Fear of Cars

FEAR_OF_CARS_FeaturedIf your dog pants, drools, or vomits in the car, it might because he is experiencing motion sickness or is anxious. Your veterinarian can give medication for the sickness, but if your dog continues to exhibit these signs of stress, it could be because he is fearful. If you suspect your dog is having a hard time being in the car, there are things you can do to make the experience more pleasurable for him.

  • Begin by showing your dog that being in the car is a good thing. Walk him at various times during the day to where your car is parked with engine off and either feed him his favorite food in the car or play his favorite game around it.
  • Open the car doors and sit next to him in the car with the door open so that he can choose to leave if he wants. Allowing him the freedom to make choices will help increase his confidence.
  • Give your dog a durable rubber toy filled with food to chew when he is in the car. If he makes the decision to leave, gently take the toy from him and place it in the car again showing him that the car is the place where he gets the good stuff.
  • If your dog is comfortable being in a crate, put one in the car and make a comfy den for him. Allow him the freedom to get in and out when he wants to.
  • When you see your dog is able to relax in the car, have someone switch the car on while you sit with him, but at this stage do not drive anywhere. Comfort him while the engine is running.
  • Start by taking short drives, gradually increasing the distance once he is more comfortable.
  • Make sure the drive always ends in good things, either a walk in the park or back at home. Some dogs are only driven in cars when taken to the veterinarian and they quickly make the connection.
  • Play calming music in the car while the engine is running and you are driving, to promote relaxation.
  • It goes without saying that a dog should never be left alone in a car when it is warm or too cold outside. A car can heat up within minutes in direct sunlight, even on relatively cool days.

 

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