Dogs are fantastic travel companions. They can make an otherwise long and lonely trip bearable. So, if you usually travel with a truck topper, can you let your furry friend tag along?
Dogs can ride in a truck camper shell; however, you should be aware of a few risks. To keep them safe, you should also ensure that everything around your dog is leashed or in a crate throughout the trip.
Read on to learn how to keep your dog comfortable in your camper shell, the risks of traveling with your dog in your topper, how to mitigate those risks, and more.
How To Keep Your Dog Comfortable in Your Camper
If your dog likes to travel as much as you do, one good place to put them in is a truck camper. I’ll go into some of the risks of doing so later, but here’s how to ensure your pet is as comfy in the camper as possible.
1. Keep your dog cool at all times
Heat is the biggest concern with keeping your furry friend in the back of your pickup truck (especially with a topper). Without A/C readily available in this vehicle area, you should always ensure they have plenty of water, and you should not leave them for any period when the weather is hot outside.
2. Place Your Dog in a Crate Whenever Possible
Crates can be pinned down, keeping your dog safe in case of a hard stop or accident. This will also keep your dog from suddenly diving out of the back of the camper while you’re on the highway.
To prepare the crate for your dog:
- Place plenty of blankets inside. Not only will your dog feel comfortable, but you’ll also have less of a mess to clean if your dog needs to “go to the bathroom.” Alternatively, you can use the MidWest Homes for Pets Deluxe Dog Bed (Paid Link). This one fits perfectly in a 24-inch (61 cm) crate.
- If your dog has a favorite toy, you can also put that in with them. Otherwise, they may get bored and fidget during the trip. I like these right here to keep them entertained (Paid Link).
- Tie down your dog’s crate using bungee cords, rope, etc. Even better, bolt the crate down in the bed of your truck. You can test the integrity of the setup by driving around with the bolted-down crate. If, after going, the crate hardly moves, it’s probably safe.
- Place your pup in the crate and allow them to enjoy the ride. Of course, you should also be careful while driving. Pay attention to any signs your dog may need your attention (e.g., whining, barking, etc.).
3. Put Your Dog on a Leash
If your pup isn’t a fan of crates, you can place them on a leash secured inside the truck camper. This option has a bit of risk, but it may make your pup significantly more comfortable. I have used one just like this, and it worked wonders! (Paid Link)
The leash should only be long enough for your dog to move around. If the leash is too long, you should not put on a leash because it’ll likely give your dog enough wiggle room to jump out of the camper.
4. Map Out a Route With Stopovers
Even if your dog has a toy or two to keep them company, they may still get bored sitting inside your camper for more than a few hours. Also, if they decide to “do their business” inside your camper, it’ll be an unpleasant (and smelly) experience for everyone.
Before your trip, pull out your map (likely on your phone nowadays) and check whether you plan to take any pet-friendly spots along the route. That way, if you need supplies or Fido needs to answer the call of nature, you wouldn’t stress out too much about it.
5. Give Your Dog Some Company
It will be a good idea to ask someone to stay with your dog throughout the trip. Sure, your dog is probably aware that you’re in the driver’s seat, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have anxiety from the physical distance between you and your pup.
Of course, that “someone” shouldn’t be just anyone. It has to be a person that your dog is consistently comfortable with. The best part of this setup is that your companion can alert you if there’s something wrong with your dog and help you act accordingly.
What Are the Risks of Traveling With Your Dog in the Truck Camper?
The risks of traveling with your dog in the truck camper include the following:
- Stressing out your dog.
- Having them bounce around the inside while driving.
- Getting them involved in a potentially dangerous accident.
If your dog is active, they’re more likely to get stressed and bounce around the back of your camper. In that case, you have a few options:
- Put them in a crate (if they don’t have crate anxiety).
- Put them on a leash (if they have crate anxiety).
- Map out a route where you can stop for a break every few miles or so.
- Don’t take your dog along at all.
You may want pet insurance if you’re worried about getting your dog involved in an accident. Ensure you read the fine print carefully for any accident clauses.
You can theoretically let your dog ride in a truck camper. Doing so is safe as long as you take the necessary precautions. For example, you can put them in a crate or leash. The important thing is that they have some protection