Why It’s Dangerous for Your Dog to Ride with His Head Out of the Car Window

why it's dangerous for your dogs to ride with their heads out of the car window
Guest article written by Jeff Willis

We have all seen it a thousand times. The heartwarming image of a dog with his head out the car window, ears flapping in the breeze, mouth open in an apparent smile. It brings a smile to our face as well, right? But that sweet little dog could be in danger.
Here are 4 important reasons why it’s unsafe for your dog to stick his/her head out the window of a moving car.
labrador with head out of car window
  • This exposes your dog's face to rocks, dirt and debris that can get in their throat, or worse, in their eyes and cause irritation and possible injury.

You can imagine the damage even a small pebble can have on your windshield or your car's paint. The cornea of a dog’s eye is much more delicate and is not as easily repaired. Debris can also impact a dog’s ears, nose or throat and cause severe inflammation and other damage.

  • Dogs’ eyes and ears can get windburned and it hurts, even though they can’t tell us so.

Dogs seem to love how the wind feels on their face as they're cruising in the car with their head out the window, but even the wind has potential to harm your dog's eyes and ears. It seems unlikely that a breeze could send your dog to the vet, but it does happen. The high-speed winds cause repeated and rapid flapping of a dog's soft ear flaps ( pinnae ) against your dog's skull. This can cause trauma to the ear as the blood pools in the ear flaps leading to painful swelling. 

  • Your dog could jump out of the car while it’s moving.

This is one of the worst possible outcomes. There is something outside of your car just waiting for your dog's attention, including birds, squirrels and deer. If the window is rolled down for your dog's head to stick out, the rest of her may try to follow. Even if your dog can't fit through the window, she can get hurt in the process and distract the driver. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash. 
No matter how safe you may drive, traffic and road conditions are often unpredictable. When you suddenly have to slam on the brakes or take a sharp turn, there's a chance that this unexpected maneuver can propel a dog out of the car window. Regardless if your dog escapes through the window or is injured in the process, this situation can be preventable when your dog is restrained from reaching his/her head out of the window.
  • If you get into a fender-bender with another vehicle, your dog could be seriously injured.

According to a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, an astounding eighty-four percent of respondents bring their dogs on car trips but do not use a restraint. Even in a fender-bender accident, unrestrained objects in the vehicle can become projectiles that are thrown forward through the car. Unfortunately, unrestrained pups could be a projectile in this situation too, which can result in trauma to the dog or passengers. Another incident that often happens in the event of a car accident is pets can escape from the car in a panic and run into traffic. Read these testimonials from customers who were involved in car wrecks with their dogs in the vehicle and every pup survived while riding in their crates.

We all know that you have the best intentions when you let your dog enjoy the breeze from the window, but we urge you to think of your dog’s safety next time, as it could be in jeopardy.

 

Sources:

https://www.kurgo.com/dog-travel-statistics/

https://animals.howstuffworks.com/pets/pet-travel/let-dog-stick-head-out-window

Photo source: canva.com 

why its dangerous for dogs to ride with their heads out of the car window