We’ve all seen trucks flying down the highway with what appears to be a happy dog riding loose in the bed. Those dogs always look like they’re having fun, with their noses pointed into the wind and their hair flying out behind them. Unfortunately, those same dogs often end up terribly injured or dead because of their owner’s habits.

According to a study by the California state legislature, approximately 100,000 dogs are killed nationwide every year because they either fell or jumped out of the bed of a moving pickup truck. Numerous others are seriously injured. Besides the injuries to the animal, there is no reliable estimate on how much damage or how many serious motor vehicle accidents such incidents cause.

Your dog, regardless of size, is like a ball in the back of your pickup. Centrifugal force can send him careening from side to side as you take a corner, and he has no way to grip the bed of your truck or hold on to the sides. He is in imminent danger of falling out if he is not in a crate or cross-tied in the back.

It is also very easy for many dogs to become distracted by something they see on the side of the road and decide to jump out to investigate. Another dog, a person they know, even roadkill — all are reasons your dog might not see the danger of jumping out of a moving vehicle.

Eye injuries are also common, caused by flying bugs, pebbles thrown up by tires, and the everyday dust and dirt of the roadway.

Your dog is also at risk of exposure to the elements by riding in the back of an uncovered pickup. Hot, sunny days can cause your dog’s body temperature to become elevated, putting him in line for heat exhaustion and even heat stroke. If your pickup bed is not insulated, the metal can become extremely hot and burn his paw pads.

In the reverse, you dog can suffer hypothermia and frostbite when riding in the back during cold weather. He has no way of protecting himself from chilly, wet winds, icy conditions, or rain.

Many local and state governments are now regulating how dogs can be carried in the back of pickup trucks. Texas and California, for example, now require all dogs riding in truck beds to be in crates or cross-tied to the truck unless the sides of the truck are at least 46 inches high. At that height, most dogs can’t jump or fall out.

Remember, even if crated or cross-tied, your dog is still at risk of death or injury if you are involved in an accident. The best way to prevent that happening is to purchase a canine seat belt online or at your local pet store and let him ride safely in the cab with you.

Just a couple of examples of Injuries sustained from riding in the back of a truck.  However, most dogs riding in the back of a truck do not survive a fall or being thrown out the the back of a pickup truck when braking quickly to avoid a road hazard to being hit by another vehicle.

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