Our pet dogs have a remarkable ability to capture our hearts with their endearing and unpredictable behavior. One of the most delightful experiences for both dogs and their owner is riding a car. While not all dogs are immune to car rides, many dog breeds love to ride in a car. You may think it is a mundane activity but for dogs, it is an adventure filled with excitement and wonder.

The bond between dogs and automobiles is undeniable, and understanding why dogs love riding in cars can provide fascinating insights into the intricate relationship we share with our loyal four-legged friends. In this article, we’ve shed light on how dogs feel when riding a car for owners to understand their feelings, including more information about stimulation, companionship, and making fun memories with your dog.

Reasons Why Dogs Like Car Rides

So why do dogs love car rides? There are many reasons why many dogs love riding in a car with their owner. If you understand the reason behind this enjoyable activity, you will have a better understanding of making car rides enjoyable for dogs.  Here are some reasons dogs enjoy car rides.

Sense of Adventure

Just like humans, dogs have a natural sense of adventure. Car rides symbolize an exciting new journey for them, where they get to explore different surroundings and experience the world beyond their usual environment. The anticipation and change in scenery can be exhilarating for dogs.

Bonding with Their Humans

Car rides offer precious bonding time between dogs and their owners. Dogs thrive on companionship and being close to their human family members. Being in the car together creates an opportunity for quality time, interaction, and physical closeness, strengthening the bond between them.

Stimulation and Exploration

Dogs are naturally curious creatures. During car rides, they have the chance to indulge their curiosity by observing and sniffing new scents, sights, and sounds that pass by the window. The movement of the car and the ever-changing landscape provide mental stimulation and an exciting opportunity for exploration.

Change of Routine

Dogs thrive on routine, but a change in routine every now and then can be highly stimulating. Car rides break the monotony of a dog’s daily life and introduce variety, which can help keep their minds active and engaged. This change of pace can prevent boredom and alleviate potential behavioral issues.

Socialization Opportunities

Many car rides involve trips to parks, dog-friendly destinations, or visits to friends and family. These outings provide dogs with valuable opportunities to socialize with other dogs and people. Meeting new friends and engaging in play can contribute to a dog’s overall well-being and happiness.

Enhanced Senses

Dogs have an incredibly heightened sense of smell, which is one of their primary ways of perceiving the world. During car rides, they can experience a rich tapestry of scents carried by the wind. This sensory overload can be exhilarating for dogs and allows them to connect with the environment in a unique way that we, as humans, cannot fully comprehend.

Benefits of Car Rides for Dogs

There are many benefits of car rides for dogs as it has for owners. Imagine riding in a car with your dog enjoying himself in the passenger seat. Haven’t you wondered why some dogs love the motion and the scenery by the window as you ride? Well, dogs are natural pack animals.  If your dogs ride the car with you, that means they trust you with their life. You are their pack. You are their Alpha! So, they will follow you wherever you go. This owner-dog bonding brings a unique kind of experience throughout your relationship.  Here are the following benefits of taking your dog on a car ride.

Reduces anxiety

Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety or general anxiety when left alone at home. Car rides can alleviate this anxiety by providing a change of scenery and a sense of companionship. The presence of their human during the ride offers comfort and security, helping to reduce stress and anxiety levels in the dog.

Stimulates your dog’s mental health

Car rides offer mental stimulation to dogs as they observe the passing scenery, various sights, and different smells. That is why it is good to open your window if you take your dog with you. This mental engagement can be especially beneficial for dogs that may otherwise be bored or under-stimulated at home. Mental stimulation helps keep a dog’s mind active and can contribute to overall mental health.

It is a form of physical exercise

Although dogs may not be running or walking during a car ride, the excitement and anticipation of the journey can elevate their heart rate and provide a degree of physical exercise. Additionally, car rides often lead to outdoor adventures, such as hikes, walks, or trips to the park, which provide ample opportunities for dogs to engage in physical activity and burn off energy.

Increases socialization for your dogs.

To make your car ride more dog-friendly, you can visit parks and pet-friendly destinations. This will motivate your dog to ride the car with you more often. These outings also provide dogs with valuable opportunities to socialize with other dogs and people. Positive social interactions can boost a dog’s confidence and aggression issues. 

Helps your dog thrive on variety and enrichment

Car rides introduce variety into a dog’s life, breaking up the monotony of their daily routines. Seeing a new environment, for instance, will improve their experience and prevent them from getting bored. This is especially true for small dog breeds that are often kept in the home such as Shit Zu, Poodles, Maltese, and Japanese Spitz. Riding in a car keeps their minds engaged and overall enriches their life.

It promotes bonding and trust

The time spent in the car with their human strengthens the bond and trust between the dog and owner. Dogs learn to associate car rides with positive experiences, enhancing the mutual trust in the relationship. This trust can extend beyond car rides and positively impact the dog’s behavior and overall well-being.

A couple of dogs that are sitting in the back of a car

Frequently Asked Questions about Why Do Dogs Like Car Rides?

Are all dogs fond of car rides?

No, not all dogs are fond of car rides. Dogs, like humans, have individual preferences and personalities. While some dogs may love car rides and eagerly jump into the car, others may feel anxious or uncomfortable during the experience. It’s essential to understand and respect your dog’s feelings and reactions to car rides and work to make the experience as positive as possible for them.

How can I make car rides more enjoyable for my dog?

To make car rides more enjoyable for your dog, you need to acclimate your dog first.   Gradually desensitize your dog and help him acclimate to car rides. Take short trips before going on long, tiring drives.  Make your car as comfortable as possible and place familiar blankets or toys. This will make your car feel more like home.

Are there dogs that get motion sickness during car rides?

Yes, some dogs can experience motion sickness during car rides. This condition is more common in puppies and young dogs but can affect dogs of any age.  Watch out for your symptoms like drooling, vomiting, whining, or restlessness.

How to alleviate motion sickness in dogs?

To alleviate motion sickness in dogs, consider feeding your dogs with light meals before your ride. Moreover, you should allow a few hours for their food to settle. Make sure there’s good ventilation in the car to reduce odors that may trigger nausea. Consult your veterinarian about medications or supplements that can help prevent motion sickness in dogs.

Should I take my dog on long car trips?

Taking your dog on long car trips is possible, but it requires careful planning and consideration. Making sure your dog is comfortable with car rides before embarking on a long journey is crucial. It is also important to pack essentials like food, water, medications, and your dog’s favorite toys or blankets.
If you have concerns or questions about traveling with your dog, consult your veterinarian for advice and recommendations specific to your dog’s needs and health.


Riding in a car can generally excite dogs, but it’s important to recognize every dog’s car ride preference. Some dogs eagerly embrace the adventure, while others may experience anxiety or even dog motion sickness during car rides. Understanding your dog’s individual needs and comfort levels is essential for creating a positive car ride experience.

Additionally, when considering long car trips with dogs, thorough preparations are crucial. Ensuring your dog’s safety, comfort, and well-being, as well as addressing any potential motion sickness concerns, is paramount for a successful and enjoyable journey for both you and your furry companion. By taking the time to understand your dog’s preferences and needs, you can make car rides and long trips together a more pleasurable and bonding experience for both of you. 

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