About Hauling Dogs In Truck Beds With Caps

Going from place to place with a dog inside the actual pickup truck may only work for so long – family size, the vehicle’s capacity and all that may mean that from now on the beloved canine will need to be in the back for it to work.

Certainly the dog should be a lot more safe being enclosed in a cap when compared to an open bed, but still, it can’t be that simple, right? I mean, there’s probably something you should keep in mind when transporting a dog or more in such nature?

The biggest danger – heat

What you should worry about the most when driving with dogs inside the truck cap is the heat that accumulates in such space – during the hotter periods of the day, the inside temperature can be tens of degrees higher than of the outside’s.

Figuring out the best way to keep the pets safe in an environment like that is crucial for their well-being, and so down below i noted some tips you can apply in your situation.

Cooling the shell

Let more fresh air in

This tip is definitely more of a common sense than anything, but opening a window or two can make it that much better for the dogs inside.

Not every cap is created equal when it comes to this, as some simply have more operable windows than others; the best configuration for the type of results were looking for is the side windows, as they can really air out the shell good.

For best results, you can try installing a fan right onto the window to draw more air in – for the electricity source, you can just make an outlet that taps right into your own vehicles battery, or in best scenario, have a separate one altogether.

To fight the heat even more effectively, apply reflective foil on as many windows as you can – it’s a very basic thing you can do, but guess what, it can still reduce the temps inside by more than you think.

Driving with a good amount of airflow going into the camper shell will certainly help to keep the dogs more cool, but don’t expect this to work that great when the outside temperature is actually 100 degrees or more.

Use AC

Sliding a window open can only work for so long, and once it gets very hot and humid, you’ll have to figure out a way on how to get the air conditioner to come inside the truck’s bed as well.

What you can do is essentially create a seal between the actual cabin of the truck and the camper shell. This can be done by applying a boot, which will prevent any of the air conditioner from escaping to the outside.

Once working, it certainly will be a lot cooler inside the cap for the dogs to be in, though the results will not be on the same level when compared to the temperature inside the pickup’s cab itself.

If you really want to take this to the next level, you will have to route new AC openings inside of the actual pickup truck’s topper.

The mod is indeed not of the low-cost kind as it’ll need to be more or less custom made in a shop, but if you want the best for your canines, this is really the way you should go about it.

Another rather advanced solution to this issue is mounting an entirely separate air conditioning unit. The system would be powered mainly by solar, and while the cost would probably end up being even higher, it can prove to be a great solution if you need electricity there either way.

How about the cold?

I think that keeping your dog warm instead of cool is generally easier to do, especially in the applications we’re talking about here.

If it gets really cold, you can throw a blanket over the kennel which will help retain the heat better. In case the dog is more or less loose in the cap, a blanket on the actual pickup’s bed should make it enough for him to snuggle up by himself.

Worst case scenario, you can always get some heat in there if the shell is connected to the cab.

More tips

I would highly advise to get a digital thermometer to place inside the bed, as it allows you to know just how hot it is in there at all times. You really can’t be overly careful when we talk about this sort of thing.

It goes without saying, but you should always supply the dogs with cold water. Doing so is really not that hard, that is if you have a cooler. You can also consider buying a no spill type of bowl, to prevent the accidental disasters, if you know what i mean.

In conclusion

To be honest, there are times when doing everything that i suggested above just does not work out that well – if that’s true, the only thing that might be left to do is find a way on how to nest the dogs inside of the actual pickup, for cooling or heating purposes that is.

2 thoughts on “About Hauling Dogs In Truck Beds With Caps”

  1. Do you have any suggestions as to where to purchase an a/c unit for the truck bed? I did get a cap. I didn’t think of a solar a/c option, since I’ve found the biggest problem is powering it up a portable one up. The boot idea is good as well, so I’m searching for one if it’s available for purchase, otherwise, I guess I’ll do my best to make one. Living in AZ, I definitely going to have to come up with something for my pups ASAP.

    • This guy has done it with a regular 5,000 BTU AC – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYv_4MEx7GI.

      The first caveat is that it’s installed on a separate sheet of plywood, not directly in the camper shell. That’s not to say you can’t do it, but not everyone out there is willing to cut out a hole in their pricey cap, just to install an air conditioner.

      Another thing is that it’s powered by a generator. This is certainly easier to do than figuring out a solar solution, but because of that alone, you won’t be able to run the AC while on the move.

      I’ll tell you this – try out the boot between the camper shell and the truck cap solution first. This video should give a better idea: https://youtu.be/EfccghT6_-Y?t=8

      So in other words, while you’re traveling, using the actual pickup’s AC and letting it pass through into the cap might be all that’s needed. When you go stationary, you may consider going for an actual, separate air conditioner unit and running it from a generator.

      Good luck!


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