• December 31st, 2022
    Written by: Kimberly

    A dog that misbehaves in the car is a danger to itself, you, and others on the road. This can include a dog that runs around, climbs into the front seat, climbs onto the driver, or is continuously noisy. These are all highly distracting behaviors that can force a driver to take their eyes off the road. If there is an accident, a dog that is moving around could be sent flying and risk injury.

    Keeping your dog calm, relatively quiet, and stationary in the car is safest for all involved. But this is not always every dog’s natural inclination. You can take certain steps to encourage your dog to behave on car rides.

    How to Keep Your Dog Calm in the Car

    How your dog behaves in the car can be due to a variety of reasons. Being in the car is extremely exciting for many dogs and your dog may be hyperactive from an inability to contain themselves. Some dogs can also be extremely nervous or suffer from motion sickness that makes it difficult to sit still. Additionally, sitting in the car for long periods of time can be boring without any activity to break it up. These tips can help no matter what keeps your dog active in the car:

    • Secure Your Dog - The safest way to travel is always with your dog secured. A crate, a guard between the front and back seats, or a dog seat belt will give you the peace of mind of knowing your dog can not jump up front and distract you.
    • Start with Small Trips - As you are training your dog to ride calmly in the car, begin with short trips and increase in time. The first times you get into the car, you might not even turn the car on. Eventually, you can start driving around your neighborhood and then to nearby stores.
    • Take Breaks - If you have any road trips planned, stop for breaks frequently. About an hour between breaks is a good amount of time for younger dogs and those that are highly active in the car. A chance to stretch should help your dog stay more relaxed when you are on the road.
    • Provide Toys - A chew toy can distract your dog from other distracting behavior and keep him busy instead of crying or jumping up to your seat. It can also help relieve anxiety by giving your dog something familiar.
    • Crack the Windows - A little fresh air can help ease motion sickness and does calm down some dogs. It is not safe to have the window open far enough that your dog can stick his head through, but a crack of a few inches is fine.

    For some dogs, sitting in the car will always be too much and long trips will be out of the question. It may be motion sickness, anxiety, an inability to sit still, or another problem, but it can result in any car ride being a nightmare for both you and your dog. Instead of forcing it which will likely only make the problem worse, it is better to leave these dogs behind with a pet sitter and take trips on your own.