Office Dogs on Wheels: More Drivers Taking Pets on the Road
Man’s best friend may become king of the road as more dogs – and other pets – join their owners on the road. Over 60% of truckers are pet owners and 40% of pet owning truckers have traveled with their pet.
Here’s a look at a few things to consider when deciding if taking a pet on the road is right for you.
Is your pet ready for the road?
Not all pets travel well, so before deciding to take your pet on the road make sure they are healthy and do well with travel. A cat or dog who doesn’t do well on a trip down the street isn’t going to like long hauls any better. Stop by your veterinarian to get your pet up-to-date on all their vaccines and to get a certificate of health, which you’ll need if your route crosses into another country.
A cab and truck stops don’t have the same security your home or yard would, so make sure your pet has a collar with your current contact information on it in case you get separated. For added peace of mind, you can get your pet microchipped.
Planning for animal copilots
Before heading out on the road with your pet make sure your truck is ready for it:
- Block off access to the clutch and brake.
- If you have a small pet, make sure it can’t get under the seats or pedals.
- Think about storage. Extra pet food and treats will need to be stored out of reach.
- Make sure you can have fresh water available for the full tip.
You should never leave your pet unattended in your parked truck. Even a short stop can be dangerous to animals: On an 85-degree day, even with with windows cracked, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. Fortunately, many truck stops are pet friendly, so it just takes a little extra planning to make sure both you and your pet will have accommodations on the road.
It’s a Win-Win
Many companies that allow dogs in the workplace report better morale, lower stress, and overall happier employees. Those benefits can carry over when the office is a truck.
“He is great company; he keeps me laughing a lot,” said long-time driver Barry Starr said of Scrappy, his dog who rides with him. “He is also a great source of exercise [as] walking him and playing with him will definitely keep me active. But the number one thing is he’s an awesome alarm system.”
Starr brings up another benefit of having a pet – especially a dog – on the road. Going for walks and tending to your pet’s other needs helps break up an otherwise sedentary day behind the wheel.
Drivers being able to bring their pets on the road with them also helps animals. Each year, about 7.6 million animals go into animal shelters around the country and each year about 2.7 pets in animal shelters are euthanized.
Susanne Spirit hoped that truck drivers might be able to save some of those animals from being put down. She started the Musical Truckin’ Dogs Adoption Program, which hosts pet adoption events at truck stops. Some drivers’ schedules might not allow enough time to care for a pet, but Spirit found that even those who could would often get turned down at other adoption events because of their jobs.
“The drivers told me the shelters wouldn’t let them adopt because they ‘didn’t have a home’,” she said. “And I thought that was the stupidest thing. You’re killing dogs and where do all of your dogs come from? Homes!”