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Car Rides: Anxiety Symptoms Dogs Experience

Anxiety is not a uniquely human emotion. Our pets experience it as well.
Your dog or puppy may feel anxious during car rides Something about the experience of being inside a vehicle doesn’t sit well with your pet, and it’s causing them problems.
How can you tell if your pet feels anxious about riding inside your vehicle? In all likelihood, their anxiety is manifesting in ways that should be discernible. Let’s discuss those symptoms of anxiety in dogs throughout this article.

Trembling During Car Rides

Some symptoms of anxiety in dogs are harder to detect than others. Trembling is a good example of that. You may not notice that something’s wrong with your dog until you sit close to or hold them. The shaking may only become noticeable at that point.

Exhibiting Anxious Body Language

Your pet’s anxiety may also be reflected by their body language. Folded ears are indicators that your dog or puppy is feeling anxious. Avoiding looking up, not sitting down and tail-tucking are also telltale signs of anxiety.
Watch out for those body language indicators so you can quickly tell if there’s something wrong with your pet.

Pawing at the Car Doors

Although some indicators of car-related anxiety in dogs and puppies can be tricky to discern, others are more obvious. Not long after entering your car, your pet may start pawing or scratching at the car door. They aren’t being vague about what they want, and you should have no trouble understanding them too.

Hiding During Car Rides

Pets tend to hide when they are afraid of something. So they may try to hide in the car (head facing a corner or seat back, or trying to climb into the foot area).

Demonstrating Restless Behavior

According to PetMD, the symptoms your dog is exhibiting will indicate the type of anxiety they’re experiencing. Dogs who are showing restless behavior are starting to panic.

In this situation, restless behavior refers to pacing and panting. The panting may be intense enough for you to hear from the front seat. Other examples of restless behavior to watch out for include increased vocalization, yawning, and lip licking.


Traveling with an anxious pet for a reason other than dog training is not advisable. That’s because your pet’s discomfort could manifest itself in messy ways.
Your pet may throw up during the car ride and cause an unpleasant mess. Hold off on long car rides until your dog is used to them if you don’t want to clean out your car all the time.

Inappropriate Elimination of Waste

Aside from vomiting, your anxious pet can cause a mess inside your car through urination or defecation. Even if your pet already knows when and where to answer the call of nature, they may lose control due to their anxiety.
Some pets are even known to experience bouts of diarrhea because they are anxious. If your anxious pet is dealing with diarrhea and vomiting simultaneously, you should cut your trip short and consult your veterinarian. Prolonged bouts of vomiting and diarrhea can dehydrate your pet, so it’s best to address that issue right away.

Resisting During Car Rides

One more symptom of car-related anxiety in dogs involves resisting. More specifically, your pet may physically resist entering your car. They may even nip at you if you attempt to force them inside your vehicle.
Don’t proceed further if your pet is behaving that way. Continuing at that point will only lead to either you or your pet getting hurt.
Learn to quickly recognize the signs that your dog or puppy is feeling anxious. Protect them from stressful situations by being more aware of their behavior.
Need more help with your dog’s car ride anxiety? Complete our short form and our dog trainer Cathy will contact you via zoom or phone.



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