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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Very Nervous Maltese. I have a 2 year old female Maltese. Whenever

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Very Nervous Maltese. I have a 2 year old female Maltese. Whenever I take her to the groomer (or anywhere in the car) she starts screaming and wailing. She trembles quite strongly. Is it possible my veterinarian could prescribe some type of sedative/tranquilizer for these occasions? She is a little over 8 pounds.

Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

I'm sorry to hear that your little one Q-tip is so stressed out with car rides and the groomer.

Do you think that she is nauseous at all (does she lick her lips a lot, drool or ever vomit) or do you think that she is just very stressed?


Dogs are prone to car sickness as their sense of balance is much better than ours and as such they are easily affected by the motion of cars or boats. Some dogs do outgrow it, but at 2 years of age she likely isn't one of those. Try to keep trips short and as positive as possible. Some dogs get stressed if the only places they go are
negative, such as a veterinary clinic or the groomer. By making the destination enjoyable she may feel less stressed so less likely to get stressed and scream.

You can give Gravol also known as Dramamine (dimenhydranate) for carsickness. The dose is 4mg to 8mg per pound of body weight. Give it an hour two before travel. It will last about 8 hours. Side effects are mild sleepiness and dry mouth.

Or you can try Benadryl (diphenhydramine) at 1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight orally. You could give half of a 25mg tablet for a pup her size. Side effects are sedation and dry mouth as well. It should be given an hour or two before travel.

I do recommend that she not eat for 8 hours before travel if the car-ride will be long or 4 hours if it is shorter. Ice cubes can help to quell nausea too and keep her hydrated.

I also recommend keeping a window cracked as fresh air seems to help too.

Some dogs do better if they cannot see out of the car, the moving landscape seems to make them dizzier and thus more nauseous. Try and get her to lay down in the car or put her in a carrier on the floor of the car so she cannot see out.


If this doesn't work discuss a medication called Cerenia (maropitant) with your veterinarian. It works very well and lasts at least 8 to 12 hours.

If you truly believe this is all anxiety related, although it seldom is, you can try products such as Bach's Rescue Remedy. See this link for further information:

I also like DAP products (dog appeasement pheromones) which are synthetic analogs of a calming pheromone a bitch produces while nursing. These come in sprays, collars and diffusors. You can spray the car and her carrier and/or put a collar on her. See this link for information about these products:

See this link for some examples:

If that isn't enough your veterinarian can prescribe anti-anxiety medications for her.

If the car ride is short we can use Valium but for longer rides or a grooming session perhaps alprazolam or acepromazine would be better for her.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Doctor. It doesn't seem like she gets car sick. she just seems very stressed, as you said the only time we take her anywhere is the Vet clinic or the groomer.

You are very welcome.

Perhaps some short trips to a fun place like a park using DAP sprays or collars with or without the Bach's Rescue Remedy to try and teach her that the car isn't necessarily all bad would help. It will take time to recondition her though.

In the meantime I would ask your veterinarian to prescribe a tranquilizer for times when she must go in the car to a scary place like the groomer to decrease her anxiety.

Dr. Kara and 3 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Jeff,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Q-Tip. How is everything going?

Dr. Kara
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She's doing good Dr. Kara, thanks for asking. Sorry, I didn't see your response. I don't check my e-mail as often as I should. Thanks again!

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You are very welcome, thank you for taking the time to let me know she is well,

Dr. Kara.