I know for years people have assumed dogs hang their heads out of open windows in cars because they want to see and smell everything. They are naturally curious animals, and the car ride just brings that out in them even more. Well, that is half true. Yes, they like to explore. But there is so much more to the reasons dogs hang their heads out of windows. The main reason is, believe it or not, you smell.
Relax, you don’t necessarily smell bad. It is the simple fact that dogs have thousands more scent receptors in their noses then humans do. So many, in fact, that being closed a very small place with no air and our many scents we have as humans can be quite disorienting to the dog. The open windows while driving makes it so they are not stuck with just one or two scents that are overwhelmingly strong. It almost acts like an oxygen mask acts to someone in the hospital.
Don’t get us wrong, dogs have a very strong sense of discovery and curiosity, so they do like to look around and run from window to window to take it all in, but the dog also needs a reprise from your odors. If you are wondering why the dog is not as much like that in your home, it is because your home has so many different odors wafting through it. Laundry, food, fresh air, incense and candles and so on. That is not so much overwhelming for the dog. Plus, in the house, they have a “spot”. That spot is not just comfortable to them. That spot is marked up with the natural scent from their fur, which makes them feel safer and more in control. But in a car, they lose some of that.
So remember, if you are driving Fido around town, keep that window open for the sake of the dog’s scent receptors.
Seems a fair trade to have an awesome traveling buddy!
(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)