[Q&A] Dog Pooping in back Of Car. How To Fix This!
Published On Feb 23,2023
Hi Charlotte, advice on how to stop my dog feeling anxious and pooping in the back of the car. She is ok when one of us is holding her but that is not always possible and if I put her in the back of the car (4wd wagon) she carries on and does a big poop which gets everywhere! I think she is stressed? We are hoping to take her a lot of places and would like her comfortable and enjoying the car…
Many puppies get anxious in the car when first starting out. The first thing to figure out is whether your puppy is getting carsick, or whether it is stress-related.
With carsickness in dogs we often commonly see excessive drooling, pacing, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Whereas with car/travel-related stress, we tend to see a higher reluctance for the puppy to get in the car in the first place (i.e. refusing to get in the car, struggling when you pick up the puppy to put them in), shaking when they see the car etc. You’ll also may hear whining and seeing the puppy trying to climb out or escape. You’d also see excessive drooling, panting, lip licking, and potentially diarrhoea and vomiting.
The signs for these are fairly similar – go with your gut feeling on which you feel Your puppy is experiencing (it may even be a bit of each, i.e. initial car stress fuelling the car sickness).
If you think it’s carsickness, my advice would be to start transporting Your puppy in the front seat of your car, using a restraint such as a crate or doggy seatbelt. It’s less bumpy in the front of your car and Your puppy can see you. Start with small trips to get your puppy used to being in the car and slowly increase travel time. Make sure you don’t feed Your puppy before car trips as this will make her feel sicker. If the issue persists, consider visiting your vet who may prescribe some anti-nausea meds.
If you think it’s just car/travel-related stress, again start transporting Your puppy in the front of the car with you. If we can get Your puppy happily sitting up front with you, it will be easy to start putting her in the back of the car when she’s older. Training-wise, start with small training sessions inside the car. For the first few training sessions, give Your puppy some treats for getting in the car, don’t turn the car on. Place Your puppy in the car and give several rewards then take her out. Never reward Your puppy for getting out of the car – otherwise they’ll see getting out of the car as beneficial. By only rewarding her for getting in the car, she’ll start to see getting in as being more beneficial to them than getting out. Remember, dogs do things that benefit them – if they don’t see the value in it for them, they won’t see any purpose for doing it. Then, slowly increase the duration Your puppy is in the car while the engine is turned off. Then, try turning the engine on for short bursts, then increasing the time the engine is running. Then, take short trips down the driveway, then down the street and so on, gradually increasing the duration.