While I am thankful my current rescue dog Cleo does not get car sick – I have horrible memories of my Riley, who passed away, getting so sick that she just despised car rides all together. For quite a while we just limited car rides until we learned from our vet that Dramamine for dogs was an option.
Not sure why I had not asked this earlier – it just came up in a conversation when I noted she threw up on the way to the vet.
But, this was a magical moment for us.
Here are some things I learned that day that helped me better deal with Riley so she could enjoy more of what this amazing world had to offer!
Signs of Car or Motion Sickness in Dogs
First it is important to understand that signs of motion or car sickness. If your dogs is showing some of the following signs then signs are good that your doggie has motion issues!
- Dry Heaving
- Excessive Panting
What Is Dramamine?
Dramamine is an antihistamine that helps limit symptoms of motion sickness. The active ingredient is dimenhydrinate which helps prevent nausea, vomiting and dizziness caused by motion sickness.
Dramamine is available over the counter in most supermarkets and pharmacies – as well as online.
What Are Side Effects of Dramamine For A Dog
Just like any drug – there can be side effects. Of course every dog will also react differently to any drug that is taken, so while one dog may have no side effects – another may be very impacted. If you are going to give your dog Dramamine it is important to keep on eye on them to ensure there is no major side effects.
It is very important to talk to your veterinarian BEFORE giving your dog Dramamine. They will need to assess any medications your dog may currently be on as well as their current health. Dramamine can have interactions with other drugs and if your dog has a preexisting medical condition, the drug may have an impact on that as well – so please make sure you talk to your vet before giving this to your dog!
Common Side Effects
Once you do give your dog Dramamine there are some things you should definitely keep an eye out for! We highly recommend you give your dog Dramamine before any big trips you may be planning so you can ensure they do not have any adverse reactions to it.
- Dry Mouth
- Lack of urinating
These should only last a minimal time period – if you notice it going on to long then consult with your vet!
If your dog has any of the below reactions we highly recommend you contact your veterinarian as soon as possible as these are more rare, but more severe side effects.
- Loss of appetite
Types of Dramamine
There are basically 2 types of Dramamine that you should be aware of.
Regular Dramamine uses Dimenhydrinate as its active ingredient.
This version includes an ingredient called Meclizine Hydrochloride as the active ingredient which will have a less sedating effect on people and pets.
Your dog can have either version – but the dosage would vary for each.
What Dramamine Dosage Is Correct For My Dog?
While we recommend you ask your veterinarian for the proper dosage based on your dogs breed, weight and current medical status, we are providing a guide below to help you determine the correct dose of Dramamine for your dog.
The amount your dog should have also depends on the type of Dramamine you choose.
Regular Dramamine Dosage For Dogs
2-4 milligrams per pound. So a 50 pound dog could have between 100 and 200 milligrams. It is recommended to wait at least 8 hours between doses with a limit of 3 doses per day.
Non Drowsy Dramamine For Dogs Dosage
The non-drowsy version is recommended at 25mg once per day.
Can My Dog Overdose On Dramamine?
Which is why it is soooo important you either use the guide above to determine an appropriate dosage or talk to your veterinarian.
If your dog seems to have issues that are more severe than the side effects noted above you will definitely want to contact a veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.
If you notice your dog having seizures, hyperventilating or seems comatose, please take action immediately.
When Should I Give Dramamine To My Dog?
It is recommended that you give your dog Dramamine approximately 30 minutes before leaving for your car ride.
How Long Will The Dramamine Work For?
This will ultimately depend on your dog, but a general guide is that Dramamine will be effective for 3-6 hours on average.
What If Dramamine Does Not Work?
In some cases you may find your dog does not really have any improvement after taking Dramamine. You will first want to make sure you are giving them the proper dose – so we would definitely recommend a call to the vet.
If you are in fact using a proper dose, you veterinarian may prescribe a drug called Chlopromazine which is a stronger drug for more sever motion sickness. The downside to this drug is the “sedation” that is common with it.
There is also Cerenia which is a prescribed medicine specifically for motion sickness and vomiting.
Another option that is vet prescribed in rare cases is Alprazolam which is like Xanax and is prescribed to help alleviate anxiety in your dog.
Other Ways To Make Car Rides More Enjoyable For Dogs
While Dramamine may be a great option – there are also other things you can do to get your dog acclimated to car rides and help them be less stressed and enjoy it a bit more. If you know your dog is not a huge car lover, below are some additional tips for a more enjoyable ride.
- If you are going on a planned trip, limit food for about 12 hours before your trip. This will help reduce their level of nausea and limit throwing up.
- Use a dog car carrier for smaller dogs and seatbelts/harnesses for larger dogs. This will keep them feeling safer which will reduce their stress levels. If they are slipping and sliding around this will cause them more stress and stir up more feelings of sickness than they need to have. Some states actually have laws for securing pets in cars, so be sure to check each state you may be traveling to.
- Bring extra toys and chewy’s for the trip! Sometimes their favorite thing may help keep their mind off the car ride and let them focus elsewhere.