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?