Any advice for a dog who is terrified to ride in the car?

Any advice for a dog who is terrified to ride in the car?

There are many reasons why a dog might be terrified to ride in a car. First, and a common reason, is that they get carsick. Another is the fast motion of things passing by; cars, trees, houses, etc. Then there are unfamiliar external noises and a fourth reason can be, nowhere to hide.

You can first resolve the last possibility by trying a crate. Especially for those who regularly use a crate in daily life, this may solve it. Also check whether having it covered or open makes a difference. And slide that sun roof shade closed.

If that doesn’t fix it, then you are in for several weeks of deprogramming. This is done on a gradient and you must be patient and do all of the steps. Omitting some and jumping ahead could set you back and then a second attempt may not achieve the resolution.


You + dog go sit in the back seat of the car. Start with only 5 minutes or at least quit before any fear signs start. This is one-on-one interaction. Visiting, brushing, petting, giving snacks… This first go-round may be less productive than hoped because of what they expect to happen. Do this daily or at least every other day until pooch shows no concerns and is actually happy to be there.  Could be days or could be weeks. Increase the length of time spent in the car, up to 20 minutes. Longer if you feel necessary.


Mastering Step 1 we are now ready to turn on the engine. Get in car as in Step 1 for a few minutes. Then start the car and return to the back seat for the same as done before. Continue this daily to every other day gradually increasing the time spent in the car until they are not concerned and somewhat relaxed about the whole scene. DO NOT use your high-pitched sympathy voice in an effort to calm them. Use a confident assured tone that you are in charge and all is going to be fine.


Same as Step 2 but after a few minutes in back seat you now move to the front seat, leaving the pooch alone where ever the riding position is going to be. If needed, repeat the same comforting phrases you found in Steps 1 and 2. Otherwise, have a conversation that will serve as a distraction. If this is not going well then back up and continue Step 2 a bit longer.


Now you will have everything set up as in Step 3 except that you will put the car in gear and move in and out of the driveway. But not leaving the driveway. Just reverse then forward.  Wait a bit sitting there with engine on, then repeat. Figure out what is the right gradient for this. Continue for days or weeks until it is “no big deal.”


Around the block!  Do not go too far. Make it a very short distance. Go, come home, get out, done. Repeat for days to weeks.


Around the block. Stop and get out for a bit. Do something fun. Keep it short. Get back in car and go home.


Gradually over time increase the distance gone, places visited, treats given, whatever your pooch believes made the car ride worthwhile. Including praise and hugs. Lots of them!

Happy traveling!!

Join Dr. Ava Frick at the Dog Anxiety Summit!

Join Me at the Dog Anxiety Summit!

A recent study of 13,700 dogs in Finland found that up to 70% of dogs show signs of anxiety!

But that’s not the scary part… The scary part is that most pet owners miss these signs.


Urinating or defecating in the house.



Destructive behavior.


Excessive barking.


…could all mean that your dog has serious anxiety issues that need to be looked at immediately or it could wreak havoc on the rest of their health.

Fortunately, Integrative Veterinarian, Dr. Edward Bassingthwaighte has partnered with Pet Summits to bring you the very first Dog Anxiety Summit. It’s completely online and free from September 2 to 7.

Dr. Edward has brought together 21+ world-leading veterinarians, dog trainers, and anxiety experts.

They’ll dive deep into what is causing your dog’s anxiety and how you can overcome it using natural and holistic solutions! You won’t want to miss this free event!

This summit is designed for pet owners who are looking for ways to help their dogs live happier, calmer and stress-free lives.

You can get started right now by registering here!

The line-up of incredible speakers at this summit includes Dr. Ava Frick, Laurie Edge Hughes, Dr. Jeff Feinman, Dr. Ian Dunbar, Dr. Theresa Welch Fossum, and many more.

It’s absolutely FREE for a limited time (September 2-7) plus it’s completely online so there’s nothing stopping you from joining!

You’ll get to mingle with a community of like-minded pet parents who are committed to improving their pets’ quality of life through better health and lifestyle choices.

We’re excited about what we can do together as we learn more about this important topic that affects our companion animals!

