No doubt you will have either seen plenty of images of dogs enjoying the wind in the fur as they happily hang their head out the car window, you've seen this in real life, or you have allowed your dog to do the same. Although they enjoy it (both the sensation of the wind through their coat and the abundance of scents they're receiving) and it looks like fun, we don't recommend allowing your dog to put their head out the window while you're travelling.
Sadly, there are some pretty nasty risks associated with your pal having their head (and potentially more) out the car window, so we thought we'd share some more information, and a list of safer alternatives that you might like to consider to keep your pooch safe, whilst still enjoying the ride!
What are the risks associated with allowing my dog to have their head out the window?
- your dog could be leaning too far out of the window and fall out of the car - they may accidentally stand on the electric window button and allow the window to open completely. There is just too much temptation to place their feet on the sill and stand on the door, but this is a very terrible, and likely fatal, accident just waiting to happen
- your dog could suddenly jump out the window when you're stopped (or even worse, whilst the car is moving). Although you might trust your dog inherently not to do this, this is never 100% guaranteed
- you may need to come to an abrupt stop, or you could be involved in a collision which could cause your dog to fall out of the car, or sustain an injury from the accident
- bugs or other object may act like tiny projectiles, and become embedded in your dogs eye. Even a little particle can cause enough damage to permanently injure the eye, or even worse, cause your dog to lose their eye
- another car may pass too closely to your own, and your dog could be hit
Although we understand these are very unlikely scenarios, they are still something to keep in mind.
So what else can I do to help my dog enjoy a trip in the car?
Rather than having the window down for your dog to have their head out the window completely, you can just crack the windows down a little to allow the air to flow in, and the different scents to come along with it. In any warmer weather, we would recommend to have the air conditioning going also, to ensure your dog isn't getting too warm. It is also a good idea to lock the windows (where possible), as dogs are clever and can quickly learn to replicate what started as an accidental action of opening the electric window!
We would also recommend having your dog wear a travel harness while in the car, both to prevent them from being able to lean out the windows, but also to prevent them from moving around too much and becoming a distraction to you, or falling during sudden movements (such as taking off, or slowing down quickly), or turning sharp corners. It also keeps them safe when you open the door to let them out - they can't dash out past you to get to whatever interesting thing they've seen behind you!
By keeping your dog safe, it'll make for a much more enjoyable car trip!