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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!


Wednesday 22nd of March 2023

Another danger: If you park at a spot and you forget that your pup still has its head hanging out the window, you could close the window and crush its neck. Let's be honest: nobody wants to witness a dog's head rolling away

Jon B

Thursday 16th of March 2023

You should re title this article, WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE.

Dan Ross

Thursday 23rd of February 2023

You can ride a motorcycle with no helmet on. But you can't have your dog ride with his head out of the window while I'm driving which is one of his favorite things in his life. How about we go back to prosecuting criminals instead of taking the joy away from dogs. Need to spend more time on things that really makes people's lives better instead of prosecuting people with a dog that has his head out of the window. How stupid is that?

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 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.


Wednesday 22nd of March 2023

@Mark Mutchler, Wow, you are SO overprotective toward your dog. You DON'T have to do all of this just to protect your dog. If she falls, she can just get up. IT'S NOT THAT BIG A DEAL. AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE YOUR DOG TO THE VET EVERY DAY. SHEESH

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