Car Sickness in Dogs

Many dogs, regardless of breed, can experience carsickness on either short or long trips because they are not able to adjust to the shifting movements and varying speed of your vehicle when riding in your car or truck. Sometimes even a smooth ride on a relatively calm auto trip can upset a dog’s delicate digestive system.

Car (or motion) sickness is caused by an over-stimulation of a dog’s inner ear and it can make a dog feel miserable. But did you know that stress can also make a dog carsick because many dogs associate car travel with an embedded memory, like an unpleasant trip to the vet or being left at a kennel overnight or for a longer period of time where they experienced separation anxiety. Also, if a dog is young and has ever been frightened by a noisy truck or car, he may become stressed when experiencing the same situation while traveling in your vehicle.

The most obvious symptom of car or motion sickness is vomiting. Your dog may also pant more rapidly than usual, salivate, or pace nervously by your car before you even load him into it. If your dog exhibits behavior like this before you even start the engine, it’s likely he’s not going to enjoy the ride and there’s a good chance he’ll get carsick.

Most dogs eventually outgrow motion-induced carsickness, but if you find that your pet is still having a particularly hard time traveling in your car, try using a natural supplement such as Calming Soft Chews from DogsHealth.com. These specially formulated chews have high potency natural ingredients that are properly formulated for optimal results. These chews will help your dog relax whether traveling or staying at home. Calming Soft Chews help with separation anxiety, nervousness, and pacing. They are a safer solution than over-the-counter products that can cause drowsiness in your pet.

You can also prepare your dog for traveling by car if you do not give him any food or water just before you leave on a trip. A dog will travel better if you give him just half or a fourth of his usual serving of food before you leave. Make plenty of rest stops if you notice your dog exhibiting any of the signs of car sickness. You may need to stop occasionally and take him on a short walk, or a little longer walk if he seems unusually stressed. This will give him an opportunity to walk off the stress.

If you have found other useful ways to handle car sickness in your dog, please feel free to share that with our other readers. They would appreciate it.

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Separation anxiety in dogs occurs more often than most people realize and is not limited to just a few breeds, sizes, or ages of dogs. Separation anxiety is a dog’s panicked response to being left alone and if not treated and corrected, can eventually result in the deterioration of a dog’s mental and physical health.

Separation anxiety should not be confused with misbehavior. It’s a mistaken belief that when a dog digs up its owner’s garden or pees on the carpet, it’s simply seeking retaliation for having been left home alone. Sometimes the reason for this type of behavior is nothing more than boredom; but before dismissing the dog’s actions as bad behavior, you should consider whether the dog may be in a state of panic because you left the house and it suddenly found itself without the one person it loves the most.

Separation anxiety can also result when a dog suffers a traumatic experience, like a major earthquake or the death of a human or another pet in the same household. In a lot of cases, no single triggering event causes it. Some breeds are just genetically predisposed to separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety almost always includes one or more unacceptable behaviors when the owner is not at home:

* Destructive behaviors, such as chewing pillows or furniture, mutilating plants, or unrelenting door scratching;
* Constant barking, whining, or howling;
* Urinating or defecating in the house;
* Intense, persistent pacing around the room;
* Attempting to “escape” a room or dog crate to the point of self-injury.

Not all unacceptable behavior can be attributed to separation anxiety; in fact, most behaviors cannot. If the owner arrives home to find their dog chewing on a shoe or perhaps the furniture, in all probability the dog simply feels that what it is doing is enjoyable and since no one is home, the time is right for gnawing away uninterrupted.

There are several actions that indicate separation anxiety should be considered a serious matter:

1) The bad behavior occurs every time the owner leaves the house;

2) The bad behavior occurs only when the owner is not around;.

3) The dog visibly displays anxious behaviors before an owner even leaves the house. For example, the dog knows that when you put on a coat it means you’re leaving the house and starts pacing around the room and whining or howling.

Desensitization is a method that’s often used to treat a dog with severe separation anxiety and involves getting a dog accustomed to the owner leaving the house without taking the dog along. You’ll probably need to seek help from a veterinarian or dog trainer if you feel that desensitization would be the best treatment option. Be advised that it usually takes around eight weeks to bring a dog’s separation anxiety under control.

