It's pretty common to see dogs riding unrestrained in the beds of pickup trucks, and most of the time, the pups seem to be thoroughly enjoying the trip. But is it actually legal for drivers to let dogs ride in their truck beds in Colorado?

When it comes to humans, it's perfectly okay for seated passengers who are at least 16 years old to ride in a pickup truck bed, in Colorado, as long as the tailgate is closed.

While restrictions are in place for human passengers riding in the bed of a pickup truck, according to Drivinglaws.org, similar laws do not apply to dogs or other animal passengers in the Centennial State. However, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that pets be secured either by a kennel in the truck bed or by a harness inside the cab for the ultimate safety of the animal.

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Depending on the circumstances, unsecured dogs in truck beds could still be a violation of certain states' animal cruelty laws, including Colorado. In October 2019, a photo of a dog riding in a snowy truck bed with the tailgate down on a highway in Colorado went viral. As a result, the Aurora resident received an animal cruelty warning.

Although canines are permitted to ride in the bed of a truck here, it's important to keep in mind that when they are put in this location, they are susceptible to minor injuries. The dog could get hit with debris from the road, like dust or sharp pebbles. Dirt could also potentially get stuck in the dog's eye or nose and cause further health problems. While riding in a truck bed, a pooch is also exposed to dangerous weather, like heavy rain or extreme temperatures, both of which are known to occur in Colorado.

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The laws regarding pet passengers vary on a state-by-state basis. Unlike Colorado, in places such as Maryland, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and California, it is illegal for dogs to ride in truck beds.

Some states do not have any specific laws concerning dogs riding in trucks.

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