Okay, I’m probably going to step on a few toes, but I saw something this week that bothered me. I was stopped at a traffic light beside a pickup truck. In the open bed of the truck were two dogs, a black dog sitting down and a blond one ambling from one side to the other, checking out all the cars and people and other sights on the road. The light turned green and as we started off, the standing dog stumbled but quickly regained his balance. The dogs looked healthy and happy. No problem, right?
Well, not if you ask me – or almost any veterinarian. Dogs riding in the open bed of a pickup truck are not safe. A dog may love the wind in its face, but the airborne dust particles and dirt and grime from the road can damage a pet’s eyes, ears and respiratory passages.
But that’s not the worst part. It is estimated that 100,000 dogs are killed every year by being thrown out of a truck bed in a collision, accidently falling out, or even jumping out. Those who are tethered may be dragged for some distance, or if the tether is short enough they can strangle.
In addition to the risk posed to the animal, there’s the danger for other drivers on the road who might swerve to avoid hitting the dog and end up in an accident themselves. Many states have banned dogs riding in the beds of pickup trucks because of the danger to both humans and animals.
So what are your options? One would be to let your pet ride in the cab with you – but remember, in a truck cab (or even in a car), if you leave the window down you’re still putting your furry friend at risk.
Another option, although not as safe, might be to put your dog in a well-ventilated crate or carrier that is secured to the bed of the truck.
And remember that if your pet is going to travel with you, make sure it’s up-to-date on its vaccinations and has an implanted microchip or a collar with an ID tag.
And of course, there’s one more option – leave your pet safely at home. That way, when you get back you’ll know your best friend will be there waiting for you, safe and sound, when you’re speaking of pets.