Everyone can agree that the cutest dog pictures are those of them sticking their heads out the window while the car moves on. If you look at these kinds of pictures, you may be tempted to let your dog peek out the windows during a ride. However, is it bad for dogs to put their heads out the window?
While dogs enjoy putting their heads out the window due to the euphoric feeling of the different smells they perceive throughout the ride, it’s a bad habit. There are too many potential harms of letting your dog do this, most of which are easily preventable by keeping the windows closed.
It doesn’t matter how much your dog likes it or how cute the pictures of dogs with their heads out the window turn out; the fact remains that the practice is dangerous. This article will go into extensive detail as to why you should never try this at home.
Why Do Dogs Like Their Heads Out the Window?
If there are so many pictures of dogs in that specific posture, it must mean they like doing it. The question is, why do dogs like poking their heads out of the car window whenever they have a chance?
The reasons for this aren’t farfetched. The most basic explanation that encompasses all of the reasons, however, is that they simply enjoy the activity. For dogs, it’s simply the equivalent of watching the television.
But as television can be damaging to our eyes, this activity can also be damaging to your dog in various ways, but we want to stick to the whys here.
The primary reason why most dogs like looking out of the window during a car ride are because of the different scents they perceive throughout the ride. If you’re remotely interested in learning animal facts, you should already know that dogs have a far better sense of smell than we (humans) do.
While you can only perceive the strongest smells, your dog can tell the smell of almost everything as you cruise past. Sticking their heads out the window gives them a better smell of the environment than sitting relaxed in a chair.
While the smell is the primary motivation for most dogs you see looking out the window, dogs are also pretty good at listening and seeing too. By combining the three major observatory senses, they can have a satisfying view of their environment while you drive past.
Finally, the feeling of having the breeze blow against your face while a car speeds on is epic. While there is no proof that this is one of the motivators of dogs that put their heads out the window, it sounds like a very logical argument.
Whatever the reason why your dog likes staring out the window, you should refrain from allowing it at any time. There are better ways to keep your dog entertained in your vehicle without putting them at risk of various hazards, some of which I’ll explain later.
Is It Bad for Dogs to Put Their Head Out the Window?
While you wished it was perfectly normal for dogs to stick their heads out of the window during a car ride, we wished so too. Unfortunately, we don’t make the rules, and the expert opinion is unambiguous: allowing this action is hazardous for your dog.
Even for humans, exposing your head unprotected while the car cruises at 50 mph will be damaging in the long run. Since we found a way to mitigate those risks using a windshield, you should always help keep your dog protected.
Why Your Dog Should Never Put Its Head out the Window
At this point, it’s pretty clear that letting your dog stick its head out the window is pretty unacceptable. A question that lingers on the tongues of most dog owners after swallowing this hard pill is why.
Surely, the conclusion that your dog shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy some time with its head out the window isn’t just an anecdotal recommendation. Here are some of the real-world dangers of letting your dog stick its head out the window of your car.
1. Risk of falling
While this sounds like an unlikely scenario, it isn’t very unlikely. There have been reports of dogs falling out of the window of cars during a ride, and let your dog put its head out the window only builds up to that.
If you think you can open the window just wide enough for your dog’s head, good luck with that. Factually, your dog can squeeze its entire body through a hole, as long as its head can go in.
Apart from falling accidentally from the car, a dog can also jump through the window intentionally during a ride. Car rides stress and scares dogs, and one of the ways they respond to it is by trying to escape. It’s up to you to actively foil any possible escape plans by keeping the windows closed.
Even if your dog is well trained, you can’t guarantee a perfect, bump-free riding experience. If you hit a bump while driving, you could send your dog flying off the car unintentionally.
It wouldn’t be so kind to risk all of these possible falling scenarios when you can easily avoid them by keeping your windows closed whenever you’re driving with your dog in the car.
2. Exposure to flying objects
If you’ve even sustained damage to your vehicle from flying debris, you should understand some of the dangers of leaving your dog’s head out the window unprotected.
While you drive, a lot of dirt, dust, and debris fly past your car. While some may make minor dents on your car, you’ll never notice most, if any of them, and that’s primarily because you’re not sticking your head out of the window.
Unless you have a helmet or something to protect them, it’s best to protect their heads inside the car. Even if you can get them to wear a helmet, they’re still susceptible to falling, which isn’t a tolerable experience either.
3. Ear pain or damage
Your dog’s pinnae (the large floppy ears) usually flap consistently during a ride with their heads out the window. The rapid flapping of this pinnae can result in many unwanted problems, including swelling and tenderness of the ears.
This swelling is usually painful for dogs, and when it happens consistently, it can lead to long-term pain or total deafness. In short, your dog’s ear will suffer painful trauma at best, and ruptured ear tissue at worst, leading to permanent ear pain or even total deafness.
How to Ride Safely with a Dog in a Car
There are a lot more travel hazards than letting your dog stick its head out the window. If you just got a dog or a car, there are many safe riding lessons you need to learn to ensure your dog is safe with you at all times, even when you’re driving.
If you’re going on a ride with your dog, here are some top safety tips to ensure it doesn’t stick its head out the window and the general experience is safe and convenient.
1. Use a seat belt, for dogs
It’s pretty clear that the seat belts in vehicles were made for humans; restricting your dog’s movement with those won’t be only tasking, but also inconvenient. However, you can get dog-specific seat belts or dog car harnesses that make it painless to keep your dog safe.
A dog harness will make it impossible for the dog to reach the window, preventing them from looking out at all. In addition, this will also prevent them from jumping off the seat during an accident, making them a no-brainer.
2. Take frequent breaks
Dogs can get bored or stressed out during a ride and start acting up. The best way to prevent this is by ensuring they don’t get bored or too fired up in the first place. If you’re going on a long ride, it helps to take frequent breaks to treat your dog to some food and carry out some basic exercise.
Before leaving for a car ride, tiring out your dog through rigorous exercise also helps. A tired dog usually makes less trouble than an energetic dog with a lot of energy to burn.
3. Use a travel crate or carrier
A carrier is a perfect way to transport puppies, as they’re rated for dogs not weightier than 20 lbs. They restrict dogs from looking out of the window or trying to escape, and they’re more portable than dedicated travel crates.
If you don’t have a small dog, however, you’re stuck with a larger travel crate. Unlike travel carriers, they’re usually metallic and they have plenty of room for large dogs. However, you have to pay the price of convenience and portability, since they’re not easily as portable.
If you’re not traveling long distances and you have a large dog, you don’t need a travel crate. You can use other methods of restrictions to ensure its actions are kept in check throughout the ride.