Dogs and trucks seem about as rural America as apple pie. Most dogs do love to feel the wind on their face, picking up all of the scents of the natural world around them. You have probably seen more than a few big goofy smiles from dogs as they put their head out of the car window. The same is true when dogs ride in the back of the truck.

Unfortunately, this combination of dogs and truck rides is a very dangerous one. The team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital wants to explain why letting your dog ride in the truck bed is unsafe and what you can do to better protect your best pal.

The Surprising Statistics

It may come as a surprise, but more than 100,000 dogs die each year because they are thrown out or jumped off of truck beds. There are any number of things that can precipitate this tragedy, from having to make a sudden stop to your dog seeing an animal on the side of the road and jumping out, getting into an accident, and so on. 

It’s also important that you never leash your pet to the truck or car. Dogs have fallen over the side and been strangled or dragged, or left behind the truck because the owner forgot they were tied there. 

The other thing to note, while a popular pastime for most dogs, is to keep them, including their heads, inside the car or truck. This is due to similar risks, such as falling out of the vehicle or being struck by something outside of the window.

Some pet owners ask if it is safe to crate their pet in the back of a truck when there is no room inside the cab. This is still not an ideal scenario because the crate can also fly out in an accident. It is, though, safer than without using a crate. Be sure to secure the crate with crate cords.  

Accident Prevention

The risks are high when your pet is in the back of the truck. In fact, many laws are being enacted to make it illegal for pet owners to allow this. States such as CA, CT, ME, MA, NH, and RI have already made this illegal. 

There are other things to keep in mind to protect your pet while riding in the car or truck.

  • Make enough space for them to be inside the vehicle, in a crate or carrier, or attached to a safety belt using a dog harness.
  • Keep your pet’s head inside the car while you are traveling to reduce the harm of breathing in insects, drying out the mucous membranes, or being struck by something.
  • Exercise your pet before the ride, so that they are a bit more relaxed when traveling.
  • Stop often for potty breaks and stretches.
  • Ensure that your dog is microchipped and has an up to date identification tag, should they get away from you while you are traveling. 
  • Never leave a pet tied to or inside of a parked car or truck, even in the shade, when the temperatures are over 70 degrees.

Reconsider Letting Your Dog Ride in the Truck Bed

We hope this overview of what the risks are of letting your dog ride in the truck bed, or sticking their head out of the window, has made you reconsider. The risks are greater than the reward. If you would like more information on traveling with your dog, or to schedule an appointment, we are here for you. Please call us.