One of the happiest things a dog does is stick their heads out of the car while you’re driving down the road. Even if your dog does not have long, droopy ears that can get in the way, you will find that they still enjoy this activity. While there is no scientific studies that definitively conclude why dogs do this, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind.
It is a Rush to Their Senses
It is no secret that dogs have a much more heightened sense of smell than people do. People have about 5 million scent receptors, which give us a decent sense of smell. The number of scent receptors a dog has will be determined by the breed. However, this number can range from 125 million to over 300 million scent receptors. This is a significant difference.
When your dog’s head is out the window while driving, thier noses are being flooded with scents. Since dogs are born to sniff things out, it is natural for your dog to want to get the most amount of scent that they can receive.
Is it Safe for Dogs to Stick Their Heads Out the Window?
While this is something dogs have been doing since they were first put in a vehicle, there are a few hazards to be concerned about. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that debris, such as a pebble, can easily become a projectile that can hit your dog when their head is out the window. This can be harmful, especially if it hits them in the eye, as this could cause blindness in the eye.
You should also know that if the window is down far enough and your dog catches a scent they love that they may try to jump out the window to go after said smell. This can be dangerous as the dog could be injured and you may even lose control of the vehicle trying to keep your dog from doing this.
Safety Tips for Driving with Your Dog
One of the best things you can do for your dog to keep them safe when driving is to have some sort of restraint system in place. There are a few reasons this is important, including:
- Keeping the dog in a safe place in the event of an accident
- Keeping the dog from being a distraction to the driver
- Keep the dog from interrupting with the normal operations of the vehicle (such as hitting the steering wheel, putting the car into a different gear, etc).
- Ensure that in the event of an accident your dog does not become a projectile or is lost.
There are a few ways that you can restrain your dog. One is with a piece that looks like a seat belt latch, which attaches on one end to your dog’s harness and the other buckles into the seat belt. The other is with a special seat, which may be different depending on the size of your dog. Also, if you want to give your dog the sensation rush they crave without seeing them get hurt, you can just leave the window open just a little.
+Neil Kilgore is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.