Road Pets 101
Truck driving can be a lonely way of life for some people. The combination of life on the road paired with long hours adds up to one things: solitude. Yet, many drivers out there know this isn’t the way things have to be. When drivers bring pets along on a haul, they get a trusted sidekick to pass by the long hours.
While not for everyone, the drivers that have road pets are profoundly affected as a result. OTR driver Jerry M. had this to say; “Dogs are fantastic to have with this job. You always have someone to talk to. they make you go for walks which is good.”
There are many benefits to having a pet along for the ride. As a driver makes their way from one location to another, they have to determine the rules for bringing a pet on company property.
As it turns out, there are numerous companies out there that have pet rider policies. The criteria ranges from company to company, so a potential driver-pet co-op is tempered by the rules of the company a driver decides to go with. In an owner operator’s case, the rules would be determined by customer loading dock policies.
Some companies require a pet deposit of $100-500 dollars before a pet can go on the road. The Department of Transportation may ask for shot records to make sure your pet is healthy and fit for the journey. If you get caught without these papers, you could end up with a moving violation.
However, its not just the trucking companies and DOT a driver has to think about. The delivery sites have pet rules as well. Places like military bases and electric plants as well as sites that have high levels of security will not allow pets onto their properties. The driver will need to know the rules of sites they’re visiting so they don’t get stuck.
For the truck driver looking to take their furry friend on the road with them, there are definitely a few things to be aware of before getting started; especially for OTR drivers.
- Keep pet shot records with you and current in case of any inspections. Your company, DOT, shippers and receivers can all ask for records.
- Bring dog shampoo and baby wipes for a great quick bath. Without these, your truck will smell like a dog house.
- Dog food from home and treats. If you change dog food often, it could upset your dog’s stomach.
- Puppy pads can help keep your truck clean, especially after rain.
- Bring a portable cage or crate for transport in case you need to use a taxi or Uber.
With these handy tips in mind, a truck driver can take their pet on the road.
There are ups and downs though, just like in any situation and it would be prudent to know what they are. Here are some first hand accounts of what its like to have a pet onboard.
Michael W., an OTR driver, had this to say, “I have always trucked with a dog or two on board. The pluses way out weigh any minuses. There is much comfort in never being alone and they are excellent at alerting you to situations. They get you out of the truck to walk and if you’re having a rough day you know that at least your dogs love you no matter what. And lastly, and I know this from personal experience, if you ever break down in sub zero temps their extra body heat while you’re all hunkered down under a down comforter may very well save your lives”.
Barbara G., another OTR added, ”I love my dog on the truck. It’s his truck as far as he is concerned”.
On the downside, you have to be willing to pay the pet deposit for your company and do your homework on the rules of the sites you visit. Without proper planning, your route times may increase due to extra stops. These stops may end up better for your health anyways!
There are plenty of good reasons to bring a pet on the road for truck drivers, from the added companionship they give to the literal warmth they could provide if a trucker were to break down in a storm. Just remember to never assume a company is OK with pets. Be sure to check or ask them directly about their policies concerning the matter. Pets are great copilots to help deliver goods all over the country!