Ellen Britt for CNT #wooftips
Dogs love to ride with their heads hanging out the car window, their tongues hanging out and ears flopping in the breeze. But as much as they might enjoy this, it’s really not a good idea and can be potentially harful to your dog.
Why do dogs seem to enjoy doing this so much? They love the movement of fresh air on their faces and the moving air also carries with it a symphony of scents. No wonder your dog likes this so much!
But the dangers of allowing him to do this far outweigh the momentary pleasure. These include:
One – Your dog’s eyes are at risk, not only from the very real chance of an insect or other foreign object becoming embedded in his eyes, but from the possibility that the air rushing over the surfaces of his eyes may dry out and damage his corneas, possibly damaging his eyesight.
Two – No matter how careful you are, your dog could lean too far out of the window and fall or he could suddenly decide to jump from the car.
Three – If you have to suddenly stop the car, or are hit, he could be thrown from the vehicle or tossed about the interior with enough force to injure or kill him.
Four – If you were to lose control of the car and sideswipe an object on the side of the car where he is riding unprotected, his chances of injury or death are high.
You can still let your dog have the pleasure of the rushing air sensation without the danger. Dogs riding in the back seat of any vehicle should be properly restrained in a harness. You can then lower the window part way so he gets the smells without putting his safety at risk. Be sure to lock your back windows, as dogs have been known to learn how to let them down using the automatic levers.
If the weather is warm, make sure the air in your dog’s part of the vehicle is adequately cooled, especially if you have the windows partially open.
By Ellen Britt
Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.
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