With the onset of warmer weather, I see more of my canine colleagues riding in cars with their heads hanging out the window. I am very envious. This is a glorious experience for a dog. Our highly sensitive noses are showered with a rich mix of tantalizing and intriguing smells, and our ears are flapping in the breeze.
Alas, I am not allowed to enjoy this addictive experience because my humans know this is unsafe and unhealthy for me. Drat! You probably understand why it’s unsafe, but for additional information see “Harley’s Safe Riding Tips for Dogs” at the end of this blog. Riding with your head out the window is also unhealthy for dogs. Dust, dirt and debris can enter our snout and eyes. A small pebble could cause a serious injury when moving at vehicle speeds. The wind can damage our ears.
Riding with your head out the window is like gossiping in the workplace. You might enjoy getting bombarded with a steady stream of juicy tidbits of office scoop. The news you and your coworkers share is tantalizing and intriguing even though it might not be completely true. You know this but can’t help yourself. It’s addictive and you keep sucking in the dirt.
But this can be unsafe and unhealthy for you too. It wastes time. Rarely is the information exchanged of any substantive value to the performance of your job. It is usually distorted to serve the agenda of the person providing the scoop. It is dangerous. You may say something that you will regret, and it may be repeated. And it is harmful to your career to get a reputation as the office gossip.
So when the gossip starts to fly, excuse yourself. Step away. Pull your head inside and roll up the window!
Harley’s Safe Riding Tips for Dogs
The laws of physics apply to dogs too!  An unrestrained dog can be thrown around a vehicle with great force in a crash. We may distract you and cause a crash. If a dog is close to an airbag when it inflates, it could result in a fatal injury. And never drive with your dog on your lap. NEVER!
If you love your pooch, restrain him. There are lots of ways to do this. You can use a pet barrier, a carrier, or a restraint. The restraint is my personal favorite. It fits around my body and is secured with the seat belt. I love this because I get to sit on the humans’ seats (something I am not allowed to do in the house) and I am closer to my people. And I can still look out the window. See my photo from a recent road trip. I love riding in the car!
Your best friend,
 Speaking of laws, several states have laws requiring pets to be properly restrained in a motor vehicle.
 The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has some helpful car driving tips.