Does Your Dog Hate Car Rides?
Understanding Car Riding Anxiety
All dogs love car rides, right? They get to hang their head on the window. We’ve all seen the
adorable pictures this leads to. But, for a lot of dogs, they have anxiety in the car. Honestly, they
hate cars. Some dislike the idea so bad they get sick BEFORE they get in the car. We’d like to
be honest with you for a second, too. Dogs hanging their heads out the window actually isn’t
Is your dog one of those who shivers at just the sound of “car ride”? Then you’re not alone. This
is a common problem. You also understand how hard it is to even take a simple trip. Trips such
as going to a veterinarian appointment are hard. You may never be able to get your dog to
enjoy a trip in the car. But, there are steps you can take to make is more enjoyable.
What Exactly is “Car Anxiety” in Dogs?
“Car Anxiety” is exactly what it sounds like. Dogs who suffer from this just can’t handle the
thought of a car. It isn’t always about just riding in the car though. Some dogs do well riding in a
car. But, getting them in the car is the problem. Once they’re in, it’s a smooth ride. Getting a dog
who doesn’t want to do something can be hard. Especially when it’s an 100 pound Great Dane.
You’ll want to understand the science behind car anxiety in dogs. It’s important to know why it
happens. As well as understanding the symptoms you should look for. This will help you
understand your dog better. As well as attempt to either cure or make the anxiety manageable.
The “Car Anxiety” Symptoms Your Dog May Have
Dog’s symptoms of this anxiety may mimic stress or being ill. This could leave a dog owner
confused. Especially if they’re on the way to a veterinarian appointment due to sickness. It may
be hard for them to distinguish between the two. Even more so if the illnesses symptoms are
much like “car anxiety” symptoms.
There’s no question as to why the symptoms are like the ones stress presents. This is because
stress plays a huge part in the science behind why your dog is afraid. You get stressed when
you’re scared, right? Well, the theory is no different for your pooch. When they’re scared, they
get scared. Stress is also a reason they become fearful.
Of course, there is one big way to notice the difference between other anxiety and stress
factors. The symptoms only appear when certain things happen. Then, of course, all of these
things involve a car. The anxiety may kick in when they see or hear a car. Sometimes it may
even occur if something simple happens. Simple events such as seeing suitcases out and
hearing the word “car”. Sometimes the anxiety isn’t evident until after your pup is in the car.
Symptoms of “Car Anxiety” in Dogs
● Excessive barking
● Urinary or bowel movement accidents
● Not acting themselves
● Vomiting, panting, and/or slobbering a lot.
● Body shaking
● Attempting to get away from the car
It’s possible that a dog who suffers from this phobia won’t show all the symptoms. Some may
only exhibit signs of one or two. As pet owners, we don’t want our dogs to be uncomfortable.
So, it’s important to take action as soon as these signs are noticed. Even if car rides won’t be
part of your regular routine.
Why are Dogs Scared of Cars?
The media makes it out like car rides are a staple in the life of a dog. Unfortunately, for a lot of
dogs, cars are terrifying. Like most of the behavior dogs have, it’s because of their natural
instinct. When we take in a dog, we domesticate it. If we weren’t there telling it the rules it
wouldn’t adjust to domestication. There can’t possibly be dogs riding around in cars in the wild.
So, it’s not a normal part of their world. Especially if they aren’t exposed to them on a regular
Other factors can cause a dog to be afraid of cars, too. Dogs may feel like they’re on a
rollercoaster in the car. This may cause them to feel sick to their stomach. Now they associate
car rides with that sick feeling. That’s not something they want to experience again. Other
reasons may be associated with past experiences. As well as not being introduced to a car on a
Contacting an experienced dog trainer is ideal when your dog has anxiety. They’ll be able
access the severity of the anxiety. Then help you and your dog enjoy car rides again. It’ll be up
to you to help your dog be successful at this. It’s important that, as dog owners, we are
consistent in our training.