Many pet owners use a truck for their work or simply to travel around their neighborhood. If Fido comes too, you need to be sure that your precious pup is safe and comfortable while riding with you. The best way to do that is to use a truck bed crate.
So, can you use a regular dog crate for transporting your dog in your truck? Is it safe to transport your dog in your truck bed? And what should you look for in a truck bed dog kennel?
Read this guide for lots of helpful information and read our reviews of the three best dog crates for truck beds.
Comparison Table of The 3 Best Dog Crates For Truck Beds
4 X 4 North America Dog Transport Kennel
- Crash-tested for rear, front, and roll-over impacts
- 6 sizes from small to XXL
- High-quality steel build with powder coating finish
Owens Products Single Compartment Dog Crate
- Excellent cross ventilation
- All-season adjustable ventilation system
- Durable, anti-corrosion material
Gunner Kennels G1
- Best-selling, crash-tested crate
- 110-pound weight limit
- Strong, well-constructed dog crate
Is It Safe To Transport Your Dog In Your Truck Bed?
You most likely know that it’s dangerous and illegal in many states to allow a child to ride in the back of a pickup truck. But what about your dog? Is it safe and legal to allow your canine companion to ride in your truck bed?
No! It is not!
According to research carried out by the American Veterinary Medical Association, an unrestrained dog riding loose in the bed of a pickup truck is at serious risk of injury. It’s though that around 100,000 dogs are fatally injured every year purely through falling from or jumping out of a pickup truck’s flatbed.
A dog that is traveling loose in a pickup flatbed could easily be tempted to leap out of the moving vehicle if distracted or frightened by something outside of the vehicle. The dog could very easily be severely injured by the fall, especially if the truck is traveling at speed. Also, oncoming vehicles could hit your dog, potentially causing injuries to other drivers and damage to their vehicles for which, as the dog owner, you would be liable.
Can’t I Use A Leash To Restrain My Dog In My Trucks Flatbed?
Although you might think that it’s okay to restrain your dog in your pickup by fastening him to something in the flatbed, that’s not the case at all. In fact, your dog could be in even more danger of sustaining a serious injury or even being killed.
Well, in the event that the traffic comes to a sudden stop, or if your dog gets startled, he could easily get tangled in the leash and start panicking. In fact, there are lots of tragic reports of dogs that have been strangled when falling over the side of the flatbed and been left hanging while the driver continues, oblivious to the plight of their pet.
Another cause for concern for dogs riding loose in the back of pickups is the weather.
In the summertime when the weather is very hot, the metal floor of a pickup truck bed can become incredibly hot. In fact, that metal floor can become scorching so that your dog’s pads can even be burned in extreme cases.
Also, when it’s raining heavily, snowing, or in a thunderstorm, a dog riding loose in the back of a pickup will be exposed to some extremely unpleasant conditions, including hail and lightning. That could result in serious injury to your poor dog, as well as being extremely uncomfortable for him.
As well as the weather, other hazards can make it highly risky for your dog to ride in the back of your pickup without the protection of a crate or kennel.
A truck traveling at speed can kick up lots of debris from the road, which could injure your dog. Also, when you’re driving down dirt roads or over uneven ground, it can be very difficult for your dog to keep his balance, and he could easily fall and injure himself.
So, you can see that allowing your dog to ride free in the back of a pickup truck is never a good idea.
What’s The Best Way To Transport Your Dog In The Back Of Your Pickup?
In many states, you must have your dog properly restrained in the back of a pickup truck or you risk prosecution. For that reason, we recommend that you check the rules in your state to avoid ending up on the wrong side of the law.
So, what is the safest, legal way to travel with your dog in the back of your pickup truck?
The best way to transport your dog in the back of a pickup truck without breaking the law or putting your furry friend at risk is to use a large truck bed kennel. The crate you use should have a flat floor that protects your dog’s paws, and it should be securely fixed to the flatbed so that it doesn’t slip and slide around.
