Catherine Hiles
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Is It Safe to Leave Your Dog in the Truck Bed? (Spoiler: Nope)

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If you are a dog owner and a truck driver, it might seem like a no-brainer to let your dog ride in your truck bed when you go out. After all, your dog would probably love to feel the breeze flapping in their ears while their tongue lolls out of their mouth. But allowing a dog to ride in a truck bed can be a very bad idea. Not only does it endanger your dog, but it can also endanger other motorists.

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Why is it a bad idea to let your dog ride in your truck bed?

When driving, there’s no way to determine whether or not you’ll face a sudden obstacle that causes you to suddenly step on the brakes or swerve. If this happens, your dog can easily be thrown from the truck bed and onto the road. Not only does this increase the chances of either the injury or death of your dog, but it also increases the chance that they will be struck by another vehicle.

Your dog might even cause an accident when a car swerves to avoid hitting them. Putting your dog on a restraint won’t help either; there have been cases where dogs have been strangled or dragged after being thrown from a truck.

Unlike the inside of a vehicle, an open truck bed doesn’t offer protection from the sun. If your dog has thin or light (or no) fur they can be susceptible to sunburn. Additionally, the metal truck bed can get very hot in summer, and that hot metal might burn your dog’s paws.

If your dog is roaming in your truck bed unsecured, they could easily jump out if they see another dog or a squirrel (or whatever gets them excited). If your dog doesn’t have a good recall command, they might run away and get lost. Also, if your dog does this at a high speed they will be injured upon impact and could even die.

Finally, driving with your dog in a truck bed is actually illegal in some U.S. states.

Is there a way to do it safely?

If you need to transport your dog in a pickup truck, keep them in the cab with you. Make sure you secure them in the seat using a harness so they aren’t able to roam and distract you, and they are less likely to go flying in case of a collision.

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If this is not an option and they have to ride in the truck bed, make sure you put them in a crate that is secured as well as possible to avoid it moving around the bed or thrown. You can tie the crate to the truck bed walls, and that should keep it securely in place as you drive. The crate will be safest when secured in the center of the truck bed.

Whether you drive a car, truck, or SUV, it’s important to always make sure your dog is properly secured while driving. It might be cute to see a happy dog with their head hanging out of a car window, but it’s dangerous and just not worth the risk.