A recent survey by Truckstop.com shows that upwards of 56 percent of truck drivers travel with a pet at least some of the time.
Truckers polled during National Take Your Pet to Work Week, June 20-24, indicated their reasons involved companionship (66 percent) and emotional support (19 percent), largely because they work long hours away from home. Anecdotal accounts provided by pet-loving truckers highlighted “how they found their pet companion and the unbreakable bonds they’ve formed.”
“It was love at first sight, and I couldn’t believe someone could do such a thing to an innocent puppy. We take him everywhere. He has improved our way of life,” Mary Gaskins reportedly said. “When you’re on the road, it’s stressful, and you’re sitting for hours on end. Oscar forces me to get out of the truck while at rest stops and walk and helps ease the stress brought on by what can be a very stressful job. We may have saved him, but it turns out he saved us.”
The stories told by solo truckers and tandems are heart-warming, to say the least. But bringing a pet on the road requires some patience and planning. These are things to consider before inviting your four-legged family member to haul freight.
- Health: Consider bringing your pet to the veterinarian before embarking on an OTR haul. Make sure all of its vaccinations are up-to-date. Consider bringing a physical health record with you in case of an emergency. It’s also important to consult with a vet about whether the animal possesses the necessary physical and mental health capabilities for lengthy travel.
- Consistency: Taking a pet out of its home environment for a road trip can prove disruptive. Not every dog or other type of pet relishes adventure. Bring along its usual food and any familiar items that provide comfort. And remember, pets require a considerable amount of water.
- Plan for Emergencies: When planning your route, make a note of veterinarian facilities along the way. Many GPS systems offer search options that can find just about anything. If not, conduct an internet search and make a record of go-to facilities should your pet fall ill.
- Bring A Crate: Pet owners have mixed feelings about using crates when traveling. But when operating a commercial motor vehicle weighing upwards of 80,000 pounds and moving at high speeds, it’s crucial to restrict a pet’s mobility. Even the most well-behaved pooch can become rambunctious and affect a driver.
- Dog Seat Belts: Pet product manufacturers sell seatbelts specifically designed to keep dogs and owners safe while driving. It’s essential to thoroughly assess the product and ensure it will keep your pet secure and in place while negotiating traffic.
As truckers might anticipate, bathroom breaks will need to revolve around your pet’s needs. Some motels do not allow dogs or cats and others charge a fee for their lodging. But with a little due diligence, truck drivers can enjoy increased companionship.