Why Does My Dog Drool in the Car? Understanding the 4 Causes

Dogs may drool for umpteen reasons, varying from physical to psychological causes. Occasional drooling isn’t harmful or alarming in dogs. It may happen for several reasons like your dog could have encountered an unusual scent during one of his walks.

It could even be the scent of food in the vicinity that compels your dog to drool. The reason for drooling may even be because of stress or anxiousness. There are also medical causes, like dental infections, injury, mouth or lip irritation, etc.

What if your dog’s drooling is limited to when he travels in the car? It seems to be a case of motion sickness. Let us elaborate on it more and know the possible reasons behind the same.

Why Drooling in Car Occurs in Dogs?

Why Drooling in Car Occurs in Dogs

Each time you decide to take your canine in the car for a joy ride or to the vet, it might be a dreadful experience if your dog indulges in excessive drooling. If your dog only drools when he is in the car, then it isn’t worrisome.

Motion sickness is the main reason behind the same. Let us get a more detailed insight into it.

Motion Sickness – The Main Reason Behind Drooling

Motion Sickness - The Main Reason Behind Drooling

When your dog feels sick in the stomach, he will instantly express his discomfort through drooling excessively. Besides salivating, your dog will also show other gestures, like whining, licking his lips, or pacing up and down in the car seat.

As an alternative behavior, your dog could also not move at all, possibly because of the stress or anxiety the ride has triggered. If the drooling is because of the car ride, it will cease once the car ride stops. Though dogs of any age are prone to motion sickness, puppies and younger canines are at a greater risk.

By the time the dogs are a year old, motion sickness eventually disappears. The reason is that their inner ear, which controls balance, isn’t adequately developed when they are young.



It could even be that your dog doesn’t have motion sickness, but the car ride makes him anxious and stressed, triggering drooling. He may relate it to a negative experience. It could be that the last time you took him by car, he landed at the vet and had a painful experience.

So, during his next car ride, his anxiety levels will likely be relatively high as the memories of the previous ride might come to his mind. When stressed or anxious, your dog will not only drool. You will find him highly restless, having trouble settling in the car.

When your dog is drooling, understanding if he has motion sickness or anxiety will be a little challenging. Sometimes, motion sickness and anxiety may even happen simultaneously, and it is difficult to distinguish one from the other.

Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke

Another cause for your dog’s drooling could be a heat stroke . It will likely happen most if you leave your dog inside a hot car. If you have a brachycephalic breed like a Pug or a French Bulldog, then their risk of heat stroke is greater. So, you’ve got to be extra careful.

Besides excessive drooling, your dog will also show other signs if he has a heat stroke. These include heavy panting, breathing difficulties, increased drowsiness, and lethargic behavior. His movements are uncoordinated. Your dog may even vomit and collapse in severe cases.

Other Reasons

Though motion sickness is the main reason behind your dog’s drooling in the car, there may be other causes as well. Let’s take a look at each one of them in detail.

  • When your dog has a tumor inside his esophagus, mouth, or throat, or a dental infection, that could lead to drooling. However, in such cases, your dog will not just drool in the car but during other times also.
  • Another instance could be that your dog sees something small inside the car during travel and immediately pops it into his mouth. If a foreign object gets lodged into his throat, that could even result in drooling. So, if your dog doesn’t have motion sickness but suddenly starts drooling during one of his car rides, you could take a quick look inside his mouth.
  • Your dog will also drool if he has underlying conditions like liver or kidney problems, neurological disorders, and bacterial or viral infections.

What to Do if Your Dog is Drooling in the Car?

What to Do if Your Dog is Drooling in the Car

That shouldn’t be concerning if your dog drools occasionally during his car ride. However, if it is a regular affair, you must find ways to help him overcome the problem. Here is what you can do.

For Motion Sickness

Desensitizing your dog to car rides may solve the problem to a greater extent. It may not happen instantly but over a considerable period. Simultaneously, you could even talk with the vet about medications to help ease nausea in dogs and the associated symptoms.

You could even go the natural way and opt for herbal therapies to ease motion sickness in your dog. Contacting a canine herbalist in this regard will help. Aromatherapy is also a helpful remedy to help dogs with motion sickness.

Lavender plays a significant role in helping dogs with nausea due to motion sickness. You can spray chamomile or lavender oil on your dog’s blanket and place it on the car when taking him out. If you are worried about the effectiveness of essential oils for your dog, talk to the vet.

For Anxiety Issues

For Anxiety Issues

If your dog has travel anxiety, you can fix it by beginning with many short trips before progressing to long ones. Sit in the car along with your dog and start the engine. Do not move, but just stay there for a few minutes. After that, stop the engine and take your dog indoors.

If he cooperates, you must even reward him positively. The next step would be to take the car up to the driveaway. When your dog responds well, increase the time limit slowly but gradually. This way, your dog will get accustomed to the car ride and overcome his anxiety.

Also, if you take your dog by car only to get to the groomer’s or the vet’s office, then it’s pretty natural that your dog will get stressed. So, take him out for fun rides, maybe to a dog park or the beach. In this way, your dog will understand that a car ride doesn’t only mean work; it also means enjoyment.

For Heat Stroke

This is a serious issue; if proper preventive measures are not taken, it could affect your dog’s health. Leaving your dog in a hot car is a no-no, as it may even prove fatal for your canine.

If your dog has overheated because you kept him inside the hot car or took him for a ride on a warm day, cool him down as soon as possible. Offer him cool water to drink. You may even put a wet washcloth on his groin, neck, and belly.


How do I get my dog to stop drooling in the car? 

If your dog is drooling in the car, you need to find out the trigger behind the same and address it immediately for an early resolution. Talk to the vet for medicinal or natural remedies if it’s due to motion sickness. The anxiety issues can be solved by identifying the reason which caused it.

Do dogs grow out of car sickness? 

Yes, they may grow out of car sickness as they get old. Motion sickness can occur in any dog, and puppies are more susceptible to it than adult canines. This is because their ear structures supporting balance aren’t adequately developed.

Do dogs with anxiety drool?

Yes, when dogs are nervous or anxious, they tend to indulge in excessive drooling. They will show other signs, which include pacing up and down, whining constantly, yawning, licking, panting, etc.

Does it matter if I feed my dog before I take them in the car?

If your dog has motion sickness, it is advisable not to feed him before going out. That could trigger vomiting once your dog is in the car, leading to a complete mess. Instead, feeding your dog about 3-4 hours before leaving for work is advisable to avoid car sickness.

What OTC medications can I give my dog for motion sickness?

The two medicines mostly preferred for motion sickness include Dramamine and Benadryl. They are antihistamines and are likely to produce sedative effects. The best dosage to give these medicines to your dog is after a span of every eight hours. You should never give your dog any medicine without consulting the vet.


Motion sickness isn’t problematic; you could help your dog overcome it with proper management techniques. However, if your dog drools in the car and at other times, you should get him checked by a vet.

However, it is also essential to know that some breeds are heavy droolers, like the Saint Bernard, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Dane, and Mastiff. So, if you are a parent to any of these breeds, be prepared for a messy affair.

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