Loneliness on the road is a legitimate struggle for many Truckers. Approximately 40% of Truck Drivers travel with pets. This statistic is not surprising given pets promote increased emotional health and overall well-being. Pets are often enjoyable companions for Truckers! However, all pets do not thrive on the road. The best pet for Truck Drivers is one that fits well with your trucking lifestyle and is one you enjoy. If you are considering bringing a pet on the road, you will want to know how to choose a traveling pet, how to prepare your truck for a pet, and how to care for your pet on the road.
How to Choose A Traveling Pet
Some companies do not allow their Drivers to have pets on the road. It is important to request permission from your trucking company before bringing a pet with you. Of course, if you are an Owner-Operator this decision is up to you.
When you are considering a pet, keep the following in mind:
- The best pets are small (below 30 pounds), low-maintenance, short-haired, and non-aggressive
- Truck cabs are small spaces (you’ll need room for your pet and their supplies)
- Sleeper cabs are small spaces (you’ll need room for your pet to sleep)
Therefore, cats and dogs are often the most popular choice. While cats can fit the above qualifications, they do not usually travel well. Cats are known to be temperamental and dependent upon routines and familiarity. There are always exceptions to the norm, so you may have a cat who does well on the road. Dogs tend to be more popular with Truckers.
If you choose to travel with a dog, some of the most popular traveling dog breeds include:
- Boston Terrier
- Miniature Pinscher
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Miniature Poodle
- Shih Tzu
- Yorkshire Terrier
Kopf Driver Mike S. travels with his Miniature Schnauzer, “Baby”. He fondly reflects: “She loves attention when we walk, but does not like other dogs. She usually hides behind my leg when other dogs try to sniff her, and once she woke me up when someone was trying to steal fuel. She’s chased away lots of lizards, too.”
How to Prepare Your Truck for A Pet
After receiving permission from your company and choosing your pet, the next step is to prepare your truck. Think of this as “pet-proofing.”
You will want to:
- Secure any food, medicine, and trash in your truck.
- Find a way to secure the driving area by your seat, so your pet does not have access to it while you are driving.
- Arrange a specific place to keep your pet’s leash or collar so it is always handy, such as a hook.
Items you may want to purchase and store in your cab:
- Pet carrier or crate
- Pet leash or harness
- Disposable litter boxes (for cats) or poop bags (for dogs)
- Extra water
- Pet food
- Bowls for food and water
- Pet bedding and blankets
- Pet cleaning supplies (deodorizer)
- Boredom busters (bones, chews, bully sticks, cow ears, toys)
As you travel with your pet, you will become an expert in your pet’s travel needs. Ask other Truckers for tips and advice on what works for them.
How to Care for Your Pet on the Road
First, make sure to keep your pet safe on the road. Some Truckers choose to keep their pet in a crate buckled to a seat. Others choose to use a pet harness and seat belt combination to keep their pets from sliding. Some train their pet to stay away from the driving area. Whatever method you choose, it is important to have a plan so you and your pet are safe at all times.
Second, make plans for regular stops for your pet. This aids in reducing messy and stinky pet accidents. These stops are also ideal for offering water to your pet to keep him or her hydrated. An unexpected benefit of having a pet on the road is increased exercise for you as well. As Kopf Driver Mike S. notes about his dog: “Baby gets out to walk almost every time we stop. That’s good for me too.”
Third, make sure to keep your pet safe when you are parked. Although Truckers often sleep in their cab, if you do choose to stay in a hotel, Choice Hotels, Econo Lodge, and La Quinta are typically pet-friendly chains. Many hotels charge a fee for pets, so make sure to ask. Pets Welcome is a helpful website to search for pet-friendly hotels in the US. You may want to consider registering your pet as a Service or Emotional Support Animal so you can bring him or her with you into rest stops and other various locations more easily.
Final Thoughts On Truck Driver Pets
Having a pet on the road is not only possible, but some Drivers can’t imagine life any other way. Kopf Driver Mike S. has been driving with Baby for 6 years. “Baby loves being in the truck with me. She sits and watches while I’m packing and won’t let me leave the house without her. I love having her in the truck.” Traveling with pets not only makes driving more enjoyable for Truckers, but also reduces loneliness, boosts mood, encourages more frequent rest breaks and movement, and even lowers levels of stress. By planning ahead, you and your pet can successfully travel together on the road.
Are you a Driver looking for a family-oriented company? DRIVE FOR KOPF TODAY!
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