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 we’re 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 vehicle’s 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. I like this Reflectix kind you can find on Amazon.

Matter of fact, you can apply it on much more than just windows, like the inside top of the shell, or really any spots you find most hot. The roll is 10 feet long, so it will be more than enough.

Something like that. Maybe the guy went a little too crazy by applying it everywhere, but you get the idea.

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 (38 C) 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. It can be done by applying a boot, which will prevent most of the air conditioner from escaping to the outside. This will only work if you have a rear sliding window, though.

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, using the boot method I mentioned earlier.

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.

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  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.

    1. 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!

    2. Mike, maybe Burndog?
      If you’ve ever lived in the northeast, say MA or NH, and transporting a canine in a capped truck bed situation, be advised there are small , portable Air Conditioners, self contained, I understand the Arctos unit is highly rated. I am not a rep, just was considering such a product as I was having to realistically travel with two large dogs that would have to travel in the back. The boot and the two sliding windows is going to be in effect but I don’t feel like it is going to be sufficient in the summer conditions. I understand that the Arctos is under $100 , but there’s another brand, Tundra, both seem to be competitive with discounts and such… but it’s an evaporate, water based technology that both claim to have patents on … ratings are high for both so… take a look at the technology. As far as I can tell, they are chargeable “AC” units , small, portable, and according to the user reviews, reliable to lower temperatures , especially in confined spaces. I have read testimonies from people who live in under cooled apartment buildings to folks who travel in confined vehicles… to outdoors types who have packed either of the units into remote areas, in high heat conditions, and air conditioned their tent. I’m sorry to report I have no firsthand knowledge of experience with either product … my solution was to keep the animals where they’re at and just go ahead and move from Colorado to northern Minnesota, leaving the pets as they were… hopefully I haven’t muddied the waters with my input.

  2. I swear I’m going to start a topper company that caters to dog owners! My two dogs love to tool around town with the rear window of the topper up. Have gone through many sets of struts. I know you’re not supposed to drive around that way but they love it! My very patient husband keeps replacing them for me. I would also love some kind of a cargo net to keep the dogs from flying out the back in case a serious emergency brake slam or impact should occur while the rear window is open. How about some stand off screens for the side and front windows inside the topper to keep the dog’s damn noses off all the glass! Oh! And a dog hair proof carpet kit for the truck bed like some slippery tight loop that won’t literally drag hair off the dogs. Fans, full on AC..yeah that. I actually contacted the company in California that customs out all the police K9 units with full on AC. They said they weren’t set up with the electrical harnesses to refit a Tacoma.
    Built in ramp to keep my dogs from eventually having to have ACL surgery from flinging their stupid selves off the tailgate. Cargo nets on the ceiling for all their silly gear. I could go on…..

  3. Do you have any suggestions for the truck floor? I have a bed insert and it is ribbed and I don’t want to see their claws tore up and them slipping around and not able to settle. I thing putting four crates in the back is not doable as they are large breeds.

    Any suggestions?

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