Why Does My Dog Cry in the Car? 12 Reasons (2023)

why does my dog cry in the car

Have you ever noticed your dog crying or whining in the car? It’s important to understand why this happens and how we can make them feel better. Dogs, just like humans, can feel anxious and scared in certain situations, and being in a moving car is one of them.

In this article, we’ll explain why dogs cry in the car and provide helpful tips on how to calm them down. Let’s get started!

12 Reasons Why Dogs Cry in the Car

small dog

1. Motion Sickness

Some dogs get sick and feel uneasy during car rides, just like some people do.

2. Fear and Anxiety

Being in a moving car can be scary for dogs, especially if they’ve had bad experiences or associate car rides with negative things like going to the vet.

3. New and Different Environment

Dogs like routine and familiar places. Being in a car takes them out of their comfort zone and exposes them to new things like strange sounds, sights, and smells, which can be overwhelming.

4. Past Trauma

If your dog had a bad experience in a car before, like being in an accident, they may be afraid or anxious about car rides.

5. Lack of Training

dog sitting in front of driving seat

Dogs need to be trained to feel calm and safe in different situations. If your dog hasn’t been trained for car rides, they may feel anxious and cry.

6. Medications for Car Sickness

Some medications that help with car sickness can make dogs feel restless or agitated during the ride.

7. Separation Anxiety

Dogs with separation anxiety may get upset when they’re away from their owners, even for a short time. Being alone in the car can trigger their anxiety and make them cry.

8. Feeling Restricted

Some dogs don’t like being confined to a small space like a crate or carrier in the car. It can make them uncomfortable and stressed.

9. Hot or Cold Discomfort

dog ready to go in car

Extreme temperatures inside the car can make your dog uncomfortable and cause them to cry. It’s important to make sure the car is well-ventilated and the temperature is right.

10. Noise Sensitivity

Dogs have sensitive hearing, and loud noises like honking or sirens can startle them and make them anxious.

11. Excitement

Some dogs get overly excited during car rides, and they express it by crying or barking.

12. Boredom

Long car rides can be boring for dogs, especially if they have nothing to do. This can make them restless and vocal.

How to Help Your Dog Stop Crying in the Car

dog travel in car

Now that we understand why dogs cry in the car, let’s learn how to make them feel more comfortable and reduce their anxiety:

1. Gradual Desensitization

Start by letting your dog get used to the car while it’s not moving. Give them treats and praise for being calm.

2. Short Trips

Take your dog on short car rides to places they enjoy, like a nearby park or a friend’s house. This will help create positive associations with car rides.

3. Use Restraints

Keep your dog safe and secure in the car using a crate, seat belt, or harness. Feeling secure can help them feel less anxious.

4. Positive Reinforcement

my dog cry in the car

Reward your dog with treats, praise, and love when they’re calm in the car. Increase the duration of the trips gradually as they become more comfortable.

5. Familiar Items

Bring your dog’s favorite blanket or toy to make them feel more at home in the car.

6. Maintain a Comfortable Environment

Make sure the car is well-ventilated and the temperature is comfortable. Never leave your dog alone in a hot or cold car.

7. Calming Sounds

Play soft and soothing music or use white noise to create a calm atmosphere in the car. This can help drown out loud noises and relax your dog.

8. Seek Professional Help

If your dog’s anxiety is severe, consider consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist who can provide specialized training techniques.

9. Take Breaks

why does my dog cry in the car

If you’re going on a long trip, schedule regular breaks to let your dog stretch their legs, go to the bathroom, and have some water. This will prevent restlessness and discomfort.

10. Medication or Supplements

In extreme cases, your veterinarian may suggest medication or natural supplements to help calm your dog during car rides.

Remember, it takes time and patience to help your dog overcome their fear or anxiety. With consistent effort and positive reinforcement, many dogs can learn to enjoy car rides and feel more relaxed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I feed my dog before a car ride?

It’s best to avoid giving your dog a big meal before a car ride to prevent motion sickness. Offer a small and light snack instead.

Should my dog sit on my lap while I drive?

No, it’s not safe for both you and your dog. Use appropriate restraints to secure your dog and prevent distractions.

Can I use over-the-counter medications for my dog’s car anxiety?

It’s important to consult your veterinarian before giving any medications to your dog. They can recommend suitable options based on your dog’s needs.

How long does it take for a dog to get used to car rides?

The time it takes for a dog to feel comfortable in the car varies. It depends on their personality, past experiences, and the training methods used. Be patient and consistent.

Are there natural remedies to calm my dog during car rides?

Some natural remedies like lavender or chamomile sprays can promote relaxation. However, always consult your veterinarian before using any new products.


Understanding why your dog cry in the car is the first step toward helping them feel more at ease during car rides.

By addressing the underlying causes and following the tips provided, you can gradually reduce their anxiety and make car trips a happier experience for both you and your furry friend. Remember, a calm and confident dog makes for a better journey.

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