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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Risking Pets On The Highway

Please excuse me while I rant for a little bit.  Today I saw something that I witness from time to time and it really bothers me both as a pet owner and a vet:  dogs riding in the bed of a pickup truck on the highway.

One of the first times I really noticed this was many years ago when I saw a truck going down an eight-lane interstate.  There was a lab sitting on top of the tool box behind the cab of a fully-laden pickup traveling at around 80 mph.  Today it was a German shepherd standing up and walking around in a mostly-full truck bed going around 70 mph.  Whenever I see this I cringe and want to make the driver pull over and take their dog inside the cab with them.

This is a huge risk for injury!  Yes, most dogs will probably stay in the back and be okay, which is what lulls people into a false sense of security.  Dogs don't have the cognitive reasoning to be able to think about what harm would happen if they jumped out of a moving vehicle.  They may realize some danger and try to avoid it, but a strong enough stimulus could cause them to make the leap.  The other risk is if the driver of the truck suddenly has to swerve or slam on breaks to avoid a road hazard or other vehicle.  Such a sudden move could send the dog out of the truck and onto the highway or into another vehicle.  Even if the dog is secured by a leash, there could be a risk of it falling over the side while still being attached, causing it to be dragged or strangled.  In any of these circumstances we have a deadly situation.  If the dog jumps or falls onto a busy highway going at high speeds that dog will die.

I simply don't understand why people take these sorts of risks.  They would never consider doing that with one of their children, so why do they do it with their pet?

10 comments:

  1. I hate when people do that. So stupid.

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  2. My big pet peeve as well, then put same dog up on an entire load of hay on a flatbed so dog is an additional 12' off the ground. I do my best to get around these people as quickly as I can - I just don't want to see it when the dog goes off the side - or worse off the back and I would end up hitting them!

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  3. Rant on! Personally I think it should be illegal to have pets ride loose in the bed of a truck. It's illegal to let your kids do it!

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  4. Oh this makes me so crazy, too. When working that the CSU vet hospital in Colorado, we saw numerous accidents brought in because of just this scenario. One of my co-workers was known to actually yell at people doing this when she saw it on the streets. So dumb. (And yet - I recently saw someone with children in the back of a speeding truck. Yikes.)

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  6. I agree completely. If they have to ride in the back, just LEAVE THEM AT HOME!!! It makes me cringe everytime I see it, and I worry about the dog the rest of the day.

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  7. I completely agree!!! I can't understand why people don't take pet safety as seriously as a children's. They are both living beings.

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  8. At one hospital I worked at, a client would bring in his 3 Shar Peis on a semi regular basis. Why? Because they jumped out of the bed of his moving truck. You'd think at the very least he would have learned the first time. Or the second...and so on. Or listened when we ALL told him to stop doing it. Nope.



    http://perilsofthepetnurse.blogspot.com/

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  9. In California it is against the law to have a dog in the bed of a truck unless it is secured so it cannot go overboard.

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  10. They do indeed do it with their kids. Around here you used to see people riding in the back all the time, until Colorado got serious with seatbelt laws (which are still derided by some of the rednecks..."how dare the big bad g'ubmint try to keep me from having to bury my child because she busted her head in on the asphalt after she fell out the truck"?)

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