Click here now for registration information so you can join us at the Dog Anxiety Summit today!!!

Gus, the dog, in 50 states

Featured Pet of the Month:

Meet Gus, who is on a mission to play fetch in all 50 states! Before and after his excursions Gus checks in with Dr. Ava Frick at Animal Rehab St. Louis for function, mobility and nutrition.

Dr. Ava Frick’s PAW SPA

Paw Spa with your dog or cat has 5 benefits:

  • To help release from the pads any toxins that are adhered and could lead to future disease.
  • Massaging specific reflexology points in the paw can help those organs be stimulated, improve circulation, and aid in detoxing.
  • The doTERRA Lime and Wild Orange oils used are uplifting, antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, restorative, and tonifying for immune and digestion.
  • A quiet time for you to share with your fur baby.
  • Can reduce the mental stress that accompanies having feet handled and make future nail trimming easier.


  • 1 teaspoon Epsom salt to the Paw Spa bowl.
  • 3 drops of doTERRA essential oil, Lime or Mandarin Orange, to the bowl for dogs under 50#, and 5 drops of oil for dogs over 50#.
  • Add warm water (to dissolve the Epsom salt) enough volume to allow the foot to be covered. Swirl to mix.
  • For large dogs: Start by soaking the dog’s rear paws – 2 to 5 minutes. Sometimes the dog will tell you when they are done soaking if they’ve been standing still and try to step out after a few minutes. Pat the paws dry. Repeat the same with the front paws.
  • For small dogs: Soak the 2 rear paws in 1 bowl and 2 front paws in 1 bowl. Soak 2 to 5 minutes. Pat paws dry.
  • Have the dog lay down for the paw massage. Apply coconut oil to your palm and rub on pads of paw.
    • Start by doing clockwise circles, slowly increasing pressure, on the divot above the large pad.
    • Rub each pad in a clockwise circle with the tips of your thumbs, making sure to spend time massaging the outer part of each pad where the pressure points are. Focus on any specific organ point where your dog may be experiencing difficulty.
    • Apply direct pressure to the center of each pad, holding the pressure 5 seconds.
    • Rub circles down each toe. When you are finished, pull straight pressure down each toe, stretching them out.
  • Enjoy this special time with your fur-baby!

Treating the horses at Ride On St. Louis

Thank you Ride on St. Louis for writing this great article about my services! We love helping your horses so they can help achieve your mission of sharing love, strength, and joy.

Ride on St. Louis wrote:

Dr. Ava Frick, DVM, CVC, FAIS, a pioneer in the field of animal rehabilitation Dr. Frick earned her veterinary degree in 1980, a certification in Animal Chiropractic in 1997 and a proficiency certification in Herbal Phytotherapy in 2006. Her focus on physiotherapy has spanned almost 20 years and was a pioneer in the field of animal rehabilitation. Dr. Frick is recognized as the world’s leading veterinary authority in the application of micro-current therapy for animals.

Dr. Frick recently visited our herd and has been treating the horses at Ride On St. Louis to support their movement, conformation, musculoskeletal function, neurological activity and overall health through chiropractic bodywork and nutrition. Horses experiencing altered nerve function and nonalignment may experience problems such as pain, abnormal posture, lameness, overloading of leg joints and muscle strain. Ensuring that our horses receive chiropractic attention decreases canceled programs due to injury/discomfort, increases benefits for clients and participants, prevents damage and veterinarian expense, and provides the care and attention that our special horses deserve to stay fit and comfortable throughout all life stages.

We are thankful for Dr. Frick’s expertise and her generosity in donating many products and services throughout the years. Dr. Frick’s visits are made possible through the competitive equine welfare grant seeking efforts of Ride On St. Louis.

Live Presentation by Dr. Ava Frick at Equine Affaire in Ohio

Dr. Ava Frick did a live presentation of equine chiropractic at the Equine Affair in Ohio. Her presentation was warmly received.

Here are some photos from the presentation:

Equine Affair Presentation Dr. Ava Frick Horse Chiropractic Animal Chiropractor

Equine Affair Presentation Dr. Ava Frick Horse Chiropractic Animal Chiropractor

Equine Affair Presentation by Dr. Ava Frick