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Why Your Dog Should Never Ride with His Head out the Car Window

Let’s face it: we are bombarded with images of dogs enjoying the wind in their fur as they ride down the highway with their head out the window. We all see the joy that dogs get in sticking their head out the window of a moving car so it’s a natural question as to whether it’s a good idea or not.

The short answer: it is NOT good to allow your dog to put his head out the window of your car.

Why Your Dog Should Never Ride with His Head out the Car Window

For all the pleasure he may get out of it, you’re endangering his life by allowing him to put his head out the window of the moving car.

But there are safe alternatives to let your dog enjoy the sensation of fresh air and scents while keeping him safe as you travel together on day trips or errands.

Why Do Dogs Like to Put Their Head Out the Car Window?

There’s no denying that dogs love to ride with their head out the window.

Why? Not only do they love the feel of the wind in their fur but they like the many scents they’re receiving as they experience new locations.

Why It’s Dangerous for Your Dog to Ride with His Head Out the Car Window

The potential dangers are numerous:

  • your dog could lean too far and fall out the car. We’ve seen so many cars with the window fully lowered and the dog standing on the door, a terrible and probably fatal accident just waiting to happen.
  • he could suddenly jump from the car when you’re stopped if you have left the window down. (And while I know that many of you will say you only leave the window down enough for your dog’s head to go out the window, just this afternoon I saw a dog’s head and chest all the way out while the window was completely lowered.) As much as you might trust your dog’s training, do you really want to put it to the test? If you’re at a stop and your dog sees a squirrel, are you 100% positive he will not try to jump from the car?
  • you could suddenly have to stop (or be hit) and he could fall out of the car.
  • he could get a bug or other object embedded in his eye. Even the smallest particle becomes a projectile in a moving car and could cause him to lose his eye. I can say this with first-person knowledge. In college, I was driving with the window down when an insect flew in and embedded itself in my left eyeball. I had to have the insect literally cut from my eyeball. I was lucky; other than the pain, my vision wasn’t impacted but things could have ended much differently.
  • your car could suddenly be sideswiped, crushing your dog between the two cars.
  • you could lose control of the car and hit an object (or not see an object that’s protruding) with the side of the car where he’s riding unprotected.

Safe Alternatives to Letting Your Dog Put His Head Out the Window

Instead of letting your dog put his head out the window, just crack the rear windows slightly so he gets the breeze and all the smells that come along with it.

He’ll still have the sensation of a lowered window but won’t be at risk for the above dangers. (To prevent overheating in warm weather, be sure the air-conditioner is on and getting to his part of the car as well.)

One warning: be sure the rear windows are LOCKED. Many dogs–including our Tiki–quickly learn how to lower automatic windows!

Another option, if your dog is safely secured with a dog seatbelt that doesn’t provide a tether long enough for him to get his head out the window, is to buckle your dog in the back seat and lower the back window so the air is blowing on him–but the seatbelt prevent your dog from getting his head out the window.

You’ll all ride a lot safer…and a safe ride is the REAL joy of every car trip!

Michael Jackson

Friday 9th of September 2022

I've also heard that the wind overworks your dogs tear ducts which eventually leads to them getting cataracts which could lead to blindness.

Mark Mutchler

Wednesday 7th of September 2022

I wrap my dog in bubble wrap whenever we go outside cuz you know, stuff might happen. And grip tape on her feet so she doesn't slip. And her leash is only 2 feet long. In the house she wears a helmet. And if you are not taking your dog to the vet every other day, that's neglect. And her food in ground into a powder then softened with lactose free milk cuz you know, kibble is a choking hazard. And rainy days...no way cuz of lightning. Don't even get me started on when we have company. Cuz, how much do you REALLY know anybody? Ted Bundy seemed like a nice enuf guy to a lot of people.

Calidude

Wednesday 14th of April 2021

You should never do lots of things that carry some risk, including leave the house. I'm not going to take away my dog's favorite thing to do when I'm driving 20 miles an hour around my neighborhood. It's not like we're on the freeway.

B

Thursday 18th of August 2022

@Ian, you must live life to it's fullest. You can't protect for everything. No one wants to live in a bubble. Neither do dogs. Live life. Have fun. Stop worrying about things just as rare as a comet hitting earth

Ian

Saturday 13th of August 2022

@Calidude, Tell me again how you are after your neck it slammed into the window edge at 20mph? Still ok with the vocal cords? Would you let a 4 year old have their head out as you drive around the block? Take a trip to an animal hospital and see how they deal with the dogs that have been had head out of the window and in an accident

exCaliNowDCdude

Tuesday 19th of July 2022

@Calidude, exactly my thought while reading this! This guy is only on this planet to spend a fraction of my life with me. It is upon me to make it as enjoyable and fun for him as possible

Texconsin

Thursday 25th of March 2021

I think it's because otherwise they'll puke.

Cammie

Friday 3rd of April 2020

a lot of the stuff is common sense when I put my shepherd in the back of the car I always have a safety belt for her to where there's never an issue about her falling out or getting out a lot of it is just common sense and the side view mirrors block any kind of objects coming in her face common Sense people

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