Dog Whining in the Car? 5 Reasons Why & How To Stop It (2024)

A Shih Tzu wearing a pink cloth harness sitting in a car.

Most dogs love going for a ride, unless, of course, they know they’re heading to the vet.

While the majority of dogs are always eager for a car ride no matter how short, others don’t seem to enjoy it at all.

If your dog is whining in the car, it could mean many different things, and if you want to make your dog more comfortable and your trips more enjoyable, it can be beneficial to find out the reason for the whining. 

Why does my dog whine in the car? Dogs may whine in the car due to being excited, nervous, or fearful, or they might think they are heading to the vet. Additionally, dogs may whine when they aren’t feeling well or simply feel like being vocal. Observe your dog’s body language to determine if he is scared or happy when in the car.

If your dog whines in the car and you want to know the reason behind the behavior, read on to learn more. 

5 Reasons Why Dogs Whine in the Car

Some dogs like car rides and others don’t. Whether your dog is trying to show you he enjoys being in the car or doesn’t want to take the ride, he may vocalize his opinions by whining.

Here are some reasons why your dog may whine in the car.

1. Excitement & Anticipation

Your dog may be nervous in the car or could be excited. Dogs often vocalize their feelings by whining and barking. If your dog is whining, it may not be out of fear but more so out of excitement.

He may enjoy car rides and get impatient waiting for the car to start moving. If your dog seems to whine before a car ride and is eager to hop right in, the whining may be out of excitement.

If he whines and refuses to get in the car, it may be out of fear.

2. Think They Are on the Way to the Vet

If your dog only rides in the car to go to veterinarian appointments, he may associate car rides with going to the vet, which can be a stressful experience for dogs.

Taking your dog to other places in the car can alleviate this fear, and he’ll learn to associate car rides with positive experiences. 

3. Fear or Anxiety

Some dogs have fear and anxiety over car rides. They may get sick in the car or just not like the feeling of the car moving.

When they whine, they are trying to tell you they are scared and don’t want to go.

4. Not Feeling Well

If your dog usually likes car rides but suddenly starts whining when it’s time to go in the car, he may not be feeling well.

When dogs aren’t feeling well, they usually prefer to rest and sleep at home and may not enjoy their usual activities. 

Also, some dogs experience motion sickness just like some people do. If your dog whines before getting sick in the car – well, at least he tried to warn you.

5. Just Being Vocal

Dogs express themselves in different ways. A whine doesn’t always mean the dog is unhappy or nervous; it can sometimes mean he is excited or just wants to be vocal about the ride.

A Golden Retriever mix not looking too happy about being in the car.

How To Quiet Your Dog in the Car

If your dog whines a lot in the car and you want him to be quiet, you’ll need to teach him simple commands to be less vocal.

You can also offer your dog treats to distract him. These tiny all-natural morsels are just the right size, and dogs love the flavors!

You can also make sure your dog takes plenty of car rides so he gets used to the car and will be less likely to be scared or overly excited when it comes time to get in the car. 

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Safety Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

If you are going to be traveling with your dog in the car, there are some safety tips to keep in mind to make the trip more enjoyable and safer for both you and your pooch. 

  • Use a crate to keep the dog calm and secure in the car.
  • Have identification for your dog in the event that he gets lost.
  • Use a barrier to keep your dog in the back seat so he can’t jump up front and distract you from driving. 
  • Stop often to provide your dog with water and bathroom breaks.
  • Keep your dog on a leash when traveling, and use a dog seat belt when in the car.

Related Questions: 

Why Do Dogs Like Car Rides?

Dogs are stimulated by different things in the environment, and they love to take rides because it introduces them to new sights, sounds, and smells.

It also allows them to socialize with other dogs and people as well as spend time with their families. 

What Can I Give My Dog for Motion Sickness?

Dramamine is often prescribed to dogs that have severe motion sickness.

If you are going on a car trip and you know your dog will get sick, you can ask your veterinarian to prescribe the medication before you leave.

You can also try crating your dog in the car to see if it helps the dog feel better. 


If your dog does not do well in the car, there are many options to consider. If your dog is scared, introducing them to shorter trips more often can help reduce this fear.

You can also take your dog to a veterinarian to get a prescription for anxiety medications or motion sickness medications that may help make car rides more enjoyable for your dog.

Last update on 2024-07-22 at 13:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API