Monday, July 25, 2011

Ask Casey...

Dear Casey,

Q: Why does my dog stick his nose out the car window?

A: Ottawa veterinarian, Miki Shibata explains, “Dogs are intelligent animals that rely heavily on their nose & eyes to help them navigate and understand the world.”

In plain English, your dog has more than 220 million olfactory receptors in his nose while humans have only about five million of these receptors. That means they have almost 50 times the sense of smell we do! And basically, dogs poke their snouts out the window because they enjoy the sights and smells passing by.

Again we quote Dr. Shibata, “The fast-moving air brings a constant stream of scent that is very interesting for your dog and provides him with key information about his surroundings. This fast-moving air also has a cooling effect by speeding the evaporation of saliva from the tongue and mouth of a hot and panting dog.”

Most vets agree that you should take precautions if you allow your dog to poke his head out the window of a moving vehicle. There are serious risks involved mainly from flying particles like debris, dirt, sand or stone which can cause severe injury to your dog’s eyes. Also, keep in mind that there has been more than one dog who inadvertently fell or jumped out the open window of a moving vehicle even if they had never done so in the past.

A number of years ago a product called “Doggles” doggy goggles were invented to protect the eyes of dog’s who just had to have their heads out of their owner’s vehicles. You may want to invest in a pair to protect your dog’s eyes if you travel a lot.

While your dog may love to hang out the window and sniff out the great smells while you are hitting the road, be cautious and consider your speed and the amount of traffic all around you before allowing him to do so.

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