So, you finally arrive at your destination with your dog and go to let them out of the car and-- wow, the seat is filled with drool!

You might be concerned or thought this was normal behavior. Well, you shouldn’t necessarily be worried but it’s also something that should be addressed if it’s ptyalism (the medical term for “excessive drooling”).  If you’ve been in this situation and thought, “Why does my dog drool in the car?”, then you’ve come to the right place.

dog drooling in car

This article will go over the most common reasons your pup becomes a slob machine when they go for a ride and what you can do about it.

Why Is My Dog Drooling When We Go On Car Rides?

Okay, drool and dogs go hand and hand, especially if there is a tasty treat involved. But when we see our dog drooling over the car seat-- no food in sight-- what is going on? The most common reason is actually car sick. Think about when you need to vomit, typically, your mouth fills with saliva to help with the process.

But there could be serious, more dire reasons why your dog is drooling on car rides.

They’re Getting Car Sick

Motion sickness can hit dogs the same way it does for humans. Sometimes it’s from the swaying back and forth that upsets the stomach. Other times, if a dog (or even yourself) can’t see out of the window, it can cause motion sickness. And there are times when the speed of everything the dog CAN see causes them to feel queasy.

You’ll notice the dog lick their lips more or even hear the growls and gurgles from their stomach if this is the case.

So what can you do about your dog’s care sickness? For one, take them on car rides more often (and for times other than vet visits!) so their body can get used to the motions of the car. There are also seat straps and holders that can keep the dog in place and allow them to face forward to reduce motion sickness from their eyes.

Also, one thing to keep in mind is that, while car sickness can happen at any age or for any breed, younger pups are more susceptible. Their ear canals haven’t developed enough for them to handle the car ride.

And if you do hear some weird stomach noises, pull over to let your dog vomit or their stomach settle. Cleaning up the mess on the seats can be a real pain.

And one final good time to avoid motion sickness in dogs is to not feed them directly before taking them on a ride. Give it a few hours for the food to digest.

Dogs Drool In The Car From Excitement/Anxiety

Sometimes, our dogs experience bouts of drooling when they are really excited. However, feelings of stress and anxiety can elicit the same response. So, how do you tell which is happening to your dog?

Look at the other behaviors. If s/he is wagging their tail, trying to lick your face, and barking, then it’s most likely their happy and excited. On the other hand, if they are whining with their tail tucked, then that’s a good sign they aren’t liking the situation.

For this, it’s best to take them on frequent car rides so they don’t get so excited/anxious about the car ride. It becomes part of their routine and they will handle it better.

One thing to remember is that a stressed/over-excited dog might be at risk of running away when you make a stop. That’s why it’s a good idea to equip them with a GPS collar like the ones provided by Fi. Fi’s collars provide 24/7 location and activity tracking to give you a little peace of mind.

dog in the back of a car

Dogs Drool More When They’re Thirsty Or Facing Heatstroke

Now, this is serious and should be looked out for if you see excessive drooling and panting. Dogs naturally drool more when they are dehydrated and need water.

And if they don’t get water to help regulate their body temperature, heatstroke could set in which could be fatal if not addressed. Remember, dogs don’t sweat-- so the AC might be nice and chilly for you but that doesn’t mean your dog feels the same.

It’s better to roll down the windows for better airflow and to keep them hydrated. And some breeds like Pugs and Boxers have a harder time panting to keep themselves cool, so it’s important to pay special attention if you have an at-risk breed.

Dogs Drool From Health Issues

Problems in your dog’s mouth and be the issue as well. While it’s normal for dogs to drool in most situations, it could be a sign of gum disease or tooth decay. In this case, you will see the gum line is sore for the dog and there will be signs of inflammation (red and swollen). This situation calls for a vet visit.

There are other health problems that lead to excessive drooling in dogs. Rabies can cause foam (which sometimes looks like dog drool) and spread to humans through bites and scratches. There could also be defects in the dog’s mouth that cause them to drool more.

Some other things to look out for are poisons, allergies, and other foreign substances. However, these are typically accompanied by other symptoms and behaviors. If you suspect any of these, please consult with your veterinarian.

In Conclusion

These are the most common reasons your dog drools in the car and what you should do about it. It won’t be fixed in one go, but with enough patience and diligence, your pup will be riding along with you and leave behind very little or no drool on the seats.

In the meantime, it’s best to follow our tips and travel with towels or other cleaning supplies to help with the mess while you get your dog used to being in the car.