Dogs and pickup trucks go together like peanut butter and jelly. Man (or woman) and their best animal buddy, out on the open road; it’s a lifestyle. But it could be a lifestyle that puts your dog’s life in danger.
Many pickup trucks don’t have a backseat, so dogs are encouraged to jump up into the truck bed. It serves a dual purpose; the interior of the truck stays free of dirt and dog hair, and the dog gets to enjoy the ride in the open air. Right? Maybe not.
American Humane shared a staggering statistic: over 100,000 dogs die every single year from accidents that result from riding in a truck bed. In light of that, here are four reasons to rethink the way you travel with your best animal companion.
1. They may be tempted to jump out. Even the world’s best-trained dogs still harbor a natural curiosity, and Steve Scherer of Quincy Animal Control told KHQA that riding in truck beds is just too risky to be worth it. “The dog could see something and jump,” he said.
Even well-adjusted dogs could get spooked by a low-flying plane, speeding vehicle, or another animal on the road, for example. According to KHQA, American veterinarians say they see numerous cases of dogs injuring themselves by jumping out of truck beds. They can break legs or incur joint injuries that result in the animal needing a traumatic and costly amputation.
“Most dogs are smart enough not to [jump], Scherer added, “but I would worry about getting in an accident.” In the event of an unforeseen accident, the dog, he said, would be a “projectile.” Other drivers may have to swerve to avoid them, with devastating consequences for everyone, including the dog.
2. Worrisome weather. The wind really picks up on the open road. A dog’s lungs are under pressure while inhaling, even at average speeds. As speed increases, high winds can cause flying debris like grit, small pebbles, and bugs that could damage your dog’s eyes to get lodged in their nasal passages or even get sucked into their windpipe, becoming a choking hazard.
The sun, even if it may feel pleasantly mild from inside the truck cab, can seriously heat up the metal of the truck bed. Dogs have been known to suffer second- and third-degree burns on their paw pads, and a dog left riding in a truck bed for long without water or shade may even suffer from heat stroke.
Heat stroke can be fatal.
3. A leash is not as safe as you think. If you’re worried about your dog being thrown around on the truck bed, it may seem like a good idea to secure them to the vehicle using a leash. But think again. “Many dogs have been strangled when tossed or bumped over the side of the truck,” says American Humane.
If this happened while you were driving, you may not realize in time to save your dog’s life.
So, if not a leash, then how about a cage? Similar problem. In the event of an accident, especially an accident that caused the truck to roll over, your dog would be trapped and unable to escape the vehicle in order to avoid serious injury.
4. It can be frightening! Even if you think your dog is a veritable rock star riding in the truck bed, whipping their floppy ears and howling into the wind, every dog is susceptible to being spooked. Sudden gusts of wind, loud noises on the highway, and not feeling stable on their feet can cause huge anxiety in even the most relaxed of pups.
So what’s the conclusion? The only way to keep your dog truly safe is to keep them inside the vehicle. And if there’s no space for your buddy up front, then leave him or her at home. The risk just isn’t worth it.
Spread the word! We love our dogs, so let’s do right by them and always keep them safe.