Yesterday I was driving home from work when I saw a dog stick his head out the car window. It was a beautiful Golden Retriever wearing a gentle leader, sniffing the air, and in general just enjoying the car ride. I pulled out my handy dandy new DROID Phone and snapped a few pictures while waiting at the stop light.
This got me to thinking why do dogs like to stick their head out the car window? As usual I began my search on the web and also asked a few dog loving friends the question: Why do dogs stick their head out the car window?
Dogs, Cars, Windows, And Safety First
I wanted to start off by saying it can be very dangerous to let your dog hang his head out the car window. There’s all kinds of debris scattered on the road and it often kicks up from the cars in front. Just take a look at my windshield (several nicks) or the front of my car (chipped paint and minor dents).
Now just think about your dog hanging his head out the car window getting pelted in the eye by a tiny rock at 50 mph. I don’t even want to think about the vet bill let alone the pain and suffering your dog would endure if he caught a pebble in the eye. I’ve never used them before, but I’ve heard that some people have their dogs wear Doggles when they hang their head out the window of a moving car.
A friend of mine used to let his dog hang her head out the window until one day his collie mix jumped out the car window at 30 mph. Lucky for him there was no oncoming traffic and his dog didn’t get injured on her fall to the ground.
Also, if your dog has allergies like mine then all the pollen and dust flying into your dog’s face could cause an allergic reaction.
I just wanted to let you know about some of the dangers of letting your dog stick his head out the car window. After all you wouldn’t let your own child stick his head out the window of a moving car so why would it be appropriate for your dog to hang his head out the car window?
As a child my parents never let me stick my head out the window. The few times I tried I seem to recall receiving a quick smack to the butt. I’ll crack the window for my dogs and they’ll put their nose about against the window, but I never let my dogs put their entire heads out the car window.
Top 5 Reasons Why A Dog Sticks His Head Out The Car Window
Now that I got my safety speech out of the way we can get to our list of Top 5 Reasons Why A Dog Sticks His Head Out The Car Window. Lets do it David Letterman style and begin with a countdown. Drum roll please……….
NUMBER 5 – It helps them to cool off faster inside a hot car.
NUMBER 4 - So they can pretend like they’re running at an incredible rate (see the movie Dumb and Dumber).
NUMBER 3 – To make sure you’re driving safely on the road.
NUMBER 2 – This is a sure sign that you stink! Your dog is obviously trying to avoid your stench.
NUMBER 1 – They love to sniff the air…
Of course just like the David Letterman list the Number 1 answer is always anti-climatic although in today’s case it’s probably the closest to the truth. It’s my understanding from what I’ve heard from friends and family, read in books and on the internet, and observed, dogs have such a keen sense of smell that being able to put their noses entire heads out the car window is like a natural high. They get to catch many different smells passing through the air and because the car is moving so fast these smells are constantly changing. I guess it might be similar to watching some beautiful scenery pass by.
Anyhow that’s my take on why a dog sticks his head out the car window. Just remember, if you do let your dog hang his head out the car window then please be careful and protect your dogs eyes with a product like Doggles, get him a safety restraint so he can’t jump out of the car, and maybe just try cracking the window so he can catch the scents with his nose, but not put his entire head out the window. As I mentioned earlier, you don’t want to end up with a huge vet bill just because your dog was hanging his head out the window of your car.
How about you? What kind of experiences have you had with dogs sticking their head out the car window? Do you allow your dog to ride with his head out the window? Do you take any safety precautions? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.