It isn’t uncommon to see a pick-up truck hauling dogs in the truck bed during warmer months. While some may not blink an eye when they see Fido riding by in the back, the wind flapping his ears in the breeze, pets riding in truck beds account for approximately 100,000 dog deaths per year, according to the Humane Society of Utah.
The ASPCA cites that this action is illegal in some states and cities, including California, New Hampshire, and the cities of Miami and Cheyenne. Unfortunately, in many regions this kind of action is tolerated, and in some cases even considered the norm. Even though it might seem like the best option at the time, there are several reasons why truck pets are not safe for dogs:
1. The dog could jump out, or worse yet, be propelled out- The dog might jump out when provoked by a person, animal, or from being scared by a bump or jostle while riding. Also, the driver may have to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting another person, animal, or other road situations that occur. Pair that with the speed of a vehicle, and it equals severe injury or death for the dog, even if the pet is restrained. The dog could also fall out of an open truck bed door if it should open during transport.
2. Debris and no protection from the elements- Too much wind dries out the eyes and ears of a dog. They could also be hit hard with dust, rocks, sand, bugs, and whatever else is kicked up by surrounding vehicles or in the air. Dogs are also subject to being worn by the elements, like drizzle, hail, or harsh sun and heat.
3. Tethers or restraints don’t fix the problem- Even when a dog is tied up or restrained in the truck bed, this could result in dragging the pet behind the truck without even knowing it.
Travel is a lot more enjoyable for the person and the pet with proper safety precautions. Here are some alternatives to letting pups ride in the back of the truck:
Riding with the people with use of a pet restraint tool, such as a crate or barrier
Riding in the truck bed with the topper on, preferably in a crate that is secured to the truck bed
Riding in the truck bed inside of a crate that is tethered to the truck bed (safer than open riding)
If you see a pet riding in a truck bed, instead of calling 911 for an emergency, the ASPCA recommends calling a local police station, as they will be familiar with local truck bed laws.
With safety in mind, road trips with Fido will be more enjoyable for the family, as well as the family dog!