Dramamine for dogs acts as an antihistamine that works to curb motion sickness.
But for most dog owners, the questions about the safety of this drug can become quite overwhelming at times.
Which is why, in order to help you decide whether this ‘Dramamine for dogs’ thing is a suitable idea or not.
To help you decide just that and more, in this article, we here at the Can Dogs Eat GUIDE, have decided to lay out the pros and cons for you.
That is, we’ve discussed everything herein which will, hopefully, help you in understanding how this drug can at time be useful for your canine companion. And also how, at other times, it might be quite the opposite of that.
Dramamine for Dogs: What does this drug do?
Dramamine, although the more common pharmaceutical name of the drug, is actually dimenhydrinate according to its recognized chemical name.
Most vets will often prescribe this for dogs who suffer from extreme motion sickness whenever they get on a car ride.
Now, we all know about that typical dog video.
That is, the whole ‘tongue out of their mouths, heads out the window and barks full of happiness’ as you take your dog out for a ride around the neighborhood or some other trip.
Most dogs simply love car rides.
But then, as it is with everything, there are exceptions to the rule.
Some poor babies get so scared, in fact, of the whole car ride thing that their body starts responding in all sorts of manners that signal anxiety and distress.
A few signs of motion sickness in dogs include:
- whining and pacing
- excessive drooling
- smacking or licking lips
- lethargy or inactivity
The typical response to most of things would be to take your dog to the vet.
Unfortunately, since the problem here is motion sickness, unless the vet lives in the same neighborhood as you and the journey can be covered in a walk, that solution does not quite stand here.
Dramamine for Dogs: Why Do Dogs Get Motion Sickness?
So, what else can you do?
Well, you can begin by understanding why it is dogs get motion sickness.
The important thing to know here is that motion sickness is often more common in puppies than it is in adult dogs.
This is because the phenomenon of motion sickness arises due to problems in the inner parts of the ear. The inner part we are concerned with mostly in this case is in fact the vestibular system.
This particular part of the ear canal is used for stability and maintaining balance.
The vestibular system does so by acting as a natural sensory system that gives the brain information about balance, motion, and the location of one’s head and body in relation to their surroundings.
In young pups, this system might not be quite as well developed, making them act in a way such that their behavior corresponds to motion or car sickness.
Usually, the problem goes away with age as the pup grows to maturity.
Dramamine for Dogs: Motion Sickness in Adult Dogs
Sometimes, however, the problem can persist well into the grown-up years of a dog.
One common factor for it might be a vestibular disease. This usually occurs due to an infection inside the inner ear, resulting in damage to the vestibular system.
At other times though (and unfortunately, this problem is quite common), the dog might simply be scared of car rides due to associated trauma.
The thing with dogs is that they are quick and easy to train. That is, they respond very well to certain things and all that becomes a part of their response system, and it is one of the most widely used traits that are utilized to train a dog.
But just as a dog will respond well to treats, they will also develop a very strong response to pain.
So, if your big buddy had to go to more than a handful of visits to the vet as a pup, they might have developed a negative relation between the car ride and the traumatic memory.
Dogs, cats, and other domesticated animals experience the same problem very often.
Dramamine for Dogs: Is It Safe?
And when the problem is too severe, many vets will usually fall back to this antihistamine drug and prescribe Dramamine for dogs that are quite prone to motion sickness and have travel-related anxiety episodes.
So, this makes a concerned dog owner wonder whether the drug is going to be safe for their pet or not.
Although still not FDA approved for use in canines, this drug will be easily available to you from a local pharmacy upon prescription from a dog.
And yes. In most cases, it is a safe solution.
Dramamine for Dogs: What Should be the Dosage?
The prescribed dosage is usually 2 to 4 mg per pound of the dog’s body weight. But depending on your dog’s particular needs, the vet may be inclined to vary the dosage accordingly.
So, it goes without saying that it is best to stick to what the doctor recommends. And to never change the dosage according to your own judgement.
While this is always the right thing to do, sticking to a qualified vet’s opinion when it comes to giving your dogs medicines is something crucial to strictly adhere to.
Lastly, the dosage should not be given more than once every eight hours and should ideally, be given an hour prior to travel in order for it to take its full effect.
Dramamine for Dogs: Are there Any Side Effects to It?
As with most drugs, this one too, comes with a few side effects.
Since the antihistamine acts to calm the central nervous system responses, it will also result in lethargy in your dog.
They will likely experience greater periods of sleep and not be as eager to play while still under the influence of the drug, as they might otherwise be on a normal day.
And of course, prolonged use of the drug could lead to some damage, therefore, making it essential to stick to the dosage and dose timings prescribed by the vet.
Dramamine for Dogs: Alternatives to the Drug
Luckily, there are better, more drug-free methods to curing motion sickness in adult dogs.
Provided that the sickness is not due to ear infections, and can be traced back to early puppyhood trauma, positive associations therapy will help your dog in understanding that the car is a safe space for them to be.
One way to get them to associate positive feelings with the car is by taking their favorite toy and a blanket along with you on the car ride as they hop into the back. If your dog has something that they generally associate with being safe, such as their favorite toy or blanket, over time, the car will begin to feel a lot less dangerous to their brains.
Another way to create positive associations would be by offering them treats, in addition to completing the car ride.
Although admittedly, this process is longer and often more complicated than giving your dog drugs, it is nevertheless, a lot less harmful to your buddies physical and mental health. And if possible, we would highly recommend opting this method over giving them Dramamine.
Dramamine for Dogs: Fun Facts About Dramamine
A few fun facts about the drug though that might interest you, regardless of whether you give it to your dog or not are as follows:
- Its actual name is Dimenhydrinate
- In essence, it is an antihistamine that reduces the effects of natural chemical histamine in the body.
- Its boiling point is 343.7 °C
Is Dramamine for dogs a healthy concept?
In the long run, no. But in the short term there aren’t many side effects to it.
Can I get Dramamine for dogs if they are regularly car sick?
Yes. You can ask a vet for a prescription and obtain the drug from a local pharmacy.
Do dogs have any allergic reactions to Dramamine?
Not all dogs are the same, therefore, yes. Some dogs might have an allergic reaction but on the whole, the drug is safe for use in most dogs.
Should I get Dramamine for dogs or try and treat them naturally?
Positive re-enforcements are the only drug- free way to treat trauma related motion sickness in dogs. And it might not always be possible, therefore, it is best to consult the vet about this.
Is getting Dramamine for dogs a lazy thing to do?
Not at all. It is a medicine that they should get if their body needs it and the vet recommends it!