Your furry babies are part of your family. Hence, you wouldn’t think twice before taking them on car rides.

But the car ride you expected to enjoy might turn into a nightmare. 

While many dogs enjoy the outdoors and love traveling in cars, many others experience excessive drooling. And a drooling dog in the car can be worrying and make the car ride a hassle.

That being said, dogs don’t drool in the car knowingly. 

So, before we dive into how to prevent dog drooling during car rides, we’ll explore the common causes of dog drooling in the car.

very big dog sitting in front seat

Understanding the Causes

Drooling during car rides specifically isn’t a behavioral issue. Most of the time, drooling during car rides is linked to anxiety or discomfort.

Motion Sickness

Just as humans experience nausea and dizziness because of motion sickness, dogs experience drooling. While panting is the most common sign of motion sickness, dehydration, or discomfort during a car ride, drooling is also one of the signs.

Motion sickness is caused by a change in the ear’s vestibular system. This fluid is how both humans and animals maintain their balance.

Puppies are more prone to drooling due to motion sickness because their inner ear isn’t fully developed. But adult dogs can also experience motion sickness and drooling because of poor ventilation, eating too much or too little before the trip, or an inability to see the road.

Breeds Prone to Motion Sickness

Research has shown that some dog breeds are also prone to motion sickness. These breeds include:

  • Boxer
  • Golden retriever
  • Labrador retriever
  • Bulldog
  • Pug
  • Border terrier
  • Beagle
  • Dachshund
  • Border collie
  • Staffordshire bull terrier


One of the most common reasons for drooling during car rides is anxiety. Dogs that aren’t used to car rides might feel anxious and thus start drooling.

Another reason for a dog’s anxiety during car travel is a previous experience of motion sickness. The dog learns to associate the terrible feeling of motion sickness with car rides and feels anxious when they are forced to sit in the car again.

The dog breeds that are prone to motion sickness during car rides are also prone to anxiety because of the conditioning.


At times, even an overexcited dog can drool a lot. Here’s a story from one of our readers that is bound to make you smile:

Bruno, my adventurous Beagle, saw every car ride as an olfactory expedition. His nose glued to the window, he’d inhale every passing scent, his drool rope thickening with each exciting aroma. Once, while sniffing the mysteries of a passing farm, he managed to drool over the beard that made him look like a wise old doggo. We called him Drooly Dumbledore for the rest of the trip.
Puppy in pickup

Signs of Stress and Car Sickness

While motion sickness is caused by a change in the inner ear and stress is caused by anxiety, both share some symptoms:

  • Panting
  • Shaking
  • Uneasiness
  • Restlessness
  • Swallowing
  • Lethargy
  • Inactivity
  • Yawning
  • Not willing to eat or lay down

These signs indicate a stressed or sick dog during car trips. However, signs like reluctance to get into the car show anxiety and stress.

No matter how familiar the dog is with car rides, owners should watch out for these signs.

A drooling dog in the car means that it might be time to take a break from the car journey. If the journey is long, ensure you have enough food and water and that the space is comfortable for the dog.

Tips for a Calm Car Journey with Dogs

Taking your dog for a car ride or a trip is not easy. Dogs might not be accustomed to cars like humans are. So, preparing your dog before the journey and preparing for any issues during the trip is essential.

1.      Walk your Dog

If you have a puppy or a dog breed prone to motion sickness, getting them to walk before the ride can help prevent motion sickness. Also, don’t feed them just before the trip. A gap of three hours is recommended by vets. It keeps the pet feeling satiated through the trip.

2.      Take Short Rides

If you wish to take your dog with you on a long car ride, you’d want to get them accustomed to car rides. A short trip to the park or nearby can help them understand how a car ride feels.

3.      Keep the Dog Facing Forward

Keeping the dog facing forward during the ride helps keep the system in balance and prevents drooling in the car.

Canine seat belts can help keep the dog in place during the ride and train them for future trips too.

4.      Keep the Car Ventilated

A stuffy car can make anyone sick. If you’re not turning on the air conditioning, crack open a window so cool air can flow inside and regulate the temperature inside.

Remember that dogs don’t sweat like humans do, so they can quickly get dehydrated—the result: a drooling dog in the car.

5.      Address Anxiety

If your dog has had a bad experience with cars previously, anxiety will be natural. However, behavioral training can help address anxiety. For managing pet stress in the car, consult your vet for some medications that can help.

Take short rides in a different vehicle to stop your dog from equating bad experiences with car rides. High-value treats can also help reinforce a positive experience with car travel.

Anxiety is best treated during the trip. Here’s what one of our readers did with her golden retriever to address car anxiety:

My Golden Retriever, Max, loved everything about trips—except the car rides themselves. Every trip began with him panting like a dog who just chased a cheetah, followed by a slow-motion drool drip.He’d stare out the window with longing, his jowls swaying like jelly with each turn. But a quick stop, a belly rub, and a scoop of peanut butter ice cream (yes, it’s a dog-approved brand!) would magically transform him into a happy dog!

Must-Have Dog-Friendly Travel Accessories

If you wish to travel with your dog, be it onbelts: short trips, or long car rides, you need to be prepared. While behavioral therapies and medications are effective, dog-friendly travel accessories like these can lessen the effort.

  • Canine seat belts – These are a must-have during travel to keep your dog facing forward.
  • Security grills:bowls: If you think your dog might jump out of the car window, invest in security grills to keep the car ventilated and safe.
  • Collapsable bowls – Car-safe bowls with water and food can help the dog stay hydrated during the trip.


Many dogs love to travel but dread car rides. A little patience and understanding can help you manage your dog’s drooling during car rides. Our tips and our readers’ experiences will help you and your pup enjoy the car ride like you are supposed to! 


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