Not only is letting your dog ride unsecured in the back of a truck dangerous, but it's also against the law. That's why it is certainly one of our PET PEEVES.
If you travel anywhere in Central Oregon, whether it's on a lonely country road or a busy highway, odds are you've seen a dog riding loose in the back of a pickup truck. Sometimes the dog seems to be having fun and enjoying the experience of checking out the passing scenery as the wind ruffles its fur. Other times the dog is frantically trying to keep its balance and remain inside the truck bed. In either scenario, these dogs are being placed in an incredibly unsafe situation.
Many people do it, and they see nothing wrong with it. However, transporting a dog untethered in the open bed of a pickup truck is not practicing responsible pet ownership, and it endangers both the dog and other motorists.
The smooth surface of the truck bed provides little to no traction for a dog. All it takes to jettison the dog into traffic is one abrupt stop, quick turn or bump in the road.
If you have to slam on your brakes or swerve to avoid an obstacle, the dog becomes a projectile. This can result in broken bones, bruising and road rash, and quite possibly death from being struck by either the truck they're riding in or another vehicle. Even if the dog survives falling onto the road, their owners will incur a hefty vet bill. Letting a dog ride loose in the pickup truck bed is a danger to other drivers too, who might have an accident when they swerve to miss hitting the dog.
On winding roads, an untethered dog in a pickup truck bed will bounce from side to side. If they don't fall out, at the very least they will suffer bruising from continually hitting the hard walls of the truck bed. Not to mention the stress of the experience. An untethered dog may also jump out of the open truck bed of his own accord if he sees something that captures his attention, such as a cat. A dog-aggressive canine could even, in the heat of the moment, leap out of the moving truck and pounce on a dog being walked down the street by its owner.
Even tethered dogs are at risk for strangulation and/or being dragged behind a moving vehicle if they aren't secured correctly.
It seems obvious that the dangers of letting your dog ride loose in a pickup truck bed far outweigh any potential benefits. Yet far too many owners either don't see these dangers as real, or they believe that taking the dog with them is better than leaving it home alone. But which is preferable - having a lonely dog who's happy to see you
when you get home,, or one that gets injured or killed when it falls from the truck bed?
Many states (including Oregon) already have laws prohibiting the transport of dogs unsecured in the back of a pickup truck, and most that don't are working on getting this unsafe practice deemed illegal. Regardless of the law, a responsible dog owner has a moral obligation to make sure their canine companion stays safe while on the road.