I'm a pretty big dog, and I love to go for car rides. But now my owners are making me keep my head inside the window, and I have to sit in the back seat. How can I make them go back to their old ways?
Your humans are absolutely right to change the rules — it is for your own safety. Let's start with the basics. When you are riding along with your head sticking out of the window, the danger of debris in the air can cause a lot of harm to your eyes and even your ears.
Anything that is in the air is going to hit you at the speed the vehicle is moving. Imagine a small twig aimed at your eye at 50 mph! Showing the whites of your eyes and looking cute as a ploy to get your humans to give you what you want will not work if your eyes are damaged. So don't feel foolish when the car next to you sports a little fluffy dog who laughs at you as he's hanging out of the window.
A speck of dust flying through the air could cause a serious eye infection. If your folks allow you to stick your head out there, they need to monitor you for any redness, tearing or changes to your eyes. If that happens, they should get you to the vet as soon as possible.
It is widely known that the safest place for a pet is in the back seat. A sudden stop, or an accident, could throw you right through the front window.
The Partnership for Animal Welfare (www.paw-rescue.org) has published an extensive list of car-safety tips for dogs, including:
• Airbags can pose hazards to smaller people and pets.
• An unrestrained pet can become a hazardous projectile in the event of an accident or sudden stop. You could injure a passenger or even knock out the driver.
• Crates or sturdy pet carriers are an ideal way to restrain pets in cars, and should be fastened down. Or you can install a pet barrier to keep pets in the back seat.
• Keep just a small window space open — dogs can make themselves skinny in order to escape through a window, even in a moving vehicle.
• Secure the dog so he cannot hit the buttons for electric windows, adjustable mirrors, etc.
I can't help you get things back to the way they used to be, but I hope I gave you some things to think about. Humans take great care to keep their little kids in car seats and obey all sorts of auto-safety laws.
Doesn't it make you feel pretty good to know you are just as important?
— Fisher lives in Tampa Bay with her humans and loves to give advice. Send questions and a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ask-fisher.com.