SHOULD THE DOG BE LOOSE IN THE VEHICLE?
The first choice we have to make is whether we want the dog to be loose in the vehicle or have it ride inside a crate. A loose dog can be safe inside a car or truck if it is not allowed to jump all over and is trained to stay in a seat. Loose dogs are still at risk for hurting themselves and, more importantly, they can also present a hazard to the humans in the car if they interfere with the driver or passenger. But the only time a dog should be allowed to ride loose is if they are in the enclosed passenger area of the vehicle. Dogs are not safe if allowed to ride in the back of an open pickup, even though this is a popular way for dogs to ride around.
SEATBELTS FOR DOGS
There are harness devices that can be used for dogs riding inside a vehicle to keep them and the humans safe. These work like a seatbelt and hook into the seatbelts of the vehicle anchoring the dog inside the car. This will prevent the dog from roaming around and also stops them from being thrown if the brakes are suddenly used, preventing the dog from flying into people or car parts and injuring themselves.
CRATES INSIDE AND OUT
Putting a dog into a crate either inside the vehicle or in the bed of a pickup is the optimum way for a dog to ride safely in a vehicle. There are many types of crates and it is best if the dog fits snuggly in the crate for the best protection. You can also give the dog water and bedding to help it be more comfortable. It often takes some training - preferably before you put the dog in the car - for the dog to become at ease in a crate.
If you want your dog to ride in the open bed of a pickup truck a crate is a safe way for this to happen, but your dog is more exposed to weather conditions and you have to make sure it does not get too hot or cold. Wire crates will allow better air circulation in the summer, but it can heat up quickly and your dog can die if it is in the direct sun, especially if you are stopped in traffic for a few minutes. In the winter the dog in the open pickup can be protected with a crate wrap designed to keep him warm. Always make sure the crate is secured in the back of the truck, because they can blow out, even with a dog in it.
Crates inside the care are the safest way to take your dog along. Once they become comfortable in the crate they will sleep as you drive and you'll hardly know they are along. Always make sure they have good air circulation to get the benefits of the car's air conditioning and heating. When you stop be sure to leave windows open and never leave your dog inside a closed car, even with windows cracked, on a warm day.