Why Do Dogs Shake On Car Rides



As the weather gets warmer, many of us start planning road trips and vacations. And of course we want to bring our furry companion along for the fun, right? The problem is that your pooch may not exactly be thrilled for a ride in the car. Have you ever noticed that he or she shakes when taking a drive? If so, you are not alone. Many other dog owners have experienced the same situation with their dogs as well. And like those other owners who may have wondered why dogs shake during car rides. Also, is there any hope that you can help your furbaby enjoy riding in the car?

The Root of the Behavior

You may not be surprised to learn that just like humans dogs can get carsick. If your pup is one of the many affected by this it is not as uncommon as you may think. This form of motion sickness is more commonly seen in younger dogs or puppies. Due to the fact that dog's ear structures are used for balance, the less developed ears of younger canines are more prone to being affected. A lot of pups afflicted by this can outgrow the problem as their ears develop fully. Some traumatic experiences in your pup's life can also contribute to their shakiness on car rides. If the only times they have ridden in a car were when they were leaving their mother, going to the vet, or getting groomed, this may be the issue. Your dog may be associating the car ride as a form of punishment since previous rides resulted in such negative experiences. To help alleviate some of their anxiety try taking them on a short ride to the park or to get a new toy. Positive associations can help your pup learn to enjoy the ride. This may take a little time and understanding on your part but can ultimately result in a less stressed furbaby. 

Another likely cause behind your dog shaking in the car could be the simple fact that he or she is more sensitive. We all know that canines use their senses as a means to explore the world around them and also to communicate. Some dogs have heightened sensitivity and as such the motion from car rides can affect them more than others. This is due to the fact that physical stimuli such as sight and smell are more potent for these hypersensitive dogs. The resulting shaking can be an effect of the increased awareness of the world around them.

Encouraging the Behavior

Getting to the root of the issue is a good first step in helping resolve whatever issue your pup has with riding in cars. You can work with your vet or trainer to determine the best way to proceed in getting your furbaby more comfortable traveling at an unnatural rate of speed. Well, it is certainly unnatural to your dog to be moving at sixty miles per hour. That's almost 3 times as fast as an average dog can run. One option may be travel treats. You can begin by giving your pup his or her favorite treat when they first get into the car. Then continue treating them intermittently on the trip when they are exhibiting more calm behavior. This type of encouragement can eventually lead your dog to think of a car ride as fun and rewarding. Start with short trips and work up to longer rides around town. There are multiple 'calming' options available for dogs as well. You may consider something such as a doggie car seat or travel harness. Many dogs are less anxious if they feel that they are more secure inside the car. This can also serve as added protection for your pup in the case of an accident or a sudden stop. None of us want our furbabies thrown around the car, causing extra undue anxiety. 

Other Solutions and Considerations

If you are planning a long trip and want to take your furbaby along it may be a good idea to see how they do on a shorter trip first. Especially if your pup has never ridden in a vehicle before. Getting them used to this new experience in smaller doses, so to speak, can help to avoid the anxious shaking and possibly them vomiting as well. If you see that maybe your pooch just is not a fan of car rides, looking into boarding may just be a better option. The comfort and safety of your dog are important, even if that means them not being on the road trip with you.


While the phrase 'shake, rattle, and roll' is typically a fun idea, this is not true when it comes to your pup and car rides. Doing what you can to make them feel safe and secure is an integral part of being a dog owner. So spend some time learning about what you can do to make a relaxing Sunday drive as enjoyable for them as it is for you.