Why Do Dogs Stick Their Heads Out of Car Windows?

As any dog owner will tell you, there are few things in life a dog loves more than sticking their head out of the window of a moving car. Most dogs love to go for a ride in the car (as long as that ride does not take them to the vet!) and gravitate to an open window in the moving car so they can stick their heads out and enjoy the breeze. Which really begs the question: why do dogs love doing this so much? Is it about feeling the breeze through their hair or is there another reason they enjoy sticking their heads out of a car window?

As it turns out, this behavior is not just about the breeze. In fact, it is about much more than the flow of air—it is about what the air can offer the dog. According to Robin Foster, Ph.D., who is a research professor of animal behavior at the University of Puget Sound, dogs stick their heads out of car windows to gather information. When a dog sticks their head outside the car, says Foster, they receive a tremendous amount of olfactory information about the world around them—in other words, they are getting a large amount of information through their noses.


When a dog sticks their heads into the breeze or wind caused by a moving car, says Robin Foster, the air is being forced into their noses and can intensify the odors in the air. Even if a dog cannot physically stick their heads outside of a window, they can still stiff at or near the window to gather information or intel on the world around them. Smell is very important to dogs and they can recognize places and driving routes using their high-powered noses alone.

So, the next time your dog gets excited when you near the dog park or local pet store while in the car, you’ll know why!

Next Article
  • Woman Escapes Wildfire with Dog in Her Bag

    In the state of California, wildfires have taken a devastating toll on the landscape and all those who lived in its path. For one woman named Natasha Wallace, there were just minutes to escape the wildfire. In quickly gathering her most precious belongings, there was one thing that mattered to her most: her dog. [caption...

    Read More
  • Groomer Helps Lucky Dog in Middle of the Night

    For a dog named Lucky, things did not begin so well. No one is quite sure how it happened, but by perhaps a stroke of good luck, Lucky was stranded on a busy road in Florida at night. He was in rough shape to say the least, with his...

    Read More
  • Puppy Gets Unique Casts to Help Him Heal

    At just seven weeks old, a little puppy named Evan had already experienced a very rough start in his short life. He was living in a very large shelter in Texas and was taken in by the organization Rescue Dogs Rock NYC. The organization had learned Evan had a...

    Read More
  • Pair of Shelter Dogs is Inseparable

    For many dogs, the animal shelter can be a very scary place. It’s a loud environment full of dogs and cats that have found themselves in a precarious situation for one reason or another. This foreign environment can cause even the happiest or friendliest of dogs to shut down because it has been such a...

    Read More
  • Dog with “Unique” Face Looking for a Home

    As you might imagine, living life on the streets can be difficult. This is the case for a sweet dog named Sid who was recently discovered with years of suffering and pain across her face. Despite all that the dog has been through, she still smiles and is full of love. She was picked up...

    Read More
  • Medal of Courage Given to Military Dogs

    Each year, hundreds of military dogs are deployed overseas to assist members of the United States military. These highly trained dogs are placed in harm’s way each and every day in order to protect the brave women and men who are involved in combat. To pay tribute and honor to these dogs, the American Humane...

    Read More
  • Deaf Dog Rescued After Life on a Chain

    For animal lover and rescue volunteer Holly Dean, hearing that there were several dogs being kept on chains presented an opportunity to act. The dogs in question were in San Antonio, Texas, where she lives. The dog’s owners had agreed to allow the dogs to go to a rescue...

    Read More