Is it safe to drive with a dog in your truck bed?

Getty, Mario Tama

We all know that it is not safe (or legal in many states) for children to ride in the back of pickup trucks. But what about man’s best friend? Is it okay to let your pup ride in the bed of a pickup?

Definitely not.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, un-caged dogs who ride in the beds of pickup trucks are at risk of severe injury. It is estimated that around 100,000 dogs every year are fatally injured by jumping or falling from a pickup truck’s cargo area.

A dog could become startled or over-excited and jump out the moving vehicle. In doing so, she could not only become injured by the fall, but could easily be struck by oncoming vehicles (and potentially cause an accident and injuries to other drivers).

Getty, Elijah Nouvelage

Putting On A Leash Doesn’t Help

If dogs are tied up with a leash or rope while riding in the back of a pickup bed, they could still be in grave danger.

If traffic stops suddenly, or if she becomes spooked and tries to hop out of the car, the leash could become tangled and potentially strangle her. “[M]any dogs have been strangled when tossed or bumped over the side of the truck and been left helplessly dangling,” the American Humane Society explained.

Weather Concerns

Here’s another concern of particular importance this time of year: The metal floor of a truck bed can become VERY hot! It will be incredibly painful for your pup’s paws, and could even lead to burns.

Additionally, riding in the back of a pickup truck can be doubly dangerous during times when there is inclement weather like hail or lightning.

Experts at the Animal Channel also point out that a truck traveling at high rates of speed could kick up small pebbles and other road debris, which could strike your dog.

For these reasons, it is never a good idea to let your dog roam free in the back of a pickup truck when the vehicle is in use.

Getty, Eric Thayer

What’s The Best Way To Transport A Dog?

In many states,  it is illegal to have your dog in the back of your pickup truck without her being properly restrained. It’s worth looking into the rules in your particular state.

Now, the good news is that there are safe ways to travel with your dog in the bed of a pickup truck. Your best bet is to put a large crate, which has a floor to keep your dog’s paws safe, in the back of the truck and then to ensure that the crate is securely attached so it won’t slide around.

This Bushwhacker Paws n Claws K9 Canopy, which is $149 on Amazon, comes with a pad and a tethering system to keep the kennel in place. The mesh will reflect the sun’s rays and help keep pup cool, and the adjustable tether will make it easy to secure your dog safely.

It looks downright cozy in there!


Remember, it’s important to keep your pets safe and comfortable while you are on the road, even if you are just going for a short drive. You wouldn’t drive children around without a seatbelt — so don’t take your dog for an un-secured ride, either!

Animals, Pets
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About the Author
Bridget Sharkey
Bridget Sharkey is a freelance writer covering pop culture, beauty, food, health and nature. Visit Scripps News to see more of Bridget's work.

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