When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why Do Dogs Pant In The Car?

Imagine you and your dog in your car on a sunny afternoon.

Your furry friend’s head is outside the window as he feels the breeze.

It is you and your dog against the world.

However, you’ve noticed your dog is always anxious when they get to the car.

They pant throughout the journey and do not like fun car rides.

Why do they have anxiety? Can you do something about it?

This article will tell you everything you need to know.

What is Dog Panting?

Panting is respiration in dogs.

It helps in oxygen uptake and body temperature regulation.

Panting is also how they ensure that oxygen reaches their bloodstream.

Dogs can’t sweat. Instead, they pant to cool their body temperatures.

Through panting, dogs can switch cold and hot air and also evaporate the moisture from their tongues.

Dogs can pant anytime, anywhere.

They do it while sleeping, walking, or during car rides.

Why is Your Dog Panting in the Car?

dog panting out car window


As stated earlier, dogs do not sweat like people.

Their thick furry coats do not let them cool off through sweating.

Sometimes they can sweat through paws and other areas.

However, panting is the method they use to regulate body temperatures.

When there is excessive heat, you will notice that dog pants a lot more.

This way, they can switch hot air with cold air and lower their body temperatures.

Body Pain

Panting can also be a telltale sign that your furry buddy is in pain.

It is like labored breathing in people when in pain.

This panting could be slightly different compared to overheating panting.

You will notice your dog panting heavily, shutting his eyes while his tongue remains outside.

If you suspect that your dog is in pain, monitor their behavior.

If they pant in waves, it could be one of the signs.

The panting could be due to physical injury such as ligament tearing due to old age.

An internal problem such as bloating or parasitic infection can also make it hard to breathe.


Dehydration in dogs can lead to panting. Dehydration comes due to overheating.

However, dogs can feel thirsty and dehydrated during cold seasons.

If your dog does not take a lot of water, it can become dehydrated.

A dog needs to drink water before doing any activity.

Whether taking them for a walk or a car ride, drinking water will help prevent dehydration.

Motion Sickness

Dogs can get motion sickness due to fast-moving sights and rocking.

This mostly happens in pups who are not used to car rides.

Motion sickness is accompanied by nausea and sometimes vomiting.

It is an uncomfortable feeling for dogs that can make them pant a lot during a car ride.


When the car ride is a new experience, dogs will exhibit anxiety.

They express stress and other high-grade emotions through panting.

A mixture of both terror and excitement could cause them to have this reaction towards car rides.

Seeing fast-moving objects can make them have anxiety.


Pain, motion sickness, or anxiety could not be the reason for heavy panting.

Maybe your dogs want to sit in the front seat.

They are uncomfortable in the back.

Bigger dogs can also have a problem sitting well on a car seat.

Car seats do not suit pets, and their frustration in getting comfy can lead to panting.

What Can You Do To Calm Your Dog Down?

There are many triggers for excitement and anxiety.

It could be the fast-moving objects or honking the horn that makes them anxious.

They can get excited or afraid over the busy environment that they are not used to at home.

One way to calm your dog is to train him.

You can reward him for calm behavior.

Start taking your dog for regular car rides.

After turning off your engine, let him calm down before opening the door.

Your dog expects to get out of the car suddenly and go outside.

But, once you change his expectations, it can calm them down.

Ensure you reward the calm behavior every time.

Calming him down does not take two seconds.

It will test your patience for a few days before they learn.

Ensure that you do not interact with your dog at all during this moment.

Consistency is essential during this process because it will fasten the learning process.

How To Prevent Excessive Panting

There are various ways you can help reduce your dog’s excessive panting;

  • Check the weather- If the weather is too hot, do not leave your dog in the car for too long. The heat can lead to dehydration which leads to excessive panting. Before taking your dog outside, ensure that the temperatures are favorable for them.
  • Go to the vet- Health issues can lead to excessive panting. A regular visit to the vet for a check-up to ensure your dog is healthy.
  • Give your dog water- Dehydration is one of the reasons dogs keep panting a lot. Remember to always hydrate them by providing clean and fresh water before leaving.
  • Give your dog new experiences- Train your pup to stay calm when they see a new thing. Always introduce your dog to new things; car rides, interaction with other dogs, or a walk to the park.
  • Comfort Your Dog- Whenever your dogs feel anxiety, fear, or excitement, hug them. They will forget all about their emotions and concentrate on you.
  • Provide a comfortable environment- To avoid motion sickness, always ensure your dogs are comfortable. You can buy a special dog seat specifically designed for them.

Can You Cure Your Dog’s Anxiety?

If all the solutions listed above did not work for your dog, there are various treatments.

Some over-the-counter drugs help dogs with anxiety.

However, it is essential to visit your vet to figure out the exact cause of anxiety.

They will decide if your pup needs medication or more practice.

Car rides with a dog can be fun.

However, the opposite of this can happen if your dog is excessively panting.

You need to know the cause of the panting.

It could be motion sickness or just a case of dehydration.

Luckily, there are solutions to this problem.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

National Canine Research Association of America