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Ask a Vet: Secure your pup in the truck
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I have a friend who is an EMT, and when we get into conversations about the state of the world today, he often opines a theory about why we have so many dumb people today: Helmet laws keep nature from picking off the idiots when we’re young.

Now, I freely admit this is a true dark take on the matter. But it does bring up the question of responsibility and thinking ahead of what may result from your actions.

Take the back of a pickup truck, for example. From the time I was young and all the way until college, my friends and I would ride around in the back of a pickup with little thought to the risks. None of my friends were unlucky, but kids get killed in accidents all the time.

So do dogs. Actually, lots of dogs.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates 100,000 dogs die each year in the United States due to accidents in which they were riding in the back of a truck. And that’s just the numbers reported.

And there’s the rub. Many dogs love riding in the back of a truck. But I doubt those dogs really consider how the rest of their day is going to go, which puts the responsibility on the owner. And so, as with any decision, the only way to prepare yourself for it is to educate yourself. So here are the risks.

Your dog may fall out of the truck. Not just in an accident, but if a particularly attractive squirrel distracts him. Jumping out of a moving truck is just as bad as being thrown from a moving truck.

Most means to secure the dog in the truck are disasters waiting to happen. A dog doesn’t have to be suicidal to hang himself over the side. And unsecured crates are just ejection pods in waiting.

Insects at 45 miles per hour are not friends of eyes.

Most injuries related to truck falls are nonfatal, but can be completely life-changing, such as loss of a leg or paralysis. So if possible, let the pup ride in the cab, preferably in the back row so we don’t have to discuss air bag or windshield injuries.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at

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