Dogs in the Back of Pickups

Dog in Pickup BoxJust mention the words "truck ride" and our dog becomes your shadow. Like most dogs, she refuses to be left behind when someone is going for a drive. Being a lap dog, she rides inside and thinks that the right front seat is hers, although she will happily let people sit underneath her.

Riding in the Back of a Pickup

Larger dogs are often not granted inside status and ride in the back of pickups and other vehicles. Here is what our Motor Vehicle Act has to say about that:

Transporting animals

172 A person commits an offence if the person transports a living animal on the runningboard, fender, hood or other exterior part of a motor vehicle unless a suitable cage, carrier or guard rail is provided and is attached adequately to protect that animal from falling or being thrown from the vehicle.

If your truck has a cage, carrier or guardrail attached to it that keeps the animal inside, you are good to go, at least as far as this legislation is concerned.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is more specific:

Transportation of animals

9.3 (1) A person responsible for an animal must not transport the animal by vehicle unless the animal is

(a) inside the passenger compartment, or

(b) confined or secured in a manner that will prevent the animal from

(i) falling from the vehicle,

(ii) being injured during transport, or

(iii) causing a hazard to the safe operation of other vehicles.

(2) A person responsible for an animal must not attach the animal to a vehicle that is in operation unless the animal is confined or secured as described in subsection (1) (b).

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to a person operating a vehicle that is designed for use as a mobility aid for persons with a disability and that is being used for that purpose.

These rules would prevent putting a dog on a flat deck truck secured by a leash for instance. The idea being that the dog would not be able to fall off and be dragged or strangled.

Protection from the Weather

Zooming down the highway in cold temperatures and pouring rain while sitting in the open box of pickup is not likely a preferred activity for dogs. The Health of Animals Regulations require that:

Protection from Inadequate Ventilation and Weather Conditions

146 No person shall load, confine or transport an animal in or unload an animal from a conveyance or container, or cause one to be so loaded, confined, transported or unloaded, if the animal is likely to suffer, sustain an injury or die due to inadequate ventilation or by being exposed to meteorological or environmental conditions.

Causing Distress

When you consider taking your dog for a ride in the pickup truck you must consider the animal's welfare and provide for it accordingly.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act sets a general condition for a dog's care:

Duties of persons responsible for animals

9.1 (1) A person responsible for an animal must care for the animal, including protecting the animal from circumstances that are likely to cause the animal to be in distress.

(2) A person responsible for an animal must not cause or permit the animal to be, or to continue to be, in distress.

Incidentally, distress could also mean leaving a dog inside a hot vehicle.

Drivers that fail to provide properly for their animals may be stopped and required to remedy the situation. They may also be subject to charge and could be prohibited from owning an animal as part of the penalty.


The guard rails or box sides are not sufficient to keep dogs safe while traveling in a vehicle at any speed . If the driver has to stop quickly the dog is going to be either thrown into the inside of truck box or out of the truck box causing sever injury and possibly colliding with another vehicle . Is that not why people are not allowed to ride in the back neither should animals of any kind not properly confined . Irresponsible ownership of animals has to stop . Just because the dog enjoys it does not make it safe !

However, it is the justice in traffic court that must be convinced of that when a ticket is disputed. I have watched trials where the justice ruled that the sides of the pickup box were sufficient.

Never let my dogs ride in the back of the pickup. One declared the centre console as his the other took the front passenger seat. He would share if you let him ride on your lap.

Some may say he was an excellent salesman but taking possession of a new vehicle the salesman pointed out that an unrestrained dog was the same as a person and proceed to sell me a harness that hooked into the seatbelt. He never liked it as he was use to hopping down and going to his water and food dishes but I do think it was a good investment.

This investment was aided by the fact I came across an accident and the driver was concerned about her dog. It had been thrown out panicked and taken off. It was found two days later wandering on the road. It was boarded out till the driver was released from hospital. So when he mentioned a harness this incident came back to mind and it seemed like a good idea.

For some of us our pets are our kids and I believe should be treated with their health and safety in mind.  

One thing you see way to much of... my dog has her own seat and belt. I ordered a harness on-line because she is safer in the truck than in the box. Too often we see and hear about Skippy the wander dog being thrown from or out of during a collision or sometimes they jump.. NOT My dog. The old saying was "CLUNK CLICK EVERY TRIP".. I will voice a pet peeve, Drivers with their pets on their lap.. I may offend some.. But how STUPID are some people, emergency maneuver or general driving is impeded.. Who knows what an airbag could do to fluffy? I’m one that doesn’t want to know..

Overall fasten in your BFF and enjoy it because as I was told, "A pet is here for part of our lives, WE are here for all of theirs. Let’s keep them safe, after all they are family..

One time I followed a truck from Mill Bay to Duncan with a dog unleashed in the pickup box. I got to Ladysmith where the truck stopped and called the RCMP. They said they were too busy!

How about people who drive with small dogs on their lap or leaning out the drive's window. Have seen a few but never seen anyone stopped.

I bought a seatbelt attachment for a dog where the tongue of the belt goes into the receiver of a car's seatbelt. Excellent idea but in my case as the tongue on the device is narrower than the tongue of the seatbelt, the tongue on the device slips out. It depends on the vehicle.

If I am anywhere near a wrecking yard I will find a seatbelt that works and reattach the tongue to the restraining device.

And don't get me started about the idiots who ride bikes and hold onto the dog s leash with one hand. Poor dog. Run until he drops!