Here's a startling statistic: according to the American Humane Association, 100,000 dogs die each year while traveling in truck beds. Some are ejected during accidents. Some jump out while the vehicle is moving. Others die from debris, low-hanging limbs, and exposure.
Now, Ford has partnered with the Humane Association (not to be confused with the Humane Society) to encourage pickup owners to keep their dogs inside the truck cabin. According to Ford's Doug Scott, "We’re not asking that people go to onerous lengths while driving with pets, but even the smallest steps can make a difference in keeping all passengers in our vehicles safe."
Among the steps that Ford recommends:
- Keep animals inside the truck cab, not in the truck bed.
- If your truck has a back seat, keep your pet there, rather than in the front seat, where she can more easily be hurt and cause a distraction.
- Whenever possible, crate your dog while in the car, or use a pet seatbelt like the one displayed on Jinx, above. (NB: We're supposed to ignore the fact that the pup is riding in the front seat, right?)
- Don't let dogs travel with their heads out the window. Yes, they love it, but they can be struck by debris or even fall out.
- Make sure that your dog is properly collared and tagged, and if possible chipped, so you can find her if you get separated.
- And the #1 rule: never, ever leave a pet in a vehicle unattended.
To drive this message home, Ford is working with Fido Friendly magazine to underwrite a monthlong campaign called "Get Your Licks on Route 66", which promotes pet adoption and safety. The campaign hasn't kicked off just yet, but you can find preliminary details at GetYourLicksOnRoute66.com.