Top 3 Reasons Why Your Dog Cries & Whines in the Car

Disclaimer: The content on is for informational purpose only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.

Car rides aren’t always a joyous occasion for dogs, especially if it is the first few times they are in a moving vehicle. Here are the most common reasons for dogs that cries and whines while in the car.

1. Your dog suffers from travel sickness

Dogs can also suffer from motion sickness. It’s more common among younger dogs than adults. Any discomfort felt by motion sickness can result in a whiny dog. Some dogs may be able to overcome this as they get older. Others may need a little help, such as reducing food consumption before a long car journey and keeping the dog distracted with his favorite toys and treats.

2. Frustrated by the small space

Some dogs may whine in the car because of the lack of space. They are frustrated by not being able to move around freely while in a car. Again, providing some distraction (e.g. dog toys) might be the best way to reduce the dog’s whining, especially if it’s for a short car ride.

Dog car anxiety is a thing and can lead to dogs showing a number of symptoms such as whining, shivering, and excessive paw licking.

3. Anxiety from being in an unfamiliar space

As territorial animals, dogs may not like being zoomed around in an unfamiliar environment. Whining is a common sign of anxiety. Leaving a few of your used clothes in the backseat may help a dog feel less stressed while in the car as your scent can be a source of comfort.

How to stop a dog from whining in the car

Distraction is one way to stop a dog from whining so much while in the car. Keep the dog distracted with his favorite toys and treats. Don’t, however, give the dog some treats while he or she is whining. The dog might think he is being rewarded for the whining behavior. Instead, give them the treat while the dog is in a relatively calm state so they know what is considered good behavior.

Dogs that suffer from car anxiety may benefit from being kept in a covered crate throughout the whole car journey. Preventing them from looking outside of the vehicle may help reduce the amount of stress-induced behaviors such as whining and crying.

You could also try playing some gentle music to block out the stressful traffic noise. Some dog owners have had luck keeping their dogs calm by playing jazz music.


  • Elaine S Valentine | 09/04/2021

    My pup whines when other people are in the car. He does not do it with me alone. They sit in his seat in the front. Think he’s jealous?

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