It’s Dangerous for Dogs to Stick Their Head out Car Window

If you’re a dog owner, you very well know that dogs love riding in a car. They especially love sticking their head out a car window. You can see the joy on their face as they check out the scenery and enjoy an olfactory paradise of the many new smells. However, despite the enjoyment that a dog experiences when they stick their head out a car window, you shouldn’t let your dog do it, for it’s very dangerous. 

4 reasons why it’s bad for dogs to stick their head out a car window

Dog sticks head out car window of black sedan
Dog with head out a car window | Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

As a dog owner, it’s hard to steal the fun away from a dog when you see them stick their head out the car window, gleefully taking in the sights and smells as the wind rushes through their fur. However, the danger of doing this is real.

Here are four reasons why you should never let your dog stick their head out a car window:

  • A dog could fall out of the car
  • A dog could be struck by debris, insects, or other flying objects
  • Dangerous for a dog if there’s a car accident
  • Wind damage to the ears of a dog

A dog could fall out of a car

The first reason is obvious. When your dog sticks their head out a car window, they risk falling out of a car. When driving at higher speeds, the risk of injury is even greater. Even if parked or moving slowly, your dog could still fall out and run into traffic on a street. 

A dog could be struck by debris, insects, or other flying objects

When dogs stick their head out the car window, they expose themselves to dirt, dust, rocks, insects, and other flying objects. These things have the potential to damage the eyes of your dog. Some dog owners even get special eye goggles to address this problem. However, even with the eye goggles, your dog could injure their head and other parts of the body. 

Dangerous for a dog if there’s a car accident

Two dogs stick heads out the car window of black SUV
Dogs with heads out a car window | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

If you get into a car accident, the risk of injury to your dog is even higher if their head is out the window. Also, if another car sideswipes your car, the head of your dog could get crushed. 

Wind damage to the ears of a dog

A dog also risks wind damage to their ears when they stick their head out a car window. As the ears of a dog flap in the wind, the pinnae, or soft earflaps, can get swollen and irritated. Prolonged exposure to wind when driving at high speeds can cause long-term damage to your dog’s ears. 

Why do dogs like to stick their head out a car window?

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Dogs enjoy watching the scenery and surroundings when going for a car ride. However, the main reason that they like to stick their head out a car window is because of the smell of the wind. 

Dogs have a much stronger sense of smell than humans, with 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to six million for humans, according to Pets Best. Also, unlike humans, dogs can smell new scents even when exhaling. As a result of their olfactory acuity, dogs have the ability to smell and process many more scents than humans. When they stick their head out a car window, a dog can enjoy many new smells. 

Alternatives: Car windows open a crack or use a dog seat belt

As a safe alternative to letting your dog stick their head out a car window, you can just roll down the windows slightly, leaving a crack so they can still enjoy the new smells. Also, you can safely secure your dog in a seat belt or short leash and then roll down the windows. 

As fun as it may seem to give your dog the freedom to stick their head out the car window, their safety is the utmost priority. Utilize these two alternatives for an enjoyable and safe car ride with your dog. 

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