How To Fix The Crate To Your Flatbed
Most crates that are designed for use in truck flatbeds have special tie-down fittings built into the frame of the crate so that you can use straps to secure the crate. Most flat-bed crates are supplied with straps, but you can buy aftermarket alternatives if your crate isn’t supplied with them.
Who Needs A Truck Bed Dog Crate?
Although your dog should ideally ride with you in your vehicle where possible, there are a few scenarios when a dog can travel in the back of your truck, provided that he’s restrained safely in a suitable crate.
Hunters and their canine companions often travel across farmland or around dirt roads in remote areas where the risk of an accident is much lower than when driving through urban areas.
Also, some scent dogs are expected to sniff out prey while the truck is in motion, so it’s essential that these dogs ride in the back of the truck. Hunting often takes place in the fall and wintertime when the weather is inclement, so you want a hunting crate that will keep your dog warm, dry, and safe if he’s traveling in the back of your pickup.
These crates must also provide shelter for the dogs since these pups often have to wait around for part of the day, waiting for the action to begin.
In some scenarios, such as mountain rescue operations, professional dog handlers need to drive through rural or inaccessible areas to get to a crime scene or to a place where someone has gone missing and a canine search is required.
However, even in these cases, it’s far safer for a dog to travel in a crate inside an SUV or 4 x 4 than in the flatbed of a truck.
If you’re a farmer, you might want to have your dog with you when you’re checking and repairing fences, inspecting your crops, or tending to livestock. Often, that means that you’re driving slowly around private tracks and through fields on your own land, or moving between your fields on very quiet public roads.
In that case, it might be better to have your dog riding in the back of your pickup. However, we would always recommend that you use a dog crate to keep your canine workmate from jumping out of the flatbed unexpectedly.
What Should You Look For In A Truck Bed Dog Kennel?
If you need to transport your dog in the flatbed of your truck, it’s essential that you make sure the crate you choose is perfectly suited to the job. Your average dog crate won’t typically be strong enough, and cheaper dog crates won’t cut it either.
Here are the most important things to look out for when scrutinizing dog crates and kennels that are suitable for use in a pickup truck bed.
If you’re using the crate to take your dog hunting or to enjoy other outdoor sporting activities, you need to know that the dog and the crate are both secure.
These days, dog thefts are on the rise, and valuable working animals are in high demand. So, you need to be sure that your dog can’t escape from the crate while you’re on the road and when you’re parked up and your dog is left unattended. Ideally, you want a keyed lock or steel locks that your dog can’t open, and that will keep potential thieves at bay, too.
As well as keeping your dog securely confined to his crate, you want to make sure that no one can steal the crate while you and your furry friend are away from your vehicle. Specialist dog crates can be expensive to buy, so the last thing you want is to return to your truck only to discover that your dog crate has been stolen.
To prevent theft, you need a crate that you can secure to the truck bed, ideally by some means that can’t easily be overcome by a passing opportunist thief. It’s well worth marking your crate with a special number that’s only visible under UV lighting. That way, if your crate is stolen, you have a much better chance of identifying it as yours and getting it back. Local law enforcement will be able to mark your crate for you, usually free of charge.
Sturdy Construction And Design
Sadly, there are only a few crates on the market that are specifically designed and tested to keep your dog safe in the event of a collision or a crash. However, you want to provide your dog with as much protection as you can, should the unthinkable happen.
Obviously, you want a crate that’s made from strong, robust construction materials, including a sturdy roof, but the design and build of the crate are crucial, too. Generally, metal crates are far less likely to collapse or fail under impact than plastic crates. Similarly, soft-sided crates are a fabulous option for home use and they are undoubtedly portable, but soft crates are totally unsuitable for transporting a dog in the back of a pickup truck.
