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Health & Wellness

Can I give my dog Dramamine?

Because motion sickness isn’t human-exclusive

As any nervous flyer or seasick passenger can attest, motion sickness is no fun at all. That’s where Dramamine comes in — a type of dimenhydrinate, it’s a convenient over-the-counter drug (usually as an oral tablet) that treats and prevents sickness and wooziness caused by motion sickness, most typically experienced while traveling. 

And since our favorite travel mates are also prone to motion sickness, it begs the question: Is it safe to give Dramamine to dogs? After all, there’s no faster way to spoil a trip than seeing our best friends feeling nauseous or uncomfortable. 

Whether via plane, train or car, our furry friends are an increasingly common sight in transit. But the fact of the matter is, just like people, different dogs travel differently. In other words, some dogs might be cool as a cucumber the entire flight or car ride, while others might get queasy. It’s an ailment all too relatable, and fortunately for our pets, Dramamine is just as effective — and safe — for dogs as it is for people. Just make sure to get your vet’s permission before giving Dramamine to your pet.

Is human Dramamine good for dogs? 

According to Dr. Whitney Fry, a veterinarian from Sagamore Animal Hospital in Rye, New Hampshire, the same Dramamine we use for ourselves is generally a safe thing to give to your dog — just make sure your vet is OK with you giving it to your pup. 

“We prescribe it for dogs with car sickness, or if they have a condition called vestibular dysfunction,” Dr. Fry explains of a condition pertaining to a disruption in the body’s balance. “It helps with dizziness, too, for some neurologic diseases,” she adds.  

For reference, some signs of motion sickness in dogs include whining, vomiting, restlessness, rapid panting and excessive yawning or licking. 

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When would you give a dog Dramamine? 

Planes, boats and cars are all common areas where motion sickness could easily occur, and where Dramamine may come in handy, either preemptively or during the voyage. “It’s really for nausea to help with car sickness, and sometimes you’d prescribe it to help with vestibular dysfunction and control dizziness,” Dr. Fry echoes. 

Always ask your vet the best way to give your pet a new medicine. Dramamine is quick-acting, and usually takes effect within 1-2 hours. So, depending on how long your trip is, a professional may recommend that you prepare your pup with a dose 30-60 minutes before departure. The effects of the medication should wear off within 24 hours. 

How much Dramamine is safe to give to your dog? 

Dr. Fry says that the proper Dramamine dosage depends on the size of your pet (i.e., the smaller the dog, the smaller the dose), but your vet will be able indicate what’s best for your pup. “I usually do about 25 mg before a car ride for a bigger dog, and about 12.5 mg for a smaller dog,” she says.

Aside from dosage, Dr. Fry assures that Dramamine is safe for all breeds, sizes and ages, including puppies — just as long as your vet agrees. “A lot of puppies throw up in the car,” she notes, highlighting the need for Dramamine for little ones. 

Just be sure and talk to your vet before giving Dramamine to dogs — especially ones with glaucoma, heart disease, high blood pressure, respiratory disease or gastrointestinal issues. 

If, by chance, you give your dog a tad too much Dramamine, Dr. Fry says signs to look for are symptoms of sedation, like excessive drowsiness, slow reflexes and sluggish behavior. Dry mouth and difficulty urinating can also occur on occasion. To err on the side of caution, it’s advised that you bring your pet into your vet’s office ASAP if you suspect an overdose, or at least call your vet and follow their instructions. 

Another thing to monitor is your dog’s reaction when given Dramamine on an empty stomach or not. If vomiting occurs on an empty stomach, make sure to call your vet and ask about giving future medication with food. 

Photo by Oleksandr Horbach on Unsplash

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