Whippet Car Sickness: A Useful Guide

whippet car sickness

Whippet car sickness (WCS) is a very common problem whippets face when travelling in cars or sometimes trains.

It’s something whippet owners often worry about during journeys – you may not even realise there are steps you can take to prevent the situation from occurring, or make it better if it has already begun.

This article aims to educate whippet owners on whippet car sickness, including preventing and curing, as well as suggesting specific treatment for whippets with this terrible condition.

What Is Whippet Car Sickness?

Whippet car sickness is very similar to motion sickness in human beings. While whippets are travelling, they may become nauseous and feel unwell.

The whippet may begin to dry retch or vomit, however, this often does not come up as there’s nothing much in the stomach for it to bring back up.

A whippet with car sickness will be restless and uncomfortable – you can even see their ears flattened against their head, which is a sure sign something isn’t right.

WCS tends only to affect whippets when they are riding in cars, but some experience symptoms on trains too – the whippet may also seem very nervous before boarding/alighting from either mode of transport.

What Causes Whippet Car Sickness?

Whippets have motion sensitivity which is an adaptation originating from their history of being hunting hounds. It assists the dog by making it easier for them to pinpoint where prey is moving so they can chase it down.

This sensitivity is also present in whippets that are not trained to hunt, and the whippet breed tends to be more susceptible than others.

Whippets can become sensitive to motion almost as soon as they are born, although it may take an hour or two after birth for the whippet pup’s eyes to open fully.

Signs Of Motion Sickness In Whippets

Whippets, like many other breeds of dogs, can get motion sickness while riding in a car. The whippet is a sighthound breed known for being extremely fast and athletic.

Like all dogs whippets have eyes – sensitive ones at that – so any movement they see outside the confines of a car window can cause them to feel sick and nauseous.

The signs of whippet car sickness are pretty much the same as any dog. Your whippet will begin to act restless and easily irritated, whines constantly or barks frantically, curls up in a ball with his head on his paws, and whimpers trying to crawl into your lap despite not usually being cuddlesome.

Another sign of motion sickness is your whippet’s eyes being abnormally focused on one particular area. They may stop paying attention to you and seem as if they are in a trance.

How To Prevent Whippet Car Sickness

Whippet car sickness is fairly common but can be treated in most whippets. There are several helpful things whippet owners can do to mitigate whippet car sickness when travelling with their whippet.

First of all, it’s important to remember that whippets were originally bred as sighthounds used to hunt small prey like rabbits and hares.

Since they were bred specifically for chasing fast-moving creatures, whippets tend to be much more sensitive than other breeds when it comes to motion in general.

When taking whippets in the car, it can help if whippets are accustomed to traveling early.

If they’re used to being in the car beforehand, this helps them acclimate to the vibrations of the road.

It can be helpful to start whippets on car trips when they’re around six months old, and continue taking them in the car regularly even once they get older – this practice helps them acclimate to the way it feels inside a moving vehicle.

For whippets that can’t take car rides, it can be helpful to transport them in pet carriers instead.

Whippet car sickness is usually caused by them first experiencing motion outside their home, compared to whippets (and dogs in general) that are used to traveling.

Here are some other tips to help prevent whippet car sickness;

  • No food before car journeys, but ensure they are fed.
  • Give them a window seat
  • Ventilate by keeping the windows open
  • Reassurance
  • Ask the vet for motion sickness pills
  • Keep the trips as short as possible
  • Be patient
  • Sit in the car stationary for a while before driving

How To Treat Whippet Car Sickness

There are several ways to treat whippet car sickness, and some whippets can be trained on how to react better in the car. The following is a list of suggestions that may help whippets adjust to being in cars better:

Ensure that your whippet is not hungry before getting into the car.

Take your whippet for a long walk or play session to get them tired before attempting to get in the car. This will help keep whippet whines and whimpers to a minimum while you’re driving and may also tire whippets out so they fall asleep during the trip.

Place a crate or a whippet bed in the car to make whippets feel more at home.

Make sure they have fresh water during the trip and ensure they empty their bladders before getting into the car if they will need to do so.

Should You Be Worried About Your Whippets Car Sickness?

If your whippet whines just a little bit, and whines only increase when whippet owners tell whippets “no” or attempt to distract whippets with treats, they are most likely not car sick.

However, if whines and whimpers persist even when you try to distract them, this indicates that they are whining because they are truly sick.

You don’t need to worry about your whippet being car sick as it’s totally normal and very common.

If your dog is not used to being in a moving car, then the chances are they are going to feel a little sick for the first couple of times until they get used to it.

If you do feel that it’s causing you to worry, visit your veterinarian who will be able to advise you best and may prescribe some motion sickness pills.

Other Considerations

Although whippet car sickness is common, it’s not something to be worried about.

It is not a sign of an illness, and your whippet will eventually overcome it as they get older. Try to be as patient as you can and don’t scold your whippet for his sickness.

And, whatever you do: Don’t turn around and return to where you were headed! [This is a huge problem when whippets get car sick, they feel better in the environment that made them sick so people think “Well, he’s feeling better now, we should turn around and go home”]

After your whippet’s car sickness has passed, it is common for them to have a ravenous appetite.

This is because they are not accustomed to the strange motion of being in a moving vehicle, so their bodies are fooled into thinking that they must be starving if their stomachs are growling.

Don’t worry yourself too much about whippet car sickness, as it is highly unlikely it won’t be a serious issue.

Although whippets tend to feel the effects of whippet car sickness for at least a day after travelling, they usually will have no lasting negative impact from riding in the car.

Final Thoughts

Whippet car sickness is a common issue for whippet owners, but it’s nothing to worry yourself about. As they get older they will get used to riding in the car and their sickness should go away.

Follow these whippet car sickness tips to help reduce WCS and keep your pet happy, healthy and stress-free during their travels.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, I hope you learned something about this topic and now understand how to treat your whippet should they suffer from car sickness.

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