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A Guide To Help Your Chihuahua Overcome Car Anxiety

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Most dogs are hardwired to enjoy car rides, and experts say that because our canine companions are naturally sensitive and curious.

4 chihuahuas looking out the back of a car

They get particularly excited about car trips since they gain new information about their surroundings while traveling.

But if your chihuahua is more likely to cower or whine while you’re out for a drive, then it’s likely that your fur baby is experiencing anxiety or car sickness. Helping your pet to feel secure while traveling is essential for their health and everyone’s safety, so to help your chi feel better, here’s a guide to overcoming their car anxiety. 

Get a travel buddy to look after your chi

If you’re going to the vet or doing a grocery run, then you’re probably fine just driving alone with your pooch. But if you’ll be driving for hours or are going on a road trip, then you may need a travel buddy to look after your chi while you’re behind the wheel.

Your companion can comfort your crying or whining pet, so you’re free to focus on the road. If you can’t find someone to go with you, then you’ll have to take some measures to ensure that you stay safe while attending to the needs of your pet during your trip.

For instance, if you always rely on navigation apps on your phone to get to places and find your way during road trips, consider installing a GPS navigator system in your car. This device allows you to do hands-free way-finding so you can give your pet a reassuring pat once they start getting fussy during your long drive. 

Check your pet for signs of nausea

Most chihuahuas whine or cry during car rides due to nausea, so it may be a good idea to ask your vet to prescribe an anti-nausea medication to soothe your pet’s tummy. You may also want to feed your chi some canned pumpkin before leaving home as it can help to relieve an upset stomach or indigestion.

In case your chi vomits in the car, pull up on the side of the road so you can clean up, then make sure to give your pet a little water to prevent dehydration.

chihuahua looking out of a car window

Give your chi some fresh air

Traveling in a hot car can make your pet anxious, so keep the interior temperature cool and don’t put a blanket on your chi unless they need it.

Every two hours or so, open the windows to let some fresh air in, but don’t lower it to the point that there’s enough space for your chi to jump out.

Consider stopping at a park or a rest stop so you and your chihuahua can stretch your legs and go for a short walk.

If your chi feels up to it, try playing fetch for at least 20 minutes so your dog can release some of that nervous energy. Doing so will allow your chi to be more relaxed for the rest of your trip. 

Car rides should be fun for your pet, so try these tips to reduce your chihuahua’s car anxiety. In time, your fur baby will look forward to more trips, and both of you will have an enjoyable time while on the road. 
Planning a road trip with your Chihuahua


Thursday 10th of December 2020

Cecilia is about 13 yrs old and loves the "bye bye" phrase. As soon as i get going more than 10mph--its like clock work, she begins to pant as if she is going to hyperventilate. I try to calm her and I hate leaving her home all the time. This is a new "thing". Friends have recommended a sedative and I researched a holistic approach and if i was consistent it may prove to be the solution, I just dont want a "sleepy pup" all the time when were home. Comments Suggestions?


Thursday 10th of December 2020

Did anyone suggest CBD oil? It tends to calm them but shouldn't make them overly sleepy and you can give it to them a half hour before leaving.

Joan Sardina

Sunday 3rd of May 2020

Our dog is anxious and whines while we are going someplace until it is time to go home. He is absolutely fine on the way home! He is a real homebody!!


Sunday 3rd of May 2020

LOL, yeah he does sound like a homebody.


Friday 1st of May 2020

THANK YOU for providing this information!! I am working on this with Chica. Some days she is really good about car rides, other days, not so much. Is it wrong if she is in the front passenger seat (in her secured car seat), where I can at least keep my hand near to hear and pet her as I drive. I have found this helps her to calm the anxiety at times. Again, love reading your information as it helps me being a first time Chi owner. :)


Friday 1st of May 2020

Glad it was helpful to you Cindy. No, I don't think it's wrong. Mine are usually in the front with me too.