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    More emphasis placed on pet safety

    We've touched on some of the best ways to keep pets safe when you take them off-roading, but some new developments have once again brought the issue into the spotlight. Although many motorists want to share off-road driving experiences with their pets, it is best to take all necessary measures to ensure that you and your passengers - human or otherwise - remain safe. 

    About the dangers
    The risks involved with letting a pet roam free within a vehicle go beyond what may happen in the event of a crash. In particular, animals getting harmed while riding in the truck bed is a widespread issue that needs to be addressed. 

    "It is estimated that 100,000 dogs die each year riding in truck beds," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president of the American Humane Association. "Unfortunately, we have all seen dogs riding in the bed of a pickup truck, which is an extremely dangerous way to transport your pet." 

    Another potential cause of problems comes from letting dogs ride with their head out the window. While they certainly enjoy doing it, this act can be incredibly dangerous, especially if you are off-roading. Just one missed obstacle or piece of debris can lead to a major issue, and it is better to err on the side of caution. Let your dog ride in the backseat, roll up the passenger window to keep its head inside or take other measures to ensure it's not placing itself in unnecessary danger. 

    Ford gets on board
    A new campaign from Ford aims to shed some light on this issues. The automaker teamed up with the American Humane Association to launch an awareness effort reminding drivers of the need to keep their dogs safe. While it goes beyond getting them out of the truck bed, that is certainly a good place to begin, and it is not difficult to get started on these safety initiatives. 

    "As America's truck leader, this is an issue that's close to the heart for us," said Doug Scott, marketing manager for the Ford Truck Group. "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." 

    Following some of the safety tips previously offered, as well as remaining cognizant of where your pet is and what it is doing when in a vehicle, can lead to safer experiences and better results for everyone on the roads.