Can You Keep a Dog in Truck Bed With A Cap?

There is a law in most states in the US preventing transporting people in the bed of a pick-up truck, but there are not many states that forbid transporting dogs in the same manner.

Does that mean if the law permits it, we should do it? Around 100 000 dogs die in accidents every year because they travel in the back of a truck unsecured, and more dogs are injured traveling the same way.

Considerations for a Dog In Truck Bed With Cap

Traveling with your dog in the back of a pick-up truck with a cap is decidedly safer than hauling your pup in an open truck bed. There are, however, a few risks involved in it. 


Dogs traveling in a truck bed with a topper, be it soft or hard, are prevented from jumping or falling out of the truck.

However, that’s not all. They can still get agitated, injured, or killed if they are not secured in such a big and often slippery space. 

Putting down a blanket or a mattress will definitely make your dog more comfortable in the truck bed, sometimes even preventing it from slipping around, but if you have to swerve or abruptly stop, the dog may still slide all over the place with or without the bed and still sustain an injury.

The problem is in the access to your dog as well. While sitting in the cab’s back seat with you, you can easily see your dog, give it a command or even catch it if necessary.

While traveling in the truck bed under a cap, the dog is left to itself until you stop the vehicle and open the back gate.

While having a secure and unmoving dog crate in the back is definitely solving most of the problems, allowing your dog to be stowed away safely for the journey, you still have to make sure your dog is well used to sitting by himself in the back closed in a kennel.


Like the cab, on a hot day, the back can also turn into an oven in an instance. While it is easier to cool down your dog in the cab by opening the windows and letting a lot of air in or simply turning up the A/C, airing out the pick-up bed with a topper is more difficult. 

The windows (if you have any that open) are smaller, and the airflow is not as big. There is also no A/C reaching the back. 

There are solutions for this problem, but most of them require certain mods and putting more money into your truck. 

Suppose you don’t mind and travel with your dog a lot. In that case, it may be worth looking into some fans for the topper side windows or even making a connection between your cab and the truck bed (ideally, a slider in the cab back window and a slider in the topper’s front window), so the air from the A/C can reach your dog.


As opposed to heat in the summer, cold in the winter also isn’t the nicest for your dog trapped in the back of your truck. 

However, it is easier to solve this problem by insulating your truck bed or putting more blankets in your dog’s kennel.

In the worst-case scenario, you can install a small heater inside and keep the windows a little bit open for air circulation. There are a lot of solutions for the deep cycle battery and 12V outlets you can cheaply put in the truck bed so your dog can travel in comfort.

Emotional Toll

Dog in truck bed with cap

Dogs, in general, love to travel in the car, but you have to remember that even though your pup is happy to stick its head out of your back passenger window in the cab, it may not be as thrilling to travel in the truck bed.

For some dogs, it doesn’t matter if you have a lot of sliders open in your topper – the feeling is still different. They cannot look through the front window, have less light, and, more importantly, are separated from you.

Most dogs that are trained to travel in a kennel or crate are used to being in a confined space for the journey. Others that travel loose may not be so keen on it.

You have to know your dog before you start taking it with you in the truck bed with a cap.


In many states and provinces, transporting an unsecured dog in the back of your pick-up truck is illegal. 

Depending on the state, the topper may be the only requirement, but some states require you to cross-tether your dog and put it in a secured container.

States and provinces that have clear laws about dog transport:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island 
  • British Columbia

Some states have unspecific laws and leave it up to the law enforcement officers to determine whether the dog’s means of transport are dangerous and breaking the law. A few, like New Jersey, and Oklahoma, have only cruel transport laws which were created with farm animals in mind, but because of the language used, they also include dogs.

States with unclear dog transport laws:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. Iowa
  4. Mississippi
  5. New Jersey
  6. North Dakota
  7. Ohio
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Oregon
  10. South Carolina
  11. Tennessee
  12. Texas
  13. Utah
  14. Washington
  15. Wisconsin
  16. Vermont
  17. Virginia


Whether you go on holiday or hunting, taking your dog with you is a natural thing to do. You try to treat your dog as a family member, so you want it to be safe and comfortable in any situation.

Transporting your dog under the truck bed topper may be legal in most of the US, but whether it is safe enough for your dog, you have to judge for yourself. 

It is always nice to have your dog roaming unrestricted and put its head out the window to enjoy the wind, but it is nicer to have your pup safe and sound at the end of the journey. 

Sometimes, it’s worth going this extra mile to train your dog to sit in the crate while traveling in the truck bed and install all the commodities to prevent heat and cold from getting in.

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