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  • Jo De Klerk

    My Labrador hates travelling in the car. She drools and shakes. Can I give her anything to make her travel better?

    Question from Brian.

    You’re not alone Brian. So many people have this exact problem with their dogs. It’s every so common. There are usually two reasons why this may happen; anxiety or nausea. Or sometimes anxiety from the idea of becoming nauseous. It may be a process of elimination to figure out which.

    In answer to your question, yes there are medications that you can give your dog prior to travel to help the situation. Your vet can prescribe one of three types of medications:

    1. Sedatives – These are usually only used in extreme cases of anxiety. The most common type of sedative to be given is a benzodiazepine, such as Valium. The reason for this is that it will calm your dog as well as allow him to forget the stressful event afterwards.
    2. Calmers – For some dogs, these work exceedingly well, without causing side effects such as drowsiness. For other dogs, they don’t work at all. But they are significantly safer than sedatives, and therefore they are the best thing to try first. Some calmers contain L-Tryptophan, which build up levels of serotonin in the brain, and helps your dog feel happy. Other calmers contain dog appeasing pheromone (DAP), which will make your dog feel comforted like a puppy.
    3. Anti-nausea medication – These are tablets which can be given an hour before travel, and are extremely effective if there is no anxiety element. You may wish to try these in combination with a calmer.

    There are also other non-medicated options, such as putting your dog in a Thunder Jacket® which will help him feel secure, or providing him with a long-lasting chew toy such as a Kong® as the chewing action releases endorphins which will help him to relax. Finally, if you think that nausea plays a role, travelling on an empty stomach will help with any motion sickness.

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    Jo De Klerk

    Jo is a graduate of the Royal Veterinary College, London. She has a Masters degree in Tropical Animal Health, and has spent most of her career working in mixed veterinary practice.

    Recently, she has become involved in one of the UK’s fastest growing veterinary telemedicine services for dogs and cats.

    She is a published author of several books, and enjoys working as a freelance veterinary writer around her clinical work.

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