Long hours away from home, hauling freight across new borders sounds much more inviting with your favorite furry friend sitting in the passenger’s seat! Pets are proven to be a wonderful addition to life on the road. However, it’s important to consider all aspects of the responsibility before committing to a full-time four-legged or other driving companions.
The Benefits of Riding with a Pet On The Road
- Science has proven that the addition of a pet — whether feathered, furry, scaled, etc. — creates a calmer environment for a person. This includes lowered heart rate and blood pressure, both of which are particularly important to truck drivers!
- A pet’s dietary and bathroom requirements create incentive for more exercise and consistent stops. This is good for both the driver and the passenger!
- A dog, in particular, can be a great security or early warning system for intruders or even unwelcome eyes near the truck. They keep intruders at bay when the truck is unattended and can alert of potential dangers at rest stops.
- Any type of pet offers a sense of companionship on otherwise lonely stretches of open road. And having a loving, affectionate companion is instrumental in boosting morale when you are experiencing a rough patch!
- Having another set of ears in the cab means that all of those one-sided conversations now become an “interchange”!
- Pets in the cab help to combat driver fatigue by enforcing more frequent breaks and interaction. This means safer drivers — and for the company, it could result in lower insurance rates.
Things to Consider Before Bringing Your Pet Along On The Road
- Hair. Gets. Everywhere. Two bodies in the truck means twice as much mess and twice as much potential damage!
- Bringing a pet on the road is not the same as having a pet at home. It requires more observation, energy, planning, and responsibility. You must consider the pet’s needs in any new environment and there is rarely a solution as simple as letting it out into a fenced yard.
- Unfortunately, there is often more risk of injury or sickness on the road. Constant new environments mean potential threats from unfamiliar trash, drug paraphernalia, antifreeze, potentially harmful foods or substances, fleas, ticks, burrs, thorns, etc. Be sure to check around your stops and also map out local vet offices when entering a new area!
- Food and water can get messy! Managing appropriate hydration in a moving vehicle takes some practice, and kibbles love to travel.
- Some loading and unloading destinations may not allow pets, which could complicate the trucking process. It may create stress for your companion and add an additional stop to your day if bathroom breaks can’t be taken at the destination.
- Some customers may not allow pets on their premises, so work with your dispatch team to help you make alternative arrangements where necessary
The Verdict on Bringing Pets OTR
Regardless of the potential complications, most drivers would agree that having a pet riding shotgun makes a world of difference. According to a recent report, more than 60% of truckers are pet owners, and within that group, 40% of drivers elect to take their pets on the road. As with any animal, OTR pets are a commitment of time, energy, money, and emotion. And you also need to be diligent about keeping your environment clean, whether it belongs to you, or you are issued company equipment. However, in an otherwise solo role, the added companionship, protection and consistency of a furry friend offsets the hard work and potential risks.