4 min read


Why Does Dog Drool In The Car



4 min read


Why Does Dog Drool In The Car




Drooling, salivating, and generally making a mess in your car can make most dog owners rather annoyed. You have decided to go out to the park for a happy family outing and the next thing you know your dog is drooling all over the back seat. If you are the driver, there is very little you can do until you get to your destination. Drooling in the car is something you should pay attention to and not just because it is messy. Some dogs are born "droolers" and one forgives them for their slobbery habits, but most dogs have more urgent reasons for their car drooling. The tendency to drool in the car could range from motion sickness, to fear, and even life-threatening heat stroke. If your dog is drooling, then it would be wise to find the reason for this reaction to car travel and help make the journeys more pleasant for everyone. 

The Root of the Behavior

Overcoming drooling problems is easier if you have introduced your dog to the idea of riding in a car from his puppy stage. Going off together to puppy school or socializing will always make car travel a happy experience. If you have invested in a drooler like a Boxer or a Bulldog and any of the other breeds that drool, then you will be ready for the odd slobbery slip-up. It’s a good idea to be prepared with a towel to avoid embarrassment. Perhaps you just have a dog that is susceptible to motion sickness. The warning signs of the onset of this situation are visible in an agitated dog that licks his lips while looking most uncomfortable. The episode is going to end in vomiting or messing in the car, as your dog loses control of his bladder or worse his bowels. This is particularly true of the dog who may have a bad association with the inside of a car. A rescue dog, for instance, may not have a good relationship with a car. Your dog may also associate the car with visits to the vet or kennels and not want to go there again. It will take time and patience to try and free your dog of his fear of the moving car. 

If you suspect your dog is suffering from motion sickness, make sure he sits facing forward. There are car seats for dogs or a favorite basket on the back seat would be comforting. Whatever makes your dog feel secure and safe will help the situation. Excitement at the onset of an outing can also start your dog drooling. He anticipates the joy of going out to somewhere new or just to the park with you, and that can initiate drooling. You will know if it is excitement that has triggered a drooling episode because when you get to your destination your dog will be jumping up and down to get ready to leap out of the car. Any high volume of emotion can lead your dog to drool in the car. Driving with a dog that is under stress can be nerve-wracking for the driver too. It could be worthwhile to purchase a safety net that can be set up between the back and the front seat, so your dog is contained or transport your dog in a crate while you focus on driving.

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Encouraging the Behavior

Dealing with motion sickness and some anxiety issues may need some intervention from a vet and some calming medication. A behaviorist could also help with desensitizing your dog from his fears in the moving car. There are, however, some occasions when there could be a real danger of heatstroke and the signs of drooling in this situation will alert you to getting help quickly. The onset of heatstroke leads quickly to hypothermia and dogs can die under these circumstances. If your dog has been left in a hot car and is drooling and panting excessively, there is a real danger that he could be overheating and in danger. In this situation you need to get to the vet as quickly as possible. Drooling can also be caused by an obstruction in your dog’s throat or teeth and a vet will need to investigate further. Dogs with gum disease or obstructions will drool and will need medical attention. However, they probably started drooling before getting into the car. Gastro-intestinal ailments can cause drooling and if your dog has eaten something that causes bloat that will lead to drooling and other signs of discomfort. You need to get the attention of a vet urgently. When the drooling is a symptom of a medical problem then the vet is the person to get to as soon as possible. You will notice in medical situations that your dog is drooling as well as being stressed and anxious. 

Other Solutions and Considerations

Drooling can be annoying! However, understanding the reasons behind your dog’s slobbering and messing in the car could make a difference between a well and happy dog and a dog in distress. It is wonderful to be able to share the outdoors with your dog and so if this is important to you then take time to work through any issues attached to car travel. Time and patience as you desensitize your dog to his fears in the car, will go a long way to working through this problem. Many dogs love riding in cars and even relish a ride on the back of a truck. Dogs that are lucky enough to live in the country or on a farm have probably been raised with the other canine members to hop in and out of a vehicle as a normal happy way to travel. 


Traveling by car is by far the most popular mode of private transport. The next time you think of buying a car look out for a car that is dog-friendly. What about a "Paw-che" or a really fast "Lab-roginie"? If you do come by such a luxury car, it could be you who is doing the drooling as you drive your supercar and treat your dog to a ride to the park.

Written by a Rhodesian Ridgeback lover Christina Wither

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 03/15/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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