The fastest way to make sure we are never friends is to let your dog ride in the bed of a pickup. Loose or tied it doesn’t matter. I don’t care what training he may or may not have had. You are a lousy human if you think this is a safe way to transport a dog.

My dogs ride in dog trailer with heating and air conditioning depending on the weather and where we are going. They also ride in a dog box anchored to the bed inside a shell to keep the sun and wind off. In the side by side, they ride in an insulated dog box with fans for chukar hunt. They ride in crates inside the toyhauler tied down securely sometimes on extended trips also with heat and AC. But they never ride loose in a bed or tied in a bed. I have seen too many dogs killed that way. Dogs need protection from the elements and from accidents of their making or yours.

Traveling with our furry friends can be an enjoyable experience, but it’s essential to prioritize their safety during car rides. Unfortunately, many pet owners overlook the importance of securely transporting their dogs in vehicles, putting their pets at risk of injury or death. In this article, we’ll discuss the dangers of improper dog transportation, explore safe options for dog transport, share practical tips for traveling with dogs, and provide information on state or local laws regarding pet transportation.

The Dangers of Dogs Riding Loosely in Truck Beds

Allowing dogs to ride unrestrained in truck beds is not only dangerous but can also be lethal. According to the American Humane Society, over 100,000 dogs die each year due to accidents involving riding in truck beds. Some risks associated with this practice include:

  • Sudden stops or turns can cause dogs to be thrown from the vehicle, leading to severe injuries or fatalities.
  • Exposure to extreme weather conditions and debris can harm dogs or cause respiratory issues.
  • Unrestrained dogs are more prone to jumping out of the vehicle, increasing the likelihood of accidents and injuries.

Safe Options for Dog Transport

Thankfully, there are various safe options for transporting dogs in cars and trucks. These include harnesses, carriers, and other restraints that keep dogs secure during travel. Let’s explore some popular products and their pros and cons:

  1. Harnesses: Dog harnesses that attach to seat belts provide a secure and comfortable option for traveling with pets. They allow dogs to sit, stand or lie down while keeping them restrained. Some popular harness options are the Sleepypod Clickit Sport and the Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Harness. However, some dogs may find harnesses restrictive and uncomfortable.

  2. Carriers: Carriers offer a secure and enclosed space for dogs, particularly smaller breeds. They can be placed on the car seat or in the cargo area, depending on the carrier’s size and design. The Petmate Sky Kennel and the Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier are popular choices. While carriers provide a safe space for dogs, they may not be suitable for larger breeds or pets prone to anxiety in confined spaces.

  3. Vehicle Restraints: Restraints like the BarksBar Pet Front Seat Barrier and the Solvit Deluxe Car Safety Tether ensure that dogs remain in a designated area of the vehicle, preventing them from roaming around and causing distractions. These restraints can be attached to the car’s headrests or seat belts. However, some dogs may feel anxious or agitated when restrained in this manner.

  4. Dog trailers specifically designed to carry dogs and keep them safe and protected from weather and road conditions. My trailer came from Solid Point Trailers. Dale is a heck of a great guy. He builds great trailers and is one of the most honest guys I have ever done business with. No he doesn’t sponsor me in anyway, but he sure deserves any business that comes his way. Jones also builds great trailers as do many other manufacturers. I have had several home made ones in the past and even one made in Germany. There are many options, but don’t skimp on options for your dog. Make sure you have a way to keep them both warm and cool depending on weather and to protect them and especially their eyes during travel.
  5. Dog boxes safely anchored to keep them protected in transit. There are many great companies that make dog boxes. I have owned Jones and Owens boxes and I love them both. No they don’t sponsor me in anyway sadly.

Practical Tips for Traveling with Dogs

To make the journey more comfortable for your dog, consider these practical tips:

  • Gradually acclimate your dog to car rides by starting with short trips before attempting longer journeys.
  • Ensure that the vehicle is well-ventilated and maintain a comfortable temperature inside.
  • Schedule regular breaks for your dog to stretch, use the bathroom, and hydrate.
  • Pack a travel kit with essentials like water, food, waste bags, and a familiar toy or blanket.

State and Local Laws Regarding Pet Transportation

Laws regarding pet transportation can vary by state and locality. Some states, like California and Massachusetts, have specific laws prohibiting dogs from riding unrestrained in truck beds. Others may have more general animal cruelty laws that can be applied to unsafe pet transportation. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the laws in your area to ensure you’re compliant and keeping your pet safe.

If you witness an animal in danger during transit, contact your local animal control agency or law enforcement immediately.

In conclusion, prioritizing proper dog transportation in vehicles is essential for the safety and well-being of our furry companions. By investing in suitable restraints and following practical tips for traveling with dogs, we can create a secure and comfortable environment for our pets during car rides.