This is a great article from Puppy Leak on dogs riding in the back of pick up trucks. Growing up I rode in the back of a pick up all the time. My dad is a hunter and has a dog box that he hauls his dogs in when he goes hunting. I have seen dogs in the back of pick up trucks and it looks like they will jump out of the truck at any second. It makes me very nervous and I just want to stop the people and put the dog on the inside of the vehicle or in a crate. We all have the right to haul our pets how we see fit but I feel that we should be smart and safe about it! This is our family we are hauling, four legs or not!
An estimated 100,000 dogs die each year riding in truck beds. And that’s not even taking into account all of the other injuries veterinarians see from dogs being driven around in the back of pick up trucks.
And your dog jumping or tumbling out isn’t the only risk. Flying rocks and debris can cause serious injury, and all that wind can cause irritation and blow grit into their eyes. Even with a bed cap or harness you don’t have complete control or immediate access if something were to go wrong. And you don’t have to be going very fast for it to be dangerous:
An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of force, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2400 pounds of force. – Dog Travel Statistics
Is Driving With Dogs in Pickup Beds Legal?
In the U.S. riding with dogs in low pickup beds has been banned in a few states (California & Massachusetts) and jurisdictions, but in the vast majority of areas it’s not even illegal to transport children this way.
There are also some states such as Minnesota and Oregon that require dogs to be enclosed or cross tethered in pick up beds, but there’s almost always an exemption for farmers or those working in agriculture.
According to a 1998 study:
71 percent of Massachusetts veterinarians reported having treated animals (mostly dogs) injured as a result of riding unsecured and unprotected in the back of open-bed vehicles. This resulted in more than 600 dogs being injured while transported in this unsafe manner. – MSPCA
There Are Many Options Available, Don’t Risk It
Besides risking an infraction when you drive with your dog in the back of your pickup truck you’re taking a big safety risk. Rather than having your dog ride freely in the back of your truck consider these options:
- If you must drive with your dog in the pickup bed use a restrained crate
- Use a harness or dog seatbelt to keep dogs safe in the backseat or pickup cab
- Tether your dog with a short harness to ensure safety from strangulation and death
- You can use a barrier to keep your dog in the cab or backseat
- Dogs riding in the front seat can create distractions for the driver