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Old 01-09-2008, 18:34   #1
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Sea-sick German Shepherd Dog

So today we finally managed to get out sailing as a family with our 20 month old GSD. Unfortunately she was very ill and we had to turn back. Can anyone advise, with certainty, whether or not I can administer something like Gravol to a dog? And if so in what quantity?
She does not get sick in the car and has never exhibited a tendency to vomiting.
Of course, my wife and kids were all sick as well...hmmm :-)
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Old 01-09-2008, 18:57   #2
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Hi, We live aboard with a German Shepherd and he sails with us. Our Vet told us to use dramamine and it works. Before this he was constantly sick and pouting. Now he does great. Wonderful dogs!
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Old 01-09-2008, 19:22   #3
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You should get a water dog. Lab, Chesapeake Bay retriever, Newfoundland. I am a huge fan of Labs and Chessys and have owned several of both breeds. The only problem is keeping them on the boat.
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Old 01-09-2008, 19:37   #4
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I think dogs get as stressed out or more stressed out than people. Our Shep/Chow mix used to get very sick in the car. As she got more seat time she mellowed out and does not get sick any longer.

I think you could try shorter trips, just time on the boat at the dock and other strategies for the dog to get used to the boat. 20 months is still young.

As far as medicating your dog, I would definitely consult a vet after getting ideas from here.

Did the dog appear nervous getting on the boat?
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Old 01-09-2008, 21:26   #5
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Thanks for the replies. Our GSD has been on the boat on the weekends since last year however due to my installing a diesel, we have not had the chance to get out. She has no problems on the boat when at the dock and eats, sleeps as normal. She walks the decks as she feels like it and regularly gaurds the dock from the bow of the boat. She did not appear to be stressed out or nervous at first, of course once she started getting sick, she was not a happy camper. Eventually she figured it out that the best place for her was on the bottom of the cockpit sole where she was safe and occasionally would look up over the rail to catch a view. Not sure if it was first time jitters or what have you. We were out for about 3 hours in total. I will definitely try it again before drugging her, but I wanted to seek some advice first.
On another, same note, is there such a thing as a sailing harness for dogs, I am sure it would have helped releive our stress of her going overboard.
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Old 01-09-2008, 21:37   #6
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Here's a pretty recent thread on life preservers, many of which have built in harnesses.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ets-17372.html

Here is an old thread on seasickness in cats and dogs.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...-cat-2205.html


Here is a general search tool that many members find useful for finding older stuff.

Cruisers & Sailing Forum
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Old 02-09-2008, 00:59   #7
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I am a practising vet.
Dogs can be medicated with pretty much all the drugs which are used in humans. The hyoscine/Drammamine type drugs tend to produce some constipation (might be a good thing on a boat). The antihistamine drugs which are used for hay fever treatment in humans can be used in dogs eg. Chlorpheniramine = Phenergan. Dose will depend on size but a large dog like the German Shepherd can be given similar doses to adult humans. Dogs are generally quite resistant to antihistamines and require comparatively large doses.
"Stugeron" is way ahead of most others in humans but have no experience of it in dogs. Likely to be very safe - can find out if desired.
Once dogs have a bad experience of travel sickness, they can require some calmative drugs like Diazepam/Xanax to minimize the acquired anxiety. Know some people with the same anxiety.
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Old 02-09-2008, 08:12   #8
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Ginger is said to be helpful to dogs (and people), if you'd like to try a natural approach before turning to drugs.
Your dog should definitely have a harness and be kept in the cockpit or down below when underway; trust me, I've known dogs lost at sea and its just terrible and completely avoidable.
West marine is now offering an inflatable pfd for pets that looks sort of interesting. If you get a traditional pet pfd, go for the one with the most flotation and test it out at the beach or pool; some of them are terrible and actually hamper the dog's ability to keep his head above water. The longer the belly straps, the worse they are as they twist and end up underneath the dog.
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