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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19798
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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My dog has developed anxiety when riding in a car. He never

Customer Question

My dog has developed anxiety when riding in a car. He never had this anxiety before. What would cause this sudden anxiety? His whole body is shaking like he is cold.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 7 years ago.
Hello,

There is not really an easy way to tell what the underlying cause was of this but many dogs will have anxiety in cars.

You can deal with it in a variety of ways:
1. De-sensitization by taking frequent short distance car rides to get him used to getting in and out of the car and showing him that there is nothing to worry about. Eventually work him up to normal car rides.
2. Try not to stimulate him or praise him when he is having these anxiety attacks. The best thing is to ignore it as if you stimulate him then it'll teach him he gets a positive response when he is stressing- showing him that this is the proper response to cars.
3. Medications- either Clomicalm, Alprazolam (Xanax) or Prozac. Any of these will help with behavior modification and anxiety. They can be obtained from your vet.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I would really like to know the cause for sudden anxiety when he did not display this behavior before.
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 7 years ago.
You're not going to ever find out the cause- it may have been a bad experience he had when getting into/ out of the car, it may have been something he heard/ saw while in the car or it may have been from falling off a seat or even nausea experienced while in the car.

There are many possibilities, unfortunately you'll probably never know why. The main thing now is to re-create a positive experience for him every time he gets in the car and to reward normal reactions and not reward the negative reactions of anxiety.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok thanks!
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 7 years ago.
You're welcome.

Don't forget to click accept so I may be compensated for my time. Thanks!