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Pet Travel Sickness

What is travel sickness?
Travel sickness; or motion sickness, is an unpleasant, temporary disturbance of the body’s natural balance and equilibrium that occurs while travelling by sea, road or air. In the dog it is characterised by dizziness, salivation, restlessness and vomiting.

What causes travel sickness?
Travel sickness is caused by movement; the strong, repetitive movements that are usually produced by a car or boat.
The body's sense of balance and equilibrium are maintained by three elements:
1. The inner ear, which contains fluid-filled canals (the semi-circular canals) that react to strong repetitive movements
2. The eyes, which tell the brain where the body is in space; they confirm the direction of motion
3. There are a whole group of sensitive receptors on skin, joints and muscles, which tell the brain which parts of the body are moving

Why do symptoms develop?
The signs of travel sickness occur when the brain receives conflicting signals from these three systems. For example, the dog that is sitting quietly on the back seat of the car may only see the person beside it or the chair in front yet its inner ear and skin receptors sense that it is moving.
It is not known why some people and animals are more affected by travel sickness than others. It affects both sexes and all ages in equal numbers.

What are the symptoms and complications of travel sickness?
Travel sickness is usually just a minor annoyance and does not signify any serious medical illness, but some animals people can be markedly and temporarily disturbed by it. Symptoms of travel sickness include:
• loss of appetite
• nausea and vomiting
• dizziness
• cold sweats
• excess saliva production
• yawning
• rapid shallow breathing
These symptoms usually begin soon after transport begins and worsen as the journey continues.
There are very few complications associated with travel sickness although they can include dehydration following excessive vomiting and injuries following falls or unsteadiness. For many the greatest complications are the fact that transporting badly affected individuals makes the journey unpleasant for their fellow passengers.

What is the treatment for travel sickness?
Puppies should begin the adjustment processed at an early stage.
1. Allow them to spend short periods in the stationary car, preferably ensuring the experience is a fun thing.
2. Continue the process by playing in the vehicle with the engine switched on and gradually closing doors and windows.
3. Begin with five minute journeys and gradually extend these as the dogs reactions are monitored.
4. Do not allow food or water for two hours before the journey begins.
5. If possible the seating may be elevated to allow the animal to look out of the window.
6. Open a window whenever possible to get some fresh air.
7. Avoid strong odours and smoking.

Dosing required?
Treat three times daily for ten days, irrespective of travel or not, as indicated by the weight chart on the product insert. After the fifth day begin the desensitisation process from stage five above.
In the future always give a booster treatment four hours and one hour before the journey commences.

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