DOG CAR ANXIETY – What to do if my dog doesn’t like riding a car?

Dog car anxiety is a common problem. Whether it’s just mild anxiety or out blown panic, there are things you can do to help your furry buddy to be more comfortable or actually enjoy riding the car with you.

In this article we’ve gathered few tips to help you to make car a positive thing for your dog. Consulting a vet or a licensed dog trainer is a probably a good idea too to get some professional opinions. Especially if the anxiety is bad.

Keep in mind that these kinds of processes are long. If you are planning on going on a road trip and wish to take a car anxious dog with you, it would be ideal to start the adjusting process months before the actual trip.

Dog car anxiety
Dog car anxiety is common but treatable issue

Start small

Especially with severe anxiety cases, start by just walking by the car. Let your dog smell the car and give him treats near it. When he feels more comfortable just being around the car you can proceed to actually getting in and staying there.

Give your dog time to adjust

You can leave some treats to the car seats and leave the doors open. You can even give your dogs daily meals in the car. This way your dog can with his own pace go in and out of the car and associate the car with something fun. Sit with him in the car and offer some nice belly rubs.

This can take days or even weeks. Don’t rush in to anything. Have patience. When your dog seems fine being in a still car you can start the engine few times. If the dog is fine with that you can proceed to the next step.

Go for short rides at first

Just drive around the block with your dog couple of times at first. Eventually as your dog adjusts you can go for longer rides.

Go to fun places

This will help your dog associate car rides with something cool and fun. Make some short trips to dog parks or other places that make his tail wag. Go meet his favorite people by car.

Chances are that some day he will actually be anxious to get in the car because he knows it leads to something fun! This happened with our dog who was terrified of getting in to the car after she was involved in a minor crash. Today she nearly scratches the doors waiting to get in.

Bring your dogs favorite toys

This will help your dog feel more safe and secure.

Never ever yell or be angry at the dog

Sometimes it’s frustrating, we know that. But rushing, forcing and getting upset will only make the problem worse. So when the waves of frustration arise, take some deep breaths and don’t take it out on your dog. Being afraid isn’t fun for the dog either.


As we said these kinds of processes are long. If it’s mandatory to take your dog someplace with the car and he’s still not okay with that, consider medication.

Visit the vet for consulting and get a recipe for some anxiety relieving meds for your buddy.

Dog car anxiety can be treated

Of course all dogs won’t ever be comfortable riding the car. If that’s the case with your furry friend, for both of your sake it would probably be better to go road tripping alone. You can have some other fun activities together when you get back.

Leave him with a trusted caretaker as you go and remember to bring him some souvenirs from your adventure 😉

Feel free to leave a comment down below to share your experiences and tips on dog car anxiety!

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