Not a care in the world! What could feel better, right? That’s probably what your dog is thinking when he sticks his head out the car window.
Why do dogs seem to love to stick their heads out of car windows? Well, they probably like to do it for the same reasons that kids do. It feels good. Grown-ups are used to riding in cars, but for dogs everything is new and fun. Unless a dog is prone to carsickness, most dogs love going for car rides. What’s not to love? They get to go someplace with their favorite person (you). It’s exciting. Who knows where they may end up? So, for a dog, getting to stick his head out the window is the icing on a the cake.
When your dog puts his head out the window he can probably enjoy it in ways we can’t imagine. With his superior sense of smell he may be able to take in a million scents a minute at high speed. It must be intoxicating for him! He can enjoy the sounds and other sensations in the same way. Plus, the feel of the wind on his face is probably just as pleasant for him as it is for us.
In short, your dog likes to put his head out the the car window when you go somewhere because it’s fun.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should let your dog engage in this activity. Driving around with your dog hanging his head out the car window can be dangerous for him, just as it is for children.
A dog who sticks his head out the window when you’re driving can easily get things stuck in his eyes. Even tiny seeds or gravel in the air can cause serious injury to your dog when you’re driving at moderate speed. If something larger were to hit your dog in the head, such as a soda can, he could be seriously hurt.
If you drive around with your dog sticking his head out the window there is also a danger that he could scramble out of the car and onto the road. If you have the window down for him to stick his head out it may be possible for him to squeeze the rest of his body through the opening, too. Dogs can become very excited by things they see when you’re driving and you wouldn’t be able to prevent your dog from climbing out before you could stop him.
As a matter of safety it’s usually a good idea to crate your dog when you’re driving or, at least have him wear a safety harness in your vehicle. This will prevent him from wandering loose in the car and from being tossed around the vehicle if you should have an accident. Yes, it will also prevent him from sticking his head out the window, but it is safer.
Here’s one definite safety tip: please don’t let dogs ride loose in the back of pick-up trucks. This can be dangerous not only for your dog but also for people driving behind and around you.
If you do like taking your dog for rides and letting him stick his head out the window, try to find safe, quiet streets where there is little traffic. This way you can drive slowly and your dog will be safer.