Trucking with a dog is becoming more common across the United States. It’s makes sense, if you are spending so much time alone and far from home then a dog can truly be your best friend.
Don’t take the decision to truck with your dog lightly. You need to know what you are getting yourself and your dog into before you commit to it.
In this article I will tell you the 23 greatest tips to make trucking with your dog a lot more comfortable for the both of you.
Raising dog in a truck has it’s challenges. There are a lot of things that you need to prepare for ahead of time so that you don’t regret your decision to allow your dog into your truck.
Below is a list of 23 tips for trucking with a dog. I intentionally kept things like toys, chew toys, and food of the list. Those are things you should already know to bring with you.
1. Get A Spill Proof Water Bowl
Making sure water is always available for your dog is vital to their health. Making sure that their water bowl isn’t spilling all over your trucks interior is vital to your sanity. Don’t use a water bowl that you would use in your home. Do yourself a favor and pickup a spill proof water bowl. These spill proof bowls won’t even spill if they are turned upside down!
2. Get A Large Water Jug (with dispenser) To Store Drinking Water For Both Of You
You can store water in large water jugs so that you don’t have to carry a bunch of small water bottles with you. Actually, having a large jug to store drinking water is good for you and your dog. You can drink the water too and use it for cooking. This is the kind that is best because it has a dispenser on it so you can control how much water you need and it’s BPA free. Having one that is at least 3 gallons also means you won’t be making as many stops for water.
3. Get Seat Covers
Something you will quickly learn while trucking with your dