Much like dogs, pickup trucks love to get muddy in the great outdoors, so you’d think it is the perfect transport for your pup. However, many states have laws governing the practice. Depending where you live, keeping a pet in the open bed of a truck may be illegal unless they are tethered or caged. Regardless of the law, a bump in the road or sharp turn could lead to an accident. Read on to find out how to safely travel with your dog and take them deep into the countryside.

Keep Off Busy Roads

Pickup trucks were made for the country, so you should aim to only transport your dogs when away from traffic. Some states will require you to tether your dog on the highway, but ideally, they won’t be in the bed of your truck at all. No states have laws about securing a dog if they are inside the vehicle, suggesting that this is a much safer practice.

When you hit the dirt roads, however, it is much safer to pop the pup in the back. Always travel slowly and carefully, but rest assured that your best friend won’t be launched into traffic if an accident occurs. They may still be injured, but if you’re alone in a field the consequences are much less severe.

Invest in a Dog Crate

If the inside of your truck isn’t large enough for your dog or you just want to keep it clean, then there are ways to safely travel busy streets. Invest in a sturdy dog crate, where your dog will feel safely protected from other vehicles. It is important that this crate is securely fastened to the bed of your truck, so that it doesn’t slide around.

A 50 pound unrestrained dog will act like a cannonball with 1500 pounds of force if a crash happens at 35mph, yet just 16% of owners transporting dogs properly restrain them. Doing so will give you peace of mind that your canine companion is safe and happy. So when you set out in your new truck, ensure you have a securely fastened crate to prevent the chance of injury.

Give Your Dog a Human Companion

Dogs are pack animals. If left alone, they can become unsettled, a feeling which is worsened when in a strange environment. When your dog is in the bed of your truck, they will feel calmer and less confused with a human for company. This will stop the pet from frantically moving around and allows you to keep tabs on how they are coping. You know your pet better than anyone, so if they seem calm, you should be okay. If they seem either too nervous or too excited, they probably need a cage.

Taking your dog on a road trip can be an amazing experience for both pet and owner. However, safety must always come first. Avoid busy streets where possible, using a securely tethered crate for maximum security. When unrestrained, a human companion in the back can help keep your dog calm and happy as you travel off the beaten path.