So, although a collapsible dog crate might seem like a good option because of the convenient storage and portability that design offers you when the crate is not in use, generally, collapsible crates are not as rigid or safe as solid, non-collapsible designs. The last thing you want to happen is for your crate to disintegrate when your dog is thrown against the sides of the crate as you drive down a rough track.
Since your truck bed crate will be living in the back of your pickup where it’s exposed to the elements and to flying debris from the road, you need one that’s durable and will last. With that in mind, the best choice of material is galvanized metal. A cheaper crate is not the best choice, as they quickly begin to rust and degrade, especially if they get wet frequently.
A plastic crate won’t be damaged by repeated exposure to moisture, but it could easily be damaged by the detritus that blows up off the road as you travel.
You want your dog to be comfortable as well as safe when he’s riding in his crate. The dog should be able to stand up without hitting his head on the crate roof, turn around without difficulty, sit down without bumping his ears or head on the top of the crate, and lie flat out without his paws colliding the crate sides.
However, you don’t want the crate to be too big so that your dog has excess space to move around in. If you have an accident, your dog will be thrown around inside a crate that’s too big and is more likely to get injured, so a smaller crate is actually safer for your pet.
Your dog’s crate needs to be securely fixed to the flatbed of your truck to prevent the cage from sliding around when you’re driving. Tie-down pins that are built into the crate’s frame can be useful to attach to the straps that come with the crate keep it in place.
In very bad weather and on hot days, conditions can become uncomfortable for your dog in his crate.
A crate with insulated walls can help to keep your dog warm or cool, depending on the temperature, ensuring a comfortable ride for your pup.
If the crate doesn’t have solid insulation included as part of the build, you can buy an insulated kennel cover or a 600-denier polyester canopy to keep your dog comfortable in colder weather instead.
Dogs can be vulnerable to hypothermia if they get soaked and are then exposed to high winds and low temperatures. So, you need a crate that will keep your pet dry while providing him with 3-sided ventilation, too.
Many high-quality crates have specially designed rain-deflection vents that keep water out of the crate while ensuring that your dog enjoys proper airflow through the crate. Dogs can overheat very easily on warm days, so adjustable ventilation panels or all-around ventilation are essential.
Additional Storage Compartments
Some crates are built with additional storage space. A storage compartment can be extremely useful for holding items such as leashes, water, food and water bowls, dog coats, and other canine paraphernalia.
Convenient storage in the form of an extra storage compartment is not something that’s included in all crates, but it’s certainly a valuable nice-to-have if you can find a truck bed crate that offers that.
3 Best Dog Crates For Truck Beds
Now, that you know what you need in a crate, it’s time to go crate shopping!
Here are our reviews of five of the best dog crates for truck beds that are currently available on the market.
1. 4 X 4 North America Dog Transport Kennel
Crash-tested for rear, front, and roll-over impacts
6 sizes from small to XXL
High-quality steel build with powder coating finish
Transporting your dog in the bed of your truck is convenient, and it’s the chosen method of canine travel for many dogs, especially for those living in rural areas.
The 4 x 4 North America Dog Transport Kennel is specifically designed with your dog’s safety firmly to the fore. In fact, this transport crate is the only one on the market that’s passed rear, front, and roll-over crash tests. That means that your furry friend will have the ultimate protection in the event of a collision or if you need to take avoiding action to swerve around wildlife in the road.
The crate is built from premium-quality, super-strong, powder-coated steel and has a crumple zone incorporated into the design to absorb any impact. There’s also an emergency escape hatch included so that you can get to your dog quickly when you need to should your pet become trapped in his crate.
Gas hydraulic motion springs are incorporated into the locking system to keep your canine companion securely contained inside the kennel, which is absolutely critical for a dog that’s riding in the flatbed of your truck. This excellent crate measures up to everything that you need in a crate for use in your truck!
