Tips and advices for traveling with pets
If you’re not really a people person, but could use some company during a long haul, maybe taking your pet on the road is exactly what you’ve been missing. In our last blog post, we looked into the pros and cons of team driving, but now we are exploring what it’s like to have your pet as a companion on the road.
It’s important to first note that not every trucking company allows pets, and the ones that do allow you to bring a pet on the road, generally tend to allow only cats and dogs.
Cats and dogs are usually pretty adaptive and responsive, which is why they make for a great companion on the road. More exotic animals such as snakes, birds, and lizards are usually discouraged and even banned; this mostly has to do with them having a hard time traveling, so taking them on the road might be too stressful for them.
Benefits of trucking with pets
Traveling with a pet is good for your health. Drivers who regularly travel with pets generally feel less anxious and stressed, especially in annoying situations like traffic jams. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pet owners tend to have better health – lower blood sugar, as well as triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Pets can not only lower your stress levels, but they will actually give you a reason to get out of your truck more often, especially if you take your dog on the road. Dogs need to go for a walk a few times a day, so that’s a great excuse for you to stretch and walk around for a while, which can be really beneficial for your health. Sitting for long periods of time can cause a laundry list of issues such as back pain and cardiovascular diseases, but even light exercise can make a difference.
Pets can act as guardians. Besides the fact that pets can help with your mental and physical health, they can actually keep you safe. Larger dogs can be intimidating enough to scare off robbers, while smaller dogs tend to be feisty and can act as excellent alarms. Cats shouldn’t be overlooked here, though, because they can be pretty territorial and protective, too. There have been reports of cats warning their owners when someone approached the truck.
Tips for trucking with pets
Now, we wanted to give you some tips so that you’re ready and well-prepared to take your pet on the road. Let’s start:
Protect your truck from shedding, spillage, and minimize the smells
First of all, you’ll need to get the inside of your truck ready for a furry companion. Both dogs and cats shed so getting seat covers is a must, especially if you aren’t an owner-operator. You could also invest in a small, hand-held vacuum for your truck.
Another good investment is a spill-proof water bowl, so you can rest easy knowing that not only will your pet always have access to water, but that your truck will stay nice and dry. Some drivers even use velcro to keep regular bowls fixed to the floor and right-side-up.
Taking extra cab air filters is also on the to-do list. Even though you give your pets baths, they can still leave an unpleasant smell in the truck, so you should make sure you have some extra filters on hand. Having fresh air in the cabin helps drivers stay alert and calm, which is why you shouldn’t skimp on the filters.
The cab filters will come in handy especially if you are planning to travel with your cat since it uses a litter box. It’s also a good idea to invest in some odor reducing kitty litter and clean it frequently. For dog owners, some scented poop bags are also a good investment.
Make traveling comfy and fun for your pet
If you decide to take your pet on the road, you should keep in mind that they need some TLC, too. Even if you often make stops, most of the time you will be sharing a pretty small space with your pet, and that can get boring and annoying even to your furry friend. Some chew toys should keep your pets stimulated and amused, and if you are traveling with a cat, we suggest you buy a scratching post – it’s useful both for your feline’s sanity and for the safety of the upholstery in the truck.
Buying a bed and bringing a blanket for your pet can drastically help your pet be more comfortable and calm during the drive. If there’s a storm going on, your pet will appreciate having their own safe spot to hide. Also, trucks can be very cold during wintertime and considering how strict anti-idling laws have become, having a blanket for your pet is a great idea.
Keep in mind your pet’s health and safety
Besides taking your pet to the vet before the trip and making sure they are up to date with their vaccinations, it’s advisable to research emergency pet care facilities on your route, just in case. It’s also a good idea to bring some extra medicine if your furry companion has a condition, as well as some preventative medication for heart-worm, fleas, and ticks. You might also want to look into getting some pet insurance, just in case something more serious happens to your pet.
Also, make sure your pet has a collar on at all times, with tags that have all the necessary info like the pet’s name, and the owner’s name and contact info. You also have the option of having your pet chipped, so you can track them down more easily if they get lost.
Getting a crate is also very beneficial. Not only will it provide a space for your pet to sleep or hide in, but it will actually allow you to fasten it with a seatbelt, for extra safety. It also enables you to leave your pet in the truck knowing the inside of the cabin will be safe and not completely chewed up and scratched all over.
Since cats are much lighter than dogs, it’s easy to pick it up and put it in the truck, but if you are traveling with a dog it’s unreasonable to expect it to jump in and out of the truck every time. The solution here is to buy a ramp. There are some great collapsible ramps that can be easily folded and stored under the passenger seat.
Cats and dogs tend to get used to one food brand and others might upset their stomach. So, in order to avoid having your pet throw up in the truck, it’s best if you buy some extra food they are used to and bring it along on your trip. You never know what kind of food you can find at gas stations. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
When you stop at a gas station, do not let your pet out. The diesel and oil can be really bad for your pet’s paws, which is why it’s best if you keep them in the truck.
Keep in mind your own safety
Accidents happen, and they tend to happen at the worst possible moment, so having an extra key on you when you leave the truck with your pet in it is a really smart move. Pets can accidentally lock you out of the truck, and you do not need that kind of trouble while on the road.
A professional truck driver needs to be unobstructed while they are driving, which is why it’s worth the effort to train your pet not to go over to the driver’s side. Pets lying on your lap or messing around the pedals can be extremely dangerous for you, your pet, and everyone else on the road with you.
Anytime you leave the truck with your pet, they should be kept on a leash. Even if you trust your pet, you can never really know what might happen if they see another dog or interact with another person.
In order to safely travel with your pet, it’s important for it to be healthy – many companies which allow pets require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), or Health Certificate, as well as proof of all necessary vaccinations. Also, you should look into the rules and regulations that apply to you in each state you will be passing on your route. You can also expect companies to require you to pay pet deposits and certain fees to cover cleaning and repair costs, so make sure you ask about that during the interview.
It’s obvious that driving with a pet is not the easiest thing in the world, but the benefits can definitely outweigh the risks. It’s great both for your mental and physical health!