Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Why Does My Dog Drool in the Car? 5 Reason, How to Stop It & FAQ

Ed Malaker

By Ed Malaker

dog drooling

Many dogs drool, and it can be an especially common occurrence with Saint Bernards, Bulldogs, Great Danes, and similar dog breeds. For many owners, though, their dog’s drooling gets much worse when they are riding in the car. This is typically because the dog is excited, but they could also have motion sickness. If this happens to your dog, keep reading for other possible explanations, along with tips that might help reduce this behavior so you both can have a better time on your adventures.


The 5 Reasons Why Your Dog Drools More Than Usual in the Car

1. Motion Sickness

american bulldog drooling inside the car
Image Credit: Maria Dryfhout, Shutterstock

One of the primary reasons for excessive drooling during car rides is motion sickness. Dogs can experience discomfort and nausea when subjected to the jostling and movement of a moving vehicle, and the discomfort can lead to excessive drooling, which is their way of dealing with an uncomfortable situation.

What Can You Do About It?
  • If your dog has difficulty with car rides due to motion sickness, you can use a harness or carrier to keep them more stable while they get used to the car’s movement. Keeping the car cool can also help, and you can bring along a favorite toy or piece of clothing to help them feel more comfortable. Distracting them with games and songs can help keep them more relaxed and may take their mind off being on the road.

2. Anxiety and Stress

Dogs are creatures of habit, and changing their routine or environment can induce stress and anxiety. Car rides can be intimidating for some dogs, especially if they associate them with unpleasant experiences like visits to the veterinarian or if they haven’t gotten used to them yet, which can result in excessive drooling. Other signs of stress and anxiety can include trembling, panting, and quivering. They may also try to avoid getting into the car.

What Can You Do About It?
  • To reduce stress-induced drooling, gradually acclimate your dog to car rides. Start with short trips, and create positive associations with the car by offering treats and praise.

3. Excitement

dog in ride sharing car
Image Credit: Andrey Popov, Shutterstock

One of the most likely reasons behind excessive drooling in the car is excitement. Many dogs may become overly enthusiastic about car rides, and their bodies may react by producing more saliva, resulting in excessive drool. You will also likely see plenty of tail wagging, and the dog will move quickly from window to window, trying to see everything.

What Can You Do About It?
  • While excitement-induced drooling is usually harmless, you can manage it by ensuring that your dog is well-hydrated before the ride and keeping them cool and comfortable during the journey. It might also help to take them for a walk or play with them for a while before the car ride so they can burn off excess energy. You can also try to train them to stay still in the car, which might help them from getting too excited, and reward them with treats and praise when they behave.

4. Thirsty

It may seem strange, but thirsty dogs tend to drool more than usual, and the excitement of a car ride can cause them to run around and pant, which might cause them to get thirsty and start to drool.

What Can You Do About It?
  • The best way to help a thirsty dog is to provide them with plenty of fresh, clean water to drink. While they are usually happy to drink from a bowl, a water fountain keeps the water moving, so there is less risk of bacteria, and it likely tastes better. On the road, you can bring a collapsible water bowl or even a dog-friendly water bottle.

5. Heatstroke

Belgian Sheepdog
Image Credit: andrescarlofotografia, Pixabay

Unfortunately, the elevated temperatures that can occur in a vehicle can cause a dog to go into heat stroke, which can lead to excessive drooling. Heatstroke is a dangerous situation that can occur in only a few minutes when the car is too hot, and it can also result in collapse or even death.

What Can You Do About It?
  • The best way to prevent your pet from getting heat stroke is to avoid allowing them to enter a vehicle until it has had time to air out and to never leave them inside with the windows rolled up. Ensure that they have plenty of ventilation if you need to leave the car for a few minutes, such as to fill up on gas. Monitor your dog closely for signs of them getting too warm, and provide them with plenty of fresh water to keep them hydrated.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Medication to Prevent My Dog From Getting Motion Sick in the Car?

Medications are available to help your dog with motion sickness in the car. However, it’s best to discuss this option with your vet to ensure that it’s the best alternative, as they may just need time to get used to the movement of a vehicle through increasingly long rides and training.

Is It Safe to Let My Dog Stick Their Head Out of the Car Window During a Ride?

Allowing your dog to put their head out of the car window can be unsafe. It exposes them to debris and potential hazards and can lead to ear and eye injuries despite their fast reflexes. Keeping your dog secured inside the vehicle during the ride is always best.

Can I Use Calming Products or Supplements to Help My Dog Relax During Car Rides?

Yes, various calming products and supplements are available for dogs that can help reduce anxiety and stress during car rides. Most include ginger, chamomile, hemp, or other natural ingredients to help some dogs feel more relaxed during the ride. Consult your veterinarian to find the right product and dosage for your dog.

How Can I Make Car Rides a More Enjoyable Experience for My Dog in the Long Term?

To make car rides enjoyable for your dog for the long term, focus on desensitization, positive reinforcement, and creating positive associations with the car. Consistency, patience, and gradual exposure will help your dog become more comfortable, and many dogs look forward to going in the car once they get used to it.

German shephered dog sitting near car with leash in her mouth
Image Credit: Olga Ovcharenko, Shutterstock



Most dogs drool excessively in the car because they are excited to go for a ride. It’s a real joy for many pets, and few things are more exciting, so the drooling always seems to get out of control. Positive reinforcement training can help keep them calm in the car so they don’t get so excited, which might reduce the amount of drool. The thrill might wear off as they age, and with less excitement comes less drool.

Dogs can also drool due to motion sickness, anxiety, and heatstroke, so it’s important to watch your dog carefully, especially if they don’t seem excited, and never leave them in the car with the windows up, as it only takes a few minutes to reach dangerous temperatures.

Featured Image Credit: Vladimir Konstantinov, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database