- 5-star crash rating for ultimate safety for your dog
- Smart, resilient powder-coated finish
- Gas hydraulic motion spring door locks for security
- Excellent ventilation
- Emergency escape hatch
- Crate ideal for outdoor sportsmen and their dogs
- Expensive but well worth the outlay
2. Owens Products Single Compartment Dog Crate
Excellent cross ventilation
All-season adjustable ventilation system
Durable, anti-corrosion material
If you’re on a budget, the Owens Products Single Compartment Dog Crate could be an excellent choice of truck bed dog crate for you. This is a single compartment crate with none of the storage options that other truck bed crates offer. However, this crate is extremely well-made, durable, and hardwearing. The crate is made from sturdy aluminum with a plastic corrugated lining.
The all-season windows mean that you can open or close them, depending on the weather to keep your pet comfortable throughout the seasons. This USA-made dog kennel has a lockable slam latch door, ensuring that your dog can’t escape in transit or when your vehicle is stationary. That’s great news for you if you have a Houdini hound!
You secure the crate to your truck bed using the D-rings that are fitted to the crate. That’s an excellent option for multiple truck households, as you can purchase several crates and fix them semi-permanently to your truck beds. That saves you a heap of time and hassle in moving a single crate between trucks.
- Excellent, affordable truck bed crate
- Universal fittings to suit different types of truck
- Lockable slam latch door for security
- All-season windows to provide good ventilation
- Doesn’t have the storage offered by similar crates
3. Gunner Kennels G1
Best-selling, crash-tested crate
110-pound weight limit
Strong, well-constructed dog crate
Gunner is one of the most popular manufacturers of truck bed dog crates and dog crates for hunting. Their range of products is aimed at the outdoorsman and his canine companion, and their crates are all designed specifically for travel, including in the flatbed of a truck. Although they don’t make the cheapest dog crate out there, you know that you’re getting a superb quality product that will last you for many years.
Gunner is set apart from other dog crate manufacturers, having an exclusive five-star CPS crash testing rating on their crates. So, you know that your dog will be safe and sound when you travel with him in a Gunner crate, even if the worst happens and you have an accident.
Safety, Convenience, Comfort
The crates have a double-wall construction that keeps your dog protected against impacts, freezing temperatures, and the sun’s harmful UV rays. To keep the weather out, the crate even has special water-repelling windows. For convenience and hassle-free cleaning, Gunner crates feature a plug located in the cage floor. All you need to do is hose the crate interior and remove the plug so that the dirty water simply drains away.
The crate floor is made from rust-proof stainless steel, so you know that your crate will last a lifetime. Although Gunner crates are quite heavy, there’s a strong handle fitted that makes it possible for you to carry and move the crate. Also, the crates have elevated feet that lift the kennel off the floor, which is essential to keep water out of the crate.
Gunner crates are available in a wide range of sizes to accommodate dogs of all sizes and breeds. Even if you have a Houdini hound, he won’t find it easy to escape from a Gunner crate, thanks to the paddle-latch door.
- Easy to clean
- Completely weather-proof
- A Paddle-latch door keeps your furry friend securely contained
- Available in a range of sizes
- Five-star crash-tested crate
- Ideal crate for transporting your dog in your truck bed
- Expensive but should last you a lifetime
I hope you enjoyed this guide to the best dog crates for truck beds. If you found our article interesting and useful, please take time out to share it.
Of the products we reviewed, our favorite crate for transporting your dog in your truck bed is the 4 x 4 North America Dog Transport Kennel. This robust crate is extensively crash-tested so you know that your canine companion will stay safe and secure in his cage in the event of an accident. The crate is constructed using premium-quality, super-strong, powder-coated steel, and there’s a crumple zone to absorb any impact if a collision occurs. If you need to get to your dog in a hurry, the emergency escape hatch enables you to do that.
Escape artist dogs will be kept securely in the crate, thanks to the gas hydraulic motion springs that form part of the locking system.
Which of the dog crates for truck beds that we featured here did you think is the best? Tell us in the comments box below.