We dog owners love our pooches and we love involving them in everything we can. My family loves to take our pug camping with us and as you may know, sometimes travel can make your dog anxious which can create an unsafe environment in a vehicle especially an offroad vehicle like a UTV.
That’s why it’s important to keep them secured for their safety and yours so we did some research for this article to provide you with all the different options of how you can take your dog with you on all your UTV adventures. In the process, we found some unknown safety concerns and great solutions.
Side by Side Dog Crate / Kennel
One easy option for taking your dog with you in a UTV is to strap a kennel into the utility bed. Just make sure that the area doesn’t get too hot and that you have the crate or kennel securely fastened.
A great option is the Petmate Sky Kennel as it’s a hard-sided molded plastic kennel so you can strap it down to your side by side nice and tight and know that it’s not going anywhere. They come in 6 different sizes and range from $50 all the way up to $300 depending on the size of your dog.
Dog Boxes for Side by Sides
If hunting is your thing then you may already be familiar with a dog box. Now they don’t just have to be limited to the back of your truck or part of your trailer. These dog boxes are made out of lightweight aluminum and are designed with safety in mind. Depending on the weather conditions you hunt in you can add insulation or fans as needed. Other accessories include led lights, custom paint, full rhino lining, and water/food containers.
Tree Dog Kustoms offers a line of dog boxes for your UTV in the $600-$1500 range that are made out of aluminum and are geared toward the hunting niche. Their boxes can fit anywhere from 2 dogs all the way up to 8. treedogkustoms.com
Old South Dog Boxes is a custom manufacturer of dog boxes and accessories in the hunting niche based out of Springfield, Louisiana that can build a box that is specific to your exact application. They can also build you a custom UTV dog trailer full of dog boxes that can haul both the dogs and your UTV. Click here to visit Old South Dog Boxes on Facebook.
Side by Side Dog Harness
A great option for dog safety in any vehicle is a dog harness that can work in conjunction with a seat belt. An accessory like this can be used not just in your UTV, but also in your day to day vehicle.
There are a ton of options in this department but one that really stands out from the crowd is the AllSafe Harness from 4×4 North America. They have pushed their product to meet government crash test standards in the US and in Europe. The odds of crashing go way up in an off-road vehicle as opposed to just a regular highway vehicle.
Their harnesses include high viz reflective material and a short removable tether that can attach to any seat belt.
If you want your dog to ride in the back utility bed but you want to be able to use a harness like this to keep them safe then one option would be to install a headache rack to hook them to. A headache rack is a metal bar system that goes across the back of the cab to protect the passengers from the load they are carrying. This setup would be more for keeping them from jumping out then actually protecting them in an accident. The safer option is definitely to keep them in the cab hooked up to a seat belt.
Side by Side Dog Carrier
Dusty Dogs is a manufacturer of custom built carriers for UTVs and ATVs and makes a couple great looking carriers for the RZR and Pioneer families of UTV. All three models come with an upper rack so you can still take extra gear along.
Their carriers really fit the contour of the vehicle for a great look and they feature a release pin gate system. They cost between $600 – $850. dustydawgs.com
UTV Dog Bed / Seat
SSSOffroad.com offers a back seat conversion kit for your Polaris or Can-Am that will create a flat surface for a dog bed to sit on. They start at $379 so go check out their website for more information.
They have options for the Polaris RZR, Polaris General, and the Can-Am Maverick x3.
And if you need an oversized memory foam ped bed, check out this super popular option on Amazon.
Dog Pad Designed For Heat Safety
Most people may not realize how high temperatures can get in the cargo bed of their side by side. It doesn’t matter the brand of UTV, on a hot summer day the temperature in the cargo area just above the engine can easily reach well over 100°F (37.78°C) and even as high as 130 – 170°F (54.4 – 76.67 °C ).
A company called Razorback Offroad has created heat pads that help to dramatically lower that temperature by up to 50 degrees making it safer for your dog to ride back there and the heat pads are easily affordable in the $100 range. As a bonus, storing your cooler on top of one can extend the life of your ice from only 4 hours to as much as 12 hours. Check out the YouTube video below to see this amazing product in action. razorbackoffroad.com
Best UTV for Dogs
The best option for a dog owner in the market for a side by side would be a Polaris RZR due to the many different ways you can haul your dog. The amount of aftermarket accessories for the RZR is huge, including the carrier system and the quick-release seats mentioned above. You can find a safe option to bring your dog in just about any UTV but the Polaris RZR has the most options available.
UTV Accessories for Dogs
Part of bringing your dog on a UTV adventure is making sure you pack all of their necessities too. Make sure to bring plenty of food and water and bowls for easy feeding. The LED collar is a great option to not only keep them safe but also to keep an eye on them at night. Here is a list of other great things to bring along.
- Crate Cushion (option 2)
- Outdoor crate cover
- Water bowl (collapsable)
- Training collar
- LED collar
- Pet first aid kit
- Anxiety Treats
- Brush (good for dirt)
- Water/windproof coat
It’s always a good idea to practice whatever setup you decide to go with and get the dog used to the rig before a big off-road outing. One way to try and get them comfortable with it can be to put their bed or a blanket with their scent on it into the UTV or UTV accessory. We use this same technique to make our pug feel more ‘at home’ in the tent at night by bringing along his bed.