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Don't Let It All Hang Out

C. A. Krowzack, DVM

It's getting warmer; summer is on its way. Now, before the humidity sets in, is a perfect time for driving with the car windows open. Dogs enjoy riding in the car and love hanging their heads out the window with their ears blowing in the wind. You might let your dog do it.


Consider this: a rock kicked up from a truck or off the road surface can crack your windshield. I'm not talking about a boulder; I'm talking typical road gravel. I've had headlights broken two times and one time a rock went through the car radiator. What would happen if that rock hit your dog in the head or eye?

What would happen if you had to stop suddenly? Your seat belt holds you in place but your dog will be thrown forward. If his head is out the window his neck or shoulder is going to hit the doorframe or pillar possibly resulting in a broken shoulder or neck or paralysis. If you have to swerve suddenly in an emergency avoidance maneuver the dog can be thrown from the car into traffic.

If your dog has his head out the window what could happen if a truck or van with those large extended mirrors veers into your lane or passes too closely on the side?

What if your dog sees a squirrel and decides to jump out of the car to chase it and jumps right in front of a car in the next lane?

Less dramatically, think of all the dirt and debris that is being blown into your dog's eyes and ears during the ride.

The chances of a severe injury are probably small, but are you willing to risk it?

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