I think that it’s safe to say that we love our dogs. For some of us they are trusted companions, for others our surrogate children.
That love for them comes with a desire to make sure they are happy and healthy as much as possible, and that may also include giving them medicine when needed.
But, just like in humans, medicine can have side effects, some worse than others.
What is Cerenia?
This brings us to Cerenia, an FDA-approved medication to help dogs with motion sickness, often induced from riding in cars.
Cerenia treats the symptoms of nausea and vomiting and is typically prescribed by your veterinarian.
There are two methods for taking Cerenia, by tablet or injection.
Now, if you were to do a Google search for Cerenia, you would find a lot of advertisements about Cerenia.
But if you go a little further and Google Cerenia reviews, you might be quite shocked to find a lot of horror stories about Cerenia as well.
Sadly, Cerenia has been attached to dog’s deaths, and if you need more information about that, you can check out this article here.
Now, this article is not trying to state that Cerenia is bad, but instead, offer other options that, as the parent of a four legged ball of love, you might want to explore instead.
Eight Alternatives to Cerenia
One of the biggest things people don’t like about Cerenia is that it is a synthetic medicine.
An organic alternative to this would be using CBD oil.
Often when dogs feel motion sickness their stomachs will become inflamed, which causes nausea and vomiting.
While CBD oil doesn’t address the feelings of motion sickness directly, it does help with inflammation.
Treating the inflammation will help reduce feelings of nausea as well as the chances that our pups spill their lunch.
CBD oil is not without its own side effects which may include dry mouth, lethargy, dizziness, itchiness and low blood pressure.
Before we get too deep into the weeds on this one, it is important to note that Benadryl is a synthetic medicine that is designed for humans.
It is highly recommended that you consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any medicine that was designed for humans, even if it’s dog safe.
That being said, Benadryl, especially children’s Benadryl can help treat many of the symptoms that our dog might experience when driving in the car.
Benadryl can help reduce the amount of acid in stomachs, reduce inflammation and reduce feelings of nausea as well. Some people have found that Benadryl is a happy medium between the organic CBD oil, and the stronger, often viewed as more harsh Cerenia.
Like Cerenia and CBD oil, Benadryl also has side effects, which can include drowsiness, dry mouth, hypersalivation, rapid breathing and urinary retention.
Many times dogs may not actually be experiencing motion sickness, but actually stress. The movement of the car can cause stress for them, which can increase acid production in the stomach and inflammation that can cause them to become nauseous and sick. Some have found that taking shorter drives around town can help get your dog more comfortable with the motion of the car, and reduce the amount of stress that they feel. Having them feel comfortable and relaxed during those drives can go a long way towards keeping those bellies from getting upset.
Another great way to attack that inflammation that rears its ugly head from motion sickness is with ginger root. Ginger root is packed with antioxidants that contain anti-inflammatory properties as well as help with bloating, increase blood circulation and improve your dog’s heart health. Ginger can also help soothe feelings of nausea and if your dog is like mine, help cut back the number of farts they rip in the car. That being said, you have to be very careful when giving your dog ginger, as it is very potent, just like it is for humans. When you get the ginger root you are going to want to make sure that you peel or cut the entire skin off of it, before mincing the yellow part of the root. You would then mix the ginger root into your dog’s food three times a day. It is very important to make sure that you do not give them too much ginger, take a look at the chart below for a good idea of how much to give your dog. Like everything else, it’s often a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about how much you should be feeding your dog each day.
|10lbs or Less||¼ tsp of ginger 3 times a day|
|10-35lbs||½ tsp of ginger 3 times a day|
|35+ lbs||¾ tsp of ginger a day|
Reduce Food Intake
When you know that you’re going to be taking a long drive, it might be a good idea to plan your dog’s meals ahead. When our dogs’ bellies are full and they start to feel stressed or get inflammation it can cause them to feel the need to empty their stomachs because they are full. If we plan ahead and feed them a few smaller meals, we can leave more room in their bellies for when they may experience these symptoms. It is important to make sure that we don’t deprive our pups of the nutrients they need just for the trip though. A method that has been tried is to reduce the amount of food in each meal, but to plan for more meals. This may include pulling over during the trip, maybe during a bathroom break and a quick meal
Just like humans, certain scents can trigger feelings of calm in our dogs. Lavender is a great scent that is known to trigger those feelings of calmness. Another option would be to try to identify something in the house that generates a smell. For me personally, I use plugins in my house, and when taking a trip, the night before I will put the same plugin into my car to make it smell like home in my car. This can remind your dog that they are in a safe place, like their home, and help reduce their stress during the trip.
Some people find comfort in a blanket that they grew up with, or a stuffed animal that was given to them when they were young. Dogs are often the same way, with a preferred toy or blanket or whatever their preference is. Packing that comforting item in the car with them can go a long way for them to try to remain calm during the drive. Being able to curl up with their blankie, or chew on their favorite toy to distract them from the world that is flashing by through the window next to them.
The major cause of dogs getting sick during a trip is the movement of the car, which can throw off their balance. Similar to humans this can make them feel like they are falling over, and cause them to actually move around more, sometimes trying to find that balance, or just in a panic. Sometimes using a safety belt or kennel to restrict their motion can help reduce the movement, while providing them with a base that will help reduce the feelings of motion sickness. For example, as a human, you are unlikely to feel motion sickness when sitting down while riding in a car, but if you were standing up, it might be a whole different experience. The same goes for dogs, if we use a seat belt system that helps encourage them to sit on their butt, instead of walking around on four legs, that stronger base can help reduce the feeling of movement they are having. The same goes for a kennel, we don’t want a kennel that is too small, but that limited space can encourage them to sit or lay down, thus reducing the amount of movement they are feeling during the trip.
Is there an alternative to Cerenia?
Not every method presented will work for every dog, because just like you and I, they are all different. It’s important to explore your options to find what works best for you and your dog. Also, if you decide to use any substitute, like CBD oil or Benadryl it is always advisable to talk to your veterinarian first. Your veterinarian will have your dog’s history as well as the knowledge of how any medication might interact with any other medicine they might be taking.
At the end of the day, we want to make sure that our dogs are happy and healthy. Whether that means sticking their nose out the window while driving down the road or resting with the favorite blanket, their health and happiness is our top concern.