A Droolin' Fool

Both of our Border Collies drool a lot in the car. As soon as they get in the car, even before it is started up, they are little fountains. They both seem to do better if the window is down or they have access to an A/C duct that is blowing on high. We end up sticking one in the back and the other in the front, each on their own towels, just so one person doesn't have to sit next to a lake. What do you think?

Border Collies drool for four reasons: nervousness, sexual arousal, illness, or overexcitement. Drooling in the car is almost inevitably a result of nervousness. Many dogs will drool immediately after being put in the car, even before the car is moving or turned on. Much of this is psychosomatic, rather than a result of actually feeling ill. Many dogs and puppies will drool as a result of being nervous - either from the strange movement and sounds of the car or as a slight fear of actually becoming ill. When they get carsick, they throw up - plain and simple. Drooling is often the first sign of this, though many dogs will throw up without actually ever drooling and others will drool for eons and never throw up.

Solutions are several, though which one will work for you is matter of trial and error.

1) Crating or placing the dog in a seatwell might cure the problem if the dog is becoming nervous or sick with visual cues. Eliminating those often helps.

2) Practice. Putting the dog in the car at times when you go nowhere, or just for short jaunts around the block will help ease the nervousness of the dog. Just like any activity that makes you nervous, the more you practice it, the better you feel about it (except for golf maybe).

3) Time. Many dogs outgrow this, especially if it occurs in puppyhood.

4) Administration of ginger or motion sickness pills before your trip. Many people swear by ginger. The motion sickness pills do work though.

5) I've had good luck by allowing really nervous dogs to ride in close physical contact with another dog or on a person's lap. Simply feeling secure and supported by another being is enough to relieve the anxiety.

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Page last updated April 1, 1997. All material Copyright 2004 Border Collie Rescue, Inc. and Dr. Nicholas B. Carter
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