Separation anxiety in a dog has very little to do with the dog’s training or discipline. Its unwelcome behavior results from the severe panic the dog feels when its owner is absent. If the problem is not treated and eliminated, it can cause serious psychological suffering for a dog.

Older Dogs And Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is one of the most common behavior problems seen in older dogs. Although younger dogs often display separation anxiety after their owner leaves the house, an older dog with separation anxiety will become very anxious when it senses its owner is about to leave the house.

When the owner does leave, the dog may become destructive, bark or howl, and possibly even urinate or defecate in the house. An older dog suffering from separation anxiety will often become overly excited when its owner returns home.

Older dogs often have a decreased ability to cope with changes in daily routines. Their vision and/or hearing loss may make them more anxious than normal, especially when they find themselves separated from their owner. Many veterinarians believe that neurological changes also limit an older dog’s ability to adjust to any changes in household routines.

    Treating separation anxiety in an older dog can be handled in several ways:

Don’t make a big deal when you do have to leave home – this only serves to reinforce the behavior.

Determine the length of time you can leave your dog alone before it becomes overly anxious. Start by leaving your home for short periods of time and then gradually increase the time you are gone, always returning before your dog becomes anxious. This may take several departures by you, or possibly as long as a couple weeks, so patience is the key.

Connect leaving the house with something good. When you’re ready to leave, give your dog a small treat. This may take its mind off your leaving. Anxiety can feed on itself, so if you prevent the anxiety from occurring when you leave, your dog may remain calm after you leave.
Make your dog’s environment as cozy as possible during the time you’ll be gone. A comfortable temperature, a soft bed, tuning your TV to Animal Planet, or playing soft, easy-listening music on the radio can have a soothing affect on your dog. Some dogs will be more relaxed if they can see outside, while others may become more anxious if left by a screen door or large window – especially if there happens to be small animals like cats or squirrels cavorting around outside. Only you can discover what’s best for your dog.

Teach your dog to relax. If you can teach your dog to relax by commanding it to “stay” for extended periods while you’re home, learning how to relax while you are gone will become much easier for your dog.

Change your departure signals. Many dogs understand that when the alarm goes off, it means today is a work day and you are going to leave the house. If your dog starts getting anxious as soon as it hears the alarm then it would be wise to introduce some small changes in your workday routine so your dog doesn’t know you’ll be leaving. For instance, pick up the car keys and then go sit on the couch. If it’s a Saturday, try getting up and dressing as if you’re going to work, but stay home. This may confuse your dog at first but should help break its association of the alarm going off with your leaving home.

If you are gone for extended periods during the day, leaving your dog all alone, you might want to have a friend or neighbor come in during the day to let your dog out and give it some exercise. Older dogs often need to go outside more often to urinate and defecate. By letting your dog outside more often, you may decrease its anxiety.

Some older dogs who have been house-trained for years, may start having “accidents” in the house. As with other behavior problems in older dogs, there can be several causes for this change in behavior. Medical conditions like colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, infections of the bladder or prostate, Cushing’s disease, and kidney or liver disease can result in an increased frequency of urination or defecation and could be the cause for these types of “accidents”. Also, degenerative joint diseases like hip dysplasia and arthritis can cause severe pain and make it difficult for the dog to get up and go outside to take care of its bodily functions. Treatment of these degenerative joint diseases with Winston’s Joint System will not only help heal your dog, but also allow it to regain mobility and can resolve any behavioral problems related to these diseases.

If degenerative joint diseases are contributing to the house soiling problem and arthritis or hip dysplasia is the cause, you may want to build a ramp to the outside so your dog won’t have to struggle going up and down stairs. Slick floor surfaces should be covered with non-slip area rugs or other material. If your dog urinates or defecates inside the house, thoroughly clean the area with an enzyme cleaner. And if your dog develops a need to urinate or defecate frequently, you may need to change your daily schedule or else find a friend or pet sitter who can take the dog outside when needed.

Some older dogs will become restless at night and stay awake, pacing through the house, and barking or issuing low, throaty howls. Pain from joint diseases, an increased need to urinate or defecate more often, a loss of vision or hearing, and neurological conditions can contribute to this behavior.

Older dogs need more love and attention than young puppies or young adult dogs. Give your beloved aging companion the love and care it deserves. You will be rewarded with more genuine love than you’ll receive from younger dogs.