After living with your dog or puppy for a while, you may feel like you’ve gotten to know them quite well. You’ve come to know them as this cheerful bundle of energy who’s always up for a bit of fun. However, that signature smile on your pet’s face may disappear the moment you take them inside the car.
All of a sudden, the happy dog you know has disappeared. In their place is an frightened-looking pet who looks like they would rather be anywhere else.
Why is your pet feeling anxious about a car ride? Let’s discuss some possible answers to this question in this article.
Your Pet Feels Ill During Car Rides
First off, your dog may look anxious ahead of a car ride because they know it will be unpleasant. That could be because your pet suffers from motion sickness.
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, dogs may develop motion sickness if certain parts of their inner ear are not fully developed. The lack of complete development is throwing your pet’s balance off and causing them to feel nauseous during car rides.
Obviously, motion sickness is unpleasant for dogs. It’s only natural for them to feel anxious about situations where they may experience motion sickness again.
If there is a silver lining to finding out that your pet experiences motion sickness, it is that most dogs will outgrow that problem. Generally, by the time your puppy reaches a year old, the structures of its inner ear have matured. That means they should no longer experience motion sickness.
Your Pet Is Scared of Being Inside a Car for the First Time
When was the last time you experienced something completely new? Do you still remember how you felt? Even if the excitement was the overwhelming emotion, chances are you also felt a bit anxious.
Now, imagine what that could be like for your dog or puppy. You place them inside a car for the first time, and everything in there is completely new to them. They don’t know what to do or even where to sit.
It’s understandable that your pet would feel anxious in a situation like that.
Your pet still doesn’t know that they are safe inside your car. It’s your job as their guardian to help them feel secure and comfortable. You can help your pet get comfortable ahead of car rides by having several brief ‘visits’ in the car before you take them driving. You’ll want to remember to turn the engine on (be sure the car is outside!) for part of the visits so your pet can experience that noise and sensation as well. Look into dog training as well, as an experienced trainer will have additional techniques to use if needed.
Your Pet Is Afraid of Being Inside a Car Again
Your pet likely had experience with riding in the car before joining your family. Sometimes those experiences might have been unpleasant. Understandably, your pet doesn’t want to feel that way again. This can result in your dog avoiding getting into the car or trying to get out immediately.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to alleviate your pet’s anxiety if their memories trigger it. However, following the car ‘visits’ steps in the previous section can begin the process of creating positive experiences. Take it slow and make it as pleasant and secure as possible for your pet.
A dog feeling anxious ahead of a car ride is far from unusual. Take the time to understand the potential causes of your pet’s anxiety so you can help them more effectively.
Need more help with your dog’s car ride anxiety? Schedule a complimentary call with our dog trainer Cathy today: https://app.10to8.com/book/zxznlfrciytyebkoug/. To learn more about Cathy, read her bio on our About page.