Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital’s Blog
Should Your Dog Stick Their Head Out the Car Window? Probably Not.
It is one of those magical canine moments. The rush is full of olfactory stimulation. It is deeply satisfying and immensely enjoyable. What are we talking about? A ride in the car, of course!
Most dogs regard an open car door as the best invitation of all time. They willingly hop right in (as opposed to many feline friends), switch from one side of the back seat to the other, and even hop right up on the dashboard for a better view. But should your dog stick their head out the car window?
Oh the Smells!
Going for a ride is a great way to mentally stimulate dogs. They can easily track where they are and look for landmarks. But probably the best part of cruisin’ is the chance for their nose to get a work out.
They smell all the smells coursing through the rushing air to the point where they look like they’ll never get enough of it. To maximize their olfactory experience, they’ll likely smoosh their nose at the crack in the window until you’re convinced to roll it down further.
Don’t Give In
It probably feels wrong to keep your dog completely inside the car, but should your dog stick their head out the car window? Is it really considered that hazardous? The short answer: yes.
Being a responsible pet owner, you are loving and nurturing. You want to give your dog every experience, but sometimes it’s best to reign in some of the simplest pleasures. In other words, help them from themselves.
Should Your Dog Stick Their Head Out the Car Window?
One reason why your dog should not stick their head out the car window is the fact that they can jump out of it. It’s not impossible to imagine a dog getting so excited by something they see or smell that they launch themselves out of the car. Even if they do this while the car is stopped, they could seriously injure themselves, run away, or into oncoming traffic.
Other Safety Concerns
If your dog sticks their head out the car window they can also get hurt from debris. Rocks are primarily to blame, but it could be anything from chipped glass, wood, trash, and other debris. Coming at their head and face at high speed, these items can be devastating to the eyes, ears, and surrounding skin.
Despite how common it is, dogs really shouldn’t ride in open pickup trucks. If they are in the back, dogs should remain inside their crate, attached to the bed.
If your dog sticks their head out the window of a moving car they may be causing permanent damage to their ears. Constant, severe flapping in the wind can lead to swelling and scarring. Repeated trauma to their ears can create lifelong problems.
What Can You Do?
Training your dog to safely ride along in your car or truck is a big responsibility. Ideally, they should be harnessed or crated, and attached to the vehicle with a seat belt or straps. Set up a screen between the front and back seats to inhibit exploration.
If you have additional questions or concerns about your dog’s safety and behavior, please let us know.