By Julia Williams
Many people see nothing wrong with letting their dog ride untethered in the open bed of a pickup truck. I can’t count the times I’ve seen a dog riding loose in the back of a pickup truck, and you probably have too. Sometimes the dog seems to be enjoying this open air experience, while other times the dog looks terrified as he struggles to maintain his balance. Regardless of whether the dog is having fun or is frightened, transporting them untethered in the back of a pickup is placing them in a very unsafe situation. It not only endangers the dog, but other motorists who could have an accident when they swerve to miss the dog if he falls out.
An untethered dog in a pickup truck bed can easily become a projectile if the driver has to slam on his brakes, swerve to avoid something in the road, or hits an unexpected bump. I know someone who actually saw a dog fly out of an open truck bed onto a busy freeway, and the image haunts them. It’s really not something you want to see happen to any dog, because it can result in broken bones, road rash, bruises and even death if they get hit by another vehicle. Even if the dog manages to survive falling out of an open truck bed, treating his injuries could incur a sizable vet bill.
On winding roads, an untethered dog riding in an open truck bed will get bounced from side to side. Even if they don’t fall out, they can suffer bruises from continually hitting the hard walls of the truck bed. An untethered dog could also jump out of the open truck bed while it’s moving if he happens to see a cat, squirrel, another dog or something else he wants to chase. Many states have laws prohibiting the unsafe practice of transporting dogs unsecured in an open pickup truck bed. Regardless of the law, a responsible dog owner is one that makes sure their canine companion stays safe and healthy, both at home and on the road.