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Driving With Your Pets

Truck drivers have one of the coolest jobs available in the world, if traveling and seeing the country is your thing. Unfortunately, it can be a very lonesome and secluded career which is why many drivers choose to travel with a pet. Nearly 40 percent of truck drivers take their furry companion with them as they drive across the country.

French bulldog between two semi trucks at a loading dock

If you have a four-legged friend at home, bringing them on the road with you may have multiple benefits for you!

Benefits of traveling with a pet:

Having some alone time and enjoying the open road can be wonderful, but too much time by yourself as a solo driver can get pretty lonely. Bringing a pet along with you takes away the feeling of being so alone. Pets can provide truckers with the following:

  • Companionship. With your pet by your side, you won’t feel as lonely or isolated from your family and friends because man's best friend will be by your side! Many people think of their pets as part of the family, so having them with you allows you to travel with a little piece of home. Plus, by traveling with your pet you won't have to worry about boarding them or finding someone to take care of them while you're gone.

Bulldog hanging out of the driver window of a semi
  • Healthier lifestyle. Pets provide the opportunity for drivers to be more active! Finding the motivation to get exercise while on the road is a challenge for many drivers, however pets need exercise and you will be more likely to find the motivation if your pet wants to go to the park or for a walk. Time spent with your pet can also lower your blood pressure and even lower your risk for cardiovascular disease.

  • Reduced stress. The health benefits of having a pet include reduced stress and anxiety levels. Petting or cuddling a dog or a cat has been found to decrease levels of cortisol—our stress hormone. Bonding with our pets also releases oxytocin and other so-called “happy” hormones in both humans and our pets. Many people often talk to their pets as if they understand every word coming out of their mouth. Having a companion to talk to also reduces stress and has benefits to mental health.

  • Social interactions. Pet owners love to talk to other pet owners about their pets, and most the time will love your pet as if it was their own. Traveling with your pet can be an instant icebreaker and up your likelihood for social interaction with other drivers.

  • Safety. If you are traveling alone, having a pet with you may help you feel safer at truck stops. Having a pet to alert you if things are array may help give you a sense of security.

How to travel with a pet:

Traveling with a pet means there's one more thing that you need to prepare for. Make sure your truck is safe for your pet and that you have everything your pet needs for the trip. Your pet will need to have plenty of space but not interfering with your driving. Here are a few things you might want if traveling with a pet:

Cat on the shoulder of a truck driver
  • Kennel or harness. A kennel or harness can limit your pet’s range of motion and keep them safe while you drive. They make pet harnesses for vehicles that are compatible with a seat belt to buckle the pet in to the seat.

  • Food and freshwater. Just like humans, throughout the day pets need water and food. Make sure there is a safe way for your pet to eat and stay hydrated.

  • Collar, leash, and ID tags. In the event that your pet gets out of the truck, make sure they have a collar and ID tags. When walking your pets always have a leash.

  • Toys. What's a dog without a bone? Or a cat without a scratching post? Make sure you have things to entertain your pet while you're on the road. This will also keep them from interfering with your driving.

  • Basic necessities. Make sure that you have everything your pet will need throughout your trip. This could be a bed, brush, medication, waste bags or anything else you use frequently.

Before just deciding to bring your pet with you, check your company's policy for pets in cab. Many companies will allow their drivers to travel with a pet, but they often have a weight limit or certain policies in place that restrict some breeds. If you are a for-hire driver bringing your pet along with you is completely your decision!

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Make sure to check also out our online DOT Training platform, DOT University! We currently are offering Reasonable Suspicion for Supervisors, Cargo Securement, Defensive Driving, and Pre/Post Trip Inspection. In the coming months, we plan on releasing DOT Compliance Essentials and Periodic Annual Inspection Qualification Training (Appendix A).

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