One of the best ways to spend your time traveling down the highways and interstates of America is with a companion! And, if your chosen co-pilot is of the furry variety, it’s important understand the unique ways to keep them safe, happy, and comfortable on the road. Keep reading as we cover some helpful tips for trucking with pets — some of which you should do before you begin traveling:
10 Tips for Trucking With Pets
1. Stockpile Food and Water, Before Leaving
Whether you’re at home or on the road, your pet needs [high-quality] food and water. The problem with being on the road, however, is that your schedule and your truck itself may not permit you to constantly resupply your four-legged friend’s needs. The best way to ensure that your pet is eating high-quality food (think organic, possibly grain-free, and without fillers) is to stock up on pet food (and water) before leaving. Doing so relieves the stress and hassle of trying to find high-quality pet supply stores with adequate truck access, while on the road.
2. Get Your Pet to the Vet
Before trucking with your pet, make sure they’re medically prepared. The best way to do that is to schedule an appointment with your local vet to make sure your pet is up-to-date on all vaccinations and medications (including enough refills). While you’re there, be sure to let your vet know where you’re traveling, just in case there’s anything unique to consider. Finally, always keep a copy of your pet’s medical and vaccination history with you, just in case you have to make an unexpected trip to the vet while on the road.
3. Consider Pet Insurance
Being on the road creates extra hazards for pet. Purchasing pet insurance is one way to make sure that an expensive, emergency veterinary visit doesn’t completely deplete your bank account. Talk to your vet about pet insurance plans, or check out top-rated pet insurance companies like Healthy Paws, Pets Best, and Petplan.
4. Research Safety Restraints for Pets
Whether or not you ever get into an accident, slamming on your brakes or taking sharp turns could jostle — or seriously injure — your pet. One way to try to prevent injury is to make sure they’re properly and safely restrained. There are a few options on the market, including kennels or harnesses that attach to a seat belt; however, some have shown to fail crash tests, in one way or another. Before you take your pet on the road — and before you buy any kind of pet restraint — make sure you do some research.
5. Give Them a Comfy Place to Sleep
Make sure your pet will be warm and comfortable during their times of rest by providing a warm, soft place to sleep. Think plush pet bed with blankets or soft towels!
6. Mind the Temperature
If you love blasting your air conditioning to the max while you drive, but you have a small dog — or any other animal that doesn’t do well in the cold — you might need to rethink your ability to drive together. Some pets, however, can better manage colder temperatures with the help of a coat or sweater — plus it’s helpful for cab-sleeping on cold winter nights! Don’t let your pet get too hot either! Before you take your pet on on the road, make sure you can recognize the signs that they’re too hot — for instance, dogs pant to cool down — then adjust the temperature to make sure they’re comfortable. While we’re on the topic of temperatures, always remember that parked vehicles and trucks are susceptible to quickly reaching extreme temperatures (hot or cold). Keep your pet alive and well by never leaving them unattended in vehicles for long periods of time.
7. Allow for Frequent Exercise and Bathroom Breaks
Keep your pet (and yourself) happy and healthy by taking multiple opportunities to get out of the truck to go to the bathroom, play, and exercise. Make your play breaks a success by investing in a good leash and/or harness, toys, and poop bags (do everyone a favor by picking up after your pet). For pets that don’t love every opportunity to get out of the truck to play — we’re looking at you, cats — make sure you have scratch boards and truck toys they can use when the mood strikes them.
8. Cut the Smoke
Just like humans, animals and susceptible to the life-threatening-effects of secondhand smoke. So, if you’re thinking about bringing your furry best friend — or fur-baby — on the road with you, use this as the perfect opportunity and motivation to quit smoking.
9. Always Track Your Dog’s Expenses
While we love all furry travel companions, having a dog as a co-pilot could have extra benefits — it could be tax deductible (no, it’s not a myth)! For expenses to potentially qualify, your dog must travel with you 100% of the time and he or she must act as a security measure by alerting you if someone comes near the truck. Make sure to compile all of your dog-related receipts — whether that’s from travel preparation or from travel itself — and to check with a trucking driving accountant, like ATBS, for more information.
10. Make Sure Pets Are Allowed
While many trucking companies allow drivers to bring pets, some do not. Before you take your pet on the road, first make sure your trucking company allows pets, and secondly, make sure you understand their pet policies. Start by reviewing this comprehensive list of trucking company pet policies, including which trucking companies do or do not allow pets. Trucking With Your Pet Pets can do wonderful things for humans — and companionship is at the top of that list! If you’re thinking about bringing your pet on the road, we hope these tips will make it easier for both of you to have a more enjoyable experience. Have any other tips for bringing pets on the road? Tell us in the comments!