It is estimated that between 40-60% of truckers have pets that they bring with them on the road either full or part-time. With that many dogs and cats (and other pets too) on the road, here are some tips to keep your pet happy and healthy while out on trucking jobs.
1. Have a safe place for your pet to travel.
This is a tricky subject as many truckers let their animals move freely in the truck when driving. However, this can be a risky option if you are ever in an accident or need to make a sudden stop. Pets can also be a distraction if they don't know appropriate places to be in the cab. Make sure you have a plan in place so your pet can travel safely and comfortably without being a distraction.
2. Establish a routine.
Have you ever heard the phrase "creature of habit"? Well there is good reason for that phrase. Animals are creatures of habit and need basic routines to be happy and healthy. It might seem like a drag to stick to a schedule, but it will also help you be more productive as an owner-operator.
3. Get out and get moving.
Pets need exercise to maintain good health. For cats that are indoor this might mean getting a laser light to keep them moving. For dogs this means taking regular walks and finding time to play with them. This has the added bonus of helping you get healthy too!
4. Make a plan for food and water.
If you purchase your pet food at truck stops you will probably end up overpaying and you have trouble being consistent with the brand which can be hard on your pet's digestive system. It can be frustrating finding a safe and easy place to park so you can get into a store to purchase food. So plan ahead and purchase food in bulk when you can get a good deal.
While many pets won't have trouble with local water from truck stops, some with more sensitive stomachs may need bottled water. If you get water from a water station, be sure it is potable before giving it to your pets. Make sure you have an emergency stash with you for emergencies.
5. Get regular vet care for your pets.
Regular appointments are hard to keep when working on the road, but just like you, your pet needs regular check-ups. While you're at the vet, ask for a copy of their medical records to bring with you on the road. Some states require paperwork showing proof of health or updated shot records.
6. Have a contingency plan.
Many places that cater to truckers are pet-friendly, but not all. Know the policies and have plans in place. You don't want to get to a mechanic and find out your dog can't sit with you in the waiting room or your cat can't stay in the cab. Truck cabs don't heat up quite as quickly as cars, but you don't want to put your pet at risk by leaving them in the heat or cold. Call ahead if necessary and set up a plan so you aren't taken by surprise.
Pets are a blessing. Having your companion with you on the road has many unexpected benefits as long as you are prepared and plan ahead.
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