Being on the road for weeks or months can get lonely for a truck driver. Bringing your pet onboard can positively affect your mental health and is a welcome respite from the long stretches of highway. While each company policy may differ, more are allowing their drivers the option of traveling with their pet. Here are a few ways to keep you and your dog safe and happy while driving.
Pack Plenty of Food and Water
Finding pet stores that provide high-quality food for your dog may be challenging if you drive for long periods through desolate stretches of highway. Before setting out, make sure you have plenty of food and snacks for your dog. Additionally, packing bottled water with you can help your dog stay hydrated no matter where you’re at on your journey.
Make Sure to Dog-Proof Your Rig
Unless you own your truck outright, any damage caused by your pet will be charged against your deposit or withdrawn from your salary. Before climbing on board, make sure that there isn’t anything your dog will want to chew on, such as wires or exposed upholstery. Make sure you safely store food out of the way and check for any other areas your pet may try to gain access to. You should also consider using seat coverings and bringing extra towels to clean mud off the interior.
Bring Adequate Supplies for Your Dog
While your pet may be small and not take up much space, all dogs need a decent amount of supplies to stay happy and healthy on the road. Make sure you bring along collapsible dog bowls, a leash, a collar with identifying tags and a few dog chews or toys to keep them entertained. In addition, you’ll need doggy bags to dispose of their waste during pit stops, cleaning supplies and a crate in case your dog becomes rowdy.
Make Sure That Your Dog Wears a Seatbelt
You would never hit the highway without buckling up your seatbelt first. Therefore, you should secure your dog, too. There are plenty of dog booster seats and harnesses that tether to your truck’s built-in seatbelts. In addition, some states require that dogs traveling in vehicles wear seat belts or are safely in their kennel while on the road. It’s important to check with each state you’ll be driving through to make sure you’re following the law.
Take Frequent Breaks to Keep Your Pet Happy
While you may need to cover a certain distance on your haul, your dog has his own needs, too. Try to stop often enough so he gets frequent toilet breaks and exercise throughout the day. Not only will this keep your pet happy, but it will also be good for you to get out and stretch your legs. There are plenty of pet-friendly rest areas throughout the country, so research before you begin your next journey and plan for several stops along the way.
When considering whether you should bring an animal along in your truck, you should first consider regulations and safety. Safety is a top priority for all truckers, which is why they are subject to DOT requirements for drug testing, OSHA regulations. Your trucking company may also have other safety requirements that you need to follow.
While not all trucking companies allow pets, there are plenty that do. Some also allow drivers to bring their dogs if they make a deposit to cover cleaning fees. Pet regulations are continuously changing, so check your company’s policies beforehand. While having a four-legged travel companion has plenty of benefits, there is also much responsibility. However, by preparing beforehand and staying current with regulations, you’ll enjoy many years of companionship throughout your truck driving career.