to spare your seats all that cleanup when you stop by the side of the road for a quick out-the-door puke (if you’re lucky). 


Still, you might want to get on the phone and ask your vet about those miracle pills. After all, car rides are best with pets in tow. And a pet’s motion sickness shouldn’t keep you from enjoying the best kind of all-American fun there is to be had. 



Dr. Patty Khuly