Why do dogs stick their heads out of car windows?

Dogs can’t wait to stick their head out of moving cars, but why?

Why dogs love open car windows

It is a source of much merriment and mirth in our family when we take our dog for a car trip. My daughters are always amused at how keen our dog Benaud is to get his snout sticking out of the window.

The girls will often fight about who gets to hold him while he seeks to get his ears whipped about by the wind.

A dog’s desire to stick its head out of the window isn’t about feeling the wind rush about their ears, but is instead more connected to the olfactory overload they experience.

“A dog's head is this incredible sensory apparatus,” Professor Chris Daniels, a zoologist from the University of South Australia, told the ABC recently.

“Their head is jam-packed full of sensors, so when they stick their head out the window, they've got this great pressure of air moving at great speed over them, and it's a sensory overload.”

While human noses contain five million olfactory receptors, or ‘scent cells’, a large dog’s nose contains more than 225 million receptors.

As air moves over the olfactory membrane, odour molecules settle on the scent receptors and are recognised.

The more air there is flowing over the membrane, the more scents the dogs can detect.

Because dogs are choosing this behaviour out of a sense of fun and adventure, they can become addicted to the behaviour.

"They get used to it, they love it, they want to keep doing it, sometimes to the point where some dogs get anxious if you don't wind down the window,” Professor Daniels said.

"They'll get into the car and demand the window comes down, so they can get this fix of great sensory overload."

Does your dog like to stick its head out of the window when you go for a drive? What is the funniest behaviour that your pet regularly engages in?



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    18th Sep 2018
    same reason most kids want to do it but not allowed
    18th Sep 2018
    Dogs should never be allowed to stick their heads out of the window. It is dangerous, same way as it is for children. If They can stick their heads out it means they are not safely restrained in the car. If there was an accident, the dog would go flying through the windscreen and be killed.
    18th Sep 2018
    tell that to all the tradies I know with their beloved dogs roaming free no restraint in the back tray of open utes !
    18th Sep 2018
    Yes! And if the dog spies something interesting on the footpath they can jump out of a moving vehicle. Sad.
    18th Sep 2018
    Every dog we have had, including our current one No. 8 has/is always restrained in the back seat of the vehicle. An attachment purposely made similar to seat belts, which is attached to the dog's collar and placed into the seat belt receptor. This ensures the dog is unable to "leap out" of a window, fly through the windscreen, roam around freely etc. etc.!!!
    The window is only ever open enough for their head and due to being restrained, even if they tried, they would not be able to get any more of their body out of the window.
    A caring responsible dog owner is one who is just as concerned and careful of the dog's safety and welfare as that of humans!

    Tags: lifestyle, fun, pets,

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