Dogs In Backs Of Pickup Trucks: DANGEROUS

Time was that we would put a dog in the bed of a pickup and drive across the entire USA, thinking nothing about it.

Now, we know better.

A least some do.

Sadly, one still sees dogs riding atop tool boxes, cargo and debris in the backs of trucks. They are the classic “accident waiting to happen.”

Think it can’t happen to you and your dog?

It can.

It does.

It happened just this morning.

Merry had an appointment for annual physical examination, vaccinations, heartworm test and stool test for intestinal parasites. Her brother, Major, had already had his turn, but their owner could transport only one dog at a time. Merry was safely tied (or so he thought) in the back of the truck, but she either stretched her rope or he misjudged the length, because when she decided to make her own way to the clinic she got only as far as the truck’s fenders.

Hanging, going down the road at 40 miles per hour.

Dragging her feet.

Fortunately her owner was alert and stopped immediately. Merry’s injuries were minimal, limited to scrapes and a few banged-up toenails. An injection for pain followed by five days of Rimadyl  for pain and she will be fine.

Such instances do not always turn out so well.

In thirty years of practice at our hospital I’ve seen broken bones, broken backs, and worst of all, dogs run over by the vehicle behind the truck they jumped out of.

What makes them jump?

It might be a dog in heat (yet another good reason to have your male dog neutered and your female dog spayed!), a dog or person on the side of the road he thought he could jump out and attack or a simple loss of balance.

And, it’s not always trucks. I’ve seen more than my share of dogs who jumped out of cars with windows rolled down too far.

We know what is wrong to do when transporting a dog in a truck. What are the correct procedures?

  1. Put your dog in a carrier. Secure the carrier by bolting it to the floor of the truck or tethering it with strong nylon web straps.
  2. If you must tie your dog without a carrier, do not tie directly to his collar! Instead, purchase a strong harness that goes over his chest, also made from the same strong nylon web strap material. Attach a nylon web strap to the collar and to a secure part of the truck. Measure carefully to ensure the strap is not so long that he can reach the sides of the truck.
  3. Goggles are recommended to protect the eyes from flying bugs and other debris.
  4. Merry got to take advantage of the best truck-riding recommendation of all: She got to ride home in the cab.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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