Queasy and Dizzy: Motion sickness in our pets

  • Blog >
  • Queasy and Dizzy: Motion sickness in our pets
RSS Feed

Queasy and Dizzy: Motion sickness in our pets

Did you know that dog and cat ear anatomy is very similar to ours? They have an ear drum, middle ear (with 3 tiny bones used to hear) and an inner ear (with semi-circular canals to help with balance). This also means that our pets can get car or sea sick.

The symptoms of motion sickness appear when the brain receives conflicting messages from the sensory systems: the inner ear, eyes, skin pressure receptors, and the muscle and joint sensory receptors. As an example, if a dog is in a car, their inner ears sense movement up and down, left and right, but their eyes see a static view, as if they are not moving at all. The conflict within the brain between the sensory inputs is responsible for causing the feelings of motion sickness (drooling, nausea, vomiting).

There are some over-the-counter medications that can decrease nausea in dogs and cats; one prescription (Cerenia/maropitant) is specifically labeled for car-sickness in dogs. You can also check out this website for more information: https://cerenia.com/dog-car-sickness.html

Every veterinarian wishes that their patients could talk to them – especially since with the case of motion sickness, some dogs also have a high-level of anxiety that needs to be treated. Anxiety can present with drooling and not feeling well – similar to what motion-sickness will cause. One way to address car-riding anxiety is to desensitize your pet to the carrier and the car. Short-frequent-happy visits to the car with treats or a favorite toy can over time desensitize and decrease car-riding anxiety. There are different specific medications to treat situational anxiety in dogs and cats, please give us a call to see what is best to try for your pet.

All of SWVH team wishes you a happy summer – if you need advice about how to treat your pets’ motion sickness or travel anxiety, give us a call!

Ask Us About Our Referral Program

Refer a friend and receive $10 in “SWVH Bucks” to use at your next visit!

Office Hours


7:30 AM-5:30 PM


7:30 AM-5:30 PM


7:30 AM-5:30 PM


7:30 AM-5:30 PM


7:30 AM-5:30 PM





Find Us

Check out the map below to locate SWVH!


We love to hear your feedback!

  • "Southwest Vet is a wonderful place to take our animals. The front desk ladies are knowledgeable, patient, and compassionate. The vet techs are so wonderful with our animals. And Drs. Sargent and Rasmussen are just the tops!! The care our animals receive is extraordinary!!"
    Sarah S.
  • "Thank you so much for all that you do. You have always gone above and beyond for my pets and I. I feel truly blessed to have found you when I moved to Reno. Tank thinks you’re pretty awesome, too!"
    Ashley D.
  • "Thank you to each and every one of you who helped care for Gus while he was recovering during his long and scary week with Parvo. We can’t thank you enough for everything you did to get our loving and playful guy home."
    Aaron and Lisa C.
  • "So rare it seems to encounter an entire professional office who are as smart as they are kind. We are so grateful to have you care for Einstein. Thank you for your excellent care, patience and generosity."
    Leah R.

Featured Services

  • What to Do If Your Pet is Stung

    Don't get us wrong, we love the bees! But we don't love when our pets get stung. Follow our tips to treat and prevent bee stings on your furry best friend. ...

    Read More
  • Tips for Traveling With Your Pet

    Do you dread hitting the road with your pet? These tips may make the trip more comfortable and enjoyable for you both. ...

    Read More
  • 6 Questions to Ask At Your Senior Pet's Next Check Up

    Want to keep your senior pet healthy and happy? Ask these six questions at your pet's next check up. ...

    Read More
  • Why the Controversy About Pet Vaccinations?

    As with anything, pet vaccinations can be too much of a good thing. Similar to parents who are learning more about vaccinations for children, veterinarians and pet owners alike are beginning to question some of the standard wisdom when it comes to protecting pets. There are certain fatal diseases against ...

    Read More
  • Pet Clothes: A Fashion Statement or a Necessity?

    There is nothing cuter than a pet in a colorful sweater, but do our furry friends really need to wear clothing? Although clothing is not a necessity for every pet, some animals benefit from a little extra protection during cold or damp days. Others enjoy wearing festive clothing during holidays or other ...

    Read More
  • Introducing a New Pet to Your Current Ones

    Pet Proofing Your Home Introducing your new pet to your current one is only a single part of the equation relating to taking a new pet home. You also have to make sure your new pet is comfortable in your home, which is a foreign environment to the animal. Like humans, animals can experience high levels ...

    Read More

Newsletter Sign Up