If you’ve been driving for any length of time, you’ve most likely seen plenty of dogs in the bed of their owner’s pickup truck. Perhaps if you own a dog, you’ve even done it yourself. Letting a dog ride in the bed of a pickup is so common and logical on the surface, but the fact is, in most cases, it’s not safe for the dog.
Over 100,000 dogs are killed or injured every year from accidents involving a dog riding in the bed of a truck.
The most common reason is that the truck gets into an accident and the dog has no protection. However, it’s also common for an unsecured dog to leap out of the truck bed and either get hit by another vehicle or sustain serious injuries from hitting the road at a high rate of speed.
Although it’s ultimately almost never safe to let your dog ride in the bed of your pickup truck, there are a few situations where it is at least somewhat safe. But it’s important to know how to secure dogs in truck beds so that they can be as safe as possible.
DOs and DON’Ts of Dogs In Truck Beds
As previously mentioned, in general, putting your dog in a truck bed is not a good idea, but there are definitely some situations that are better than others. Let’s take a look.
– DON’T leash your dog in your truck bed. A leash could strangle your dog if it gets tangled in the leash or if it falls over the side of the truck.
– DO secure your dog in a crate or kennel if it must ride in the bed of a truck. Ideally, your dog really shouldn’t be in the bed of your truck at all, but if it must be, the safest way is in a crate or kennel that is well-secured in the truck bed.
– DON’T allow your dog to ride loose in the truck bed on main roads or at highway speeds. This is incredibly dangerous for the dog and potentially for other drivers if the dog jumps or falls out.
– DO check the rules of your particular state regarding dogs in the truck bed. Some states have specific laws about when a dog can be in a truck bed, and some states like Maryland, California, Maine, and Connecticut don’t allow dogs to be transported in truck beds at all.
– DON’T transport your dog in your truck bed in bad weather unless you can provide it full protection from harsh sun, rain, snow, or other weather issues.
– DO ensure that you have a bed liner installed in your truck bed before putting your dog in it. The best truck bed liner is the DualLiner bed liner system with a zero skid mat and precise fit for American full-size trucks.
Truck bed liners protect your dog and your truck bed from injuries or damage. If you use a crate in your truck bed without a liner, the crate will likely move around, which isn’t safe for your dog. If your dog is loose in the bed (never a good idea) in warm weather or wet weather, the dog could burn its paws or slip around.
Situations Where It’s Relatively Safe To Have Your Dog In the Truck Bed
Is it safe for dogs to ride in the back of a truck in a kennel? As long as the kennel is fully secured in the truck bed, this is the most ideal way for a dog to ride in a truck bed. Take a look at the following situations where it’s relatively safe for a dog to ride in the truck bed.
– Hunters traveling at slow speeds in rural areas or off-road. The risk of an accident at slow speeds off the main road is much lower than on busy streets or at highway speed. However, it’s still important to have the dog secured in a crate, kennel, or other enclosure.
– Rescue dogs in areas with limited access. This is similar to hunters traveling in rural areas, but again, it’s still recommended that the dog be in a crate, or better yet, inside the cab.
– Farmers or ranchers on private property. Your dog might like to ride along as you inspect your property, your animals, or your crops. When you’re off the main roads, it’s generally much safer to have your dog in the back of your truck.
Types of Truck Bed Crates
There are three main types of crates for truck beds: metal wire crates, plastic panel crates, and metal panel crates. In most cases, regular dog crates aren’t good for truck beds due to their less durable construction.
Metal Wire Crates
This type of crate is similar to a regular wire dog crate, but the bars on the ones made for truck beds are usually much thicker. These crates offer plenty of ventilation and visibility, but they don’t offer a lot of protection in a crash and they’re probably the least escape-proof compared to the other two types.
Plastic Panel Crates
Plastic panel crates usually provide more protection from the elements compared to metal wire crates. As long as they’re designed well, they’re usually also quite escape-proof. However, plastic panel crates still don’t provide a lot of protection in the event of a crash. If the plastic is too soft, it can also be scratched or chewed.
Metal Panel Crates
If you must let your dog ride in the bed of your truck, the metal panel crate style is the safest way. These crates provide a decent amount of crash protection and protection from the elements. The only downside of metal panel crates is that they tend to be very heavy, and you may need a second person to move them.
The bottom line is that transporting your dog in the bed of your truck is usually not a good idea. But if you must do it, make sure that you have a sturdy, well-made crate that can be firmly secured to your truck bed.
Protect your truck bed from damage from hauling items or bad weather by installing a DualLiner truck bed liner system. The DualLiner system is considered by industry experts to be the perfect bed liner as it features a custom fit to your truck bed and a zero skid mat.