Being on the road for long periods can become very lonely for drivers. That’s why many owner-operators choose to have a co-pilot – and not of the human variety. 40% of truckers say they bring pets with them on the road. While dogs and cats are the most common companions, there are also truckers with parrots, bearded dragons, and even snakes! Trucking with pets comes with many rewards, such as opportunities for extra exercise and stress relief, but it is important to be aware of the extra responsibilities.
Know the Rules Before Hitting the Road
Depending on the company you drive for, there may be regulations you have to follow or even deposits and fees to pay. Some companies have restrictions based on weight or breed. Other companies ban the so-called “aggressive” breeds. When traveling with a dog, expect your trucking company to charge a fee or deposit, which could range from $200 to $1,500 or more.
Vaccination records, CVI, and other necessary paperwork are important to always keep in your truck. Most companies require at least proof of rabies vaccination and tags.
Register Your Dog as a Service or Companion Animal
Animals aren’t allowed in many of the places you encounter while on the road, including truck stops, rest areas, and restaurants.But if you are a dog owner and want to travel with your furry friend, you may be able to register your dog as a service or emotional support animal. Once your dog is registered, carry your service animal’s ID card on you at all times, and invest in a vest or collar that identifies your dog as a service animal.
Pet-Proofing Your Truck
- When choosing a dog (pet) to tag along in your truck, keep in mind the space limitations in your truck cabin.
- Make sure to create a barrier between your pet and your pedals until it gets used to the environment.
- Make his/her space roomy and safe. If you opt for a smaller ,,friend”, make sure he/she can’t get stuck or pinched under the seat.
- Bring extra food and water for your pet in the event of emergencies.
- A good first aid kit usually contains these items: tweezers to remove ticks, styptic powder to stop toenail bleeding, eye wash to flush wounds, gauze bandages, adhesive tape, scissors and antiseptic moist wipes.
- Pack toys to preemptively diminish bored behaviors, such as chewing, pawing and whining.
- Having a dog crate or a leash is important. There will be times when you can’t take your dog with you somewhere or you won’t want to.
- Pet-proof your cab by buying seat covers! If you have a cat keep a scratch pad or post somewhere accessible.
- Get A Dog Ramp So Your Dog Can Safely Exit And Enter The Truck
Schedule regular vet visits and consider pet insurance.
Trucking is a hazardous profession and trucking with pets could put then in risk of an injury from an accident. Consider purchasing pet insurance so that you save from an emergency veterinary visit. Healthy Paws and Petplan are some of the top-rated pet insurance companies. Your veterinarian will also be able to recommend an insurance plan that is best for your pet. Make sure your pets have all of the medications and vaccinations they need for different climates and regions.
Let your pets out of the truck as much as possible
Make sure to let your pet out of the truck whenever you stop or take breaks. Take dogs on walks and spend some time playing with cats. Being cooped up in a truck for many hours at a time can make your pets restless. Take advantage of truck stops and rest areas with designated dog run areas. Remember to clean up after your pet whenever you stop to let them out of the truck!
Behavior and Training of Your Road Dog
Train your pet to stay away from the driver’s seat and the truck’s controls. It could be disastrous if your pet accidentally got underneath your feet. This is really important for your safety. There’s also your dog’s personality and habits to consider. For instance, to avoid chewing on your truck furniture, make sure it has plenty of bones and toys.
By planning ahead, understanding any pertinent rules and regulations, and keeping training consistent, trucking with pets can be exciting adventure today and into the future.
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