What to Do if My Dog is Anxious in the Car

While most dog enjoy car rides, if your pet is anxious when taken for a drive, it could be due to many reasons. The basic reason could be that it is suffers from motion sickness and has not been able to outgrow it even in adulthood. Another factor could be that the sounds of other traffic and the car’s own machinery, scare your pet. Or it could have learnt to associate the car with trips to the vet for shots. All of these factors can make your dog hate the car. Here’s what you can do to allay its fears.

  • Begin teaching your dog to get used to the car while it is still a puppy.
  • Take it out for very short drives to it learns the motion of the car. When it starts to get used to the car and no longer displays signs of anxiety, you could take it for longer drives.
  • Try to anchor it firmly in a basket or your lap so it does not slide around in the seat.
  • Feed it with yummy treats that you reserve only for car rides so it associates the car with food. However, if your dog suffers from motion sickness, don’t feed it for at least three hours before the drive and avoid treating.
  • Never punish your dog if it vomits in the car. You will only add to its anxiety.
  • Take it out for an exercise session before the car ride so it is too tired to be anxious.
  • Try to pick a fun destination like a park or beach or your regular pet store where you shop for treats.
  • If it continues to feel sick, you might want to check with your vet for medication like a sedative.
  • If your pet has developed a car phobia because of an unpleasant experience, check with an expert trainer on how to replace the fear with a pleasant impression.