Havanese form very strong attachments to their families and would rather be with their people than anywhere else. This tendency, along with their very portable size makes the Havanese an ideal travel companion. Havanese are a well traveled bunch, cruising around the countryside in motor homes with their retired owners or motoring down south to winter in sunny states with snowbird couples. Havanese portability extends to air travel as well as they are small enough to travel in-cabin in small carriers. One such jet-setting Havanese flies 6-8 times a year. Another Havanese has traveled coast-to-coast innumerable times tucked in her special bed in the cab of an 18 wheeler riding along with her owners who are long distance truckers. Some lucky Havanese get to spend the day at work with their owners and happily look forward to the daily commute.
Most Havanese love to go for outings whether by car or truck or boat or bicycle. MOST that is but not all! A few Havanese are afflicted with motion sickness. For these unlucky few, travel is stress filled. Excessive panting and drooling, shaking, nausea, vomiting and possibly diarrhea are no fun. After a few such episodes, even preparations for travel can cause significant anxiety and lead to a vicious cycle. The majority of Havanese who suffer from motion sickness are puppies under one year old. One of the most common reasons in puppies is a slow development of the inner ear which may lead to vertigo and pressure imbalances causing nausea and discomfort during motion. The inner ear should be completely matured by 9-12 months of age. Owners of motion-sick puppies often note an improvement in symptoms around this time. There can also be a number of other causes for the problem. Perhaps the puppy’s first car ride was stress filled. For some puppies, the day they go to their new home is their first car ride. Their next two car rides may be to the Vets office where they get poked and prodded and may also receive painful vaccinations. While most puppies adjust readily, some such puppies may view the car as a source of unpleasantness. There are several remedies that may help relieve motion-sickness including foods, flower essences, homeopathic or herbal remedies as well as medications, therapeutic massage and behaviour modification techniques. All are worth a try, singly and in combination as no single remedy is effective for all Havanese.
Popular remedies for motion sickness include Rescue Remedy , Ginger, Valerian Root, Benadryl, Bonamine and Gravol. Some of these remedies help relieve stress and anxiety, others cause drowsiness and still others relieve nausea and vomiting and help to settle the stomach. Do check with your Vet before trying any medications so they can best advise you about dosage and frequency of administration. Assorted massage techniques and/or Tellington Touch may be very calming and help reduce anxiety and relax a stressed pet; these however are only useful if you are traveling with at least two people. Never try to drive and minister to your pet at the same time. Keep everyone safe and pull over. Behaviour modification is another alternative. This may be a combination of slow acclimatization to car travel as well as traveling with a confident relaxed companion.
A combination of methods will usually give the best results. If you have a Havanese who suffers from motion sickness be sure not to scold or punish him for getting sick as that will only increase the stress level. Being prepared will make episodes of car-sickness easier for everyone. Experiment with different travel positions for your dog. Some sensitive Havanese are better in a soft sided carrier or small closed crate, others travel a larger open crate while yet others are more comfortable with simply a seat belt or puppy booster seat. Cover the car seat or crate floor with a washable towel or old sheet. Bring extras to replace soiled ones if needed. Bring paper towels, plastic bags, damp wash cloths and a water bottle for clean up. If your puppy gets sick, stop, calmly clean up and continue on your way. The good news is that most movement sensitive Havanese overcome this problem with maturity and experience.