Clinic Stories

A Leap of Faith

Most dogs enjoy car rides, excited by the outdoor theater as they whiz past people, houses, and other animals. A boring existence is supercharged into a 3-D action thriller. With their heads out of the window they hold the keys to the kingdom.

You may have heard allowing your dog can injure his eyes or ears with his head out of a car. While it seems possible, this rarely happens. The real problem is that sometimes they jump out.

One of the problems in jumping out of the car is speed. Landing on stationary pavement when traveling can have disastrous results – road rash, broken bones, head trauma, and nerve damage are common. If the car is going slowly or stopped, the dog is loose in traffic, the canine equivalent of a rugby scrum. On occasion dogs are passengers in a traffic accident. While they usually do not sustain serious injuries inside the car, many are very frightened and run off when the door is often, and are then injured.

Perhaps if a dog is secured by his leash, he won’t jump or run. Unfortunately, dog’s follow dog logic and jump anyway. There is no distraught pet owner quite like one who has dragged his dog beside their car, especially if the dog goes under the tire. I saw a pit bull that jumped out of a car with a leash on Interstate 80 at 60 miles an hour, center lane. Horrified onlookers slammed on their brakes and veered out of the way while the driver pulled over, collected the dog and raced to the office. The injuries were substantial but not life threatening, but he probably never had another ride like that.

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