Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | August 12, 2008

Dogs in Trucks

Zach - Pet Column Author
Zach – Pet Column Author

The Second Chance Humane Society attempts to navigate the fine line between education and “lecturing” and we hope to never come across as a pretentious bunch.  Some topics are always going to sound as though we are “preaching” and perhaps some topics we should be preaching, but that is not our chosen role.  We feel that the best course is to provide a comprehensive picture on a particular topic and hope that pet parents will then make the best choices for their pets. 

You have probably guessed that this week’s column is a sensitive one.  And it is, particularly for a rural community such as ours where people love their pickup trucks and their dogs. And they love their dogs who ride in pickup trucks. So if you are a dog loving, pick-up driving reader of this column – please consider the following non-preaching education: 

Dogs who are riding in the backs of pickup trucks usually look like they’re having fun, noses testing the wind, ears flopping freely – they are going places with their parents. But an estimated 100,000 dogs die every year as a result of falling or jumping off of pick-up trucks.  If your truck hits a bump, or if you step on the brakes suddenly or swerve to avoid an obstacle, your dog can easily be thrown from the truck bed.

If the dogs do not die, they commonly suffer from multiple fractures, abdominal and thoracic trauma, and severe cuts and bruises. In many cases, dogs that do manage to survive are hit and killed by other vehicles.  Additionally, you are endangering other motorists, as dogs falling or jumping from trucks often lead to car accidents.  The dangers are enough that many states have banned traveling with dogs in the truck bed, or require they be secured.

Thus, when travelling with your dog in a pickup truck, we suggest putting him in the cab or in a travel crate that can’t slide around or tip over (remember to be alert for high or very low temperatures as the inside temperature of a plastic crate can rise very quickly).

Some folks opt to secure their dog in the truck bed using a special dog harness, however, the Humane Society of the United States knows of no brand of harness that has been proven safe in this situation. In fact, there have been cases where dogs restrained by leashes or harnesses have been strangled or dragged after being thrown from a truck bed.  Additionally, the metal of the truck bed can burn or freeze dogs’ feet. Dogs riding in the hot sun without shade may suffer from heatstroke. Other risks are that dogs can get corneal ulcers when bugs, sand, debris, or other objects are blown into their eyes when trucks travel at high speeds.

So yes, dogs enjoy riding in the back of pickup trucks, but as social beings they enjoy riding in the cab alongside their parents even more – safe and secure.  Second Chance has rescued numerous pets who have been thrown from trucks and survived but the owner did not return for them, we have seen badly injured legs, heads, eyes, etc. and although we don’t want to lecture anyone – we do hope you will consider this when traveling with your dog in a truck.

Zack, the research assistant for this Pet Column is a handsome, good mannered, gentle and very vivacious dog who plays well with dogs and children of all sizes.  He is looking for a home where he can receive the love and attention he deserves.  He feels strongly about riding inside the cab of pickup trucks.

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet or learn about SCHS Spay/Neuter Vouchers, Volunteer & Foster Care and other Programs.  Visit to see our adoptable pets.  Responses to Pet Columns can be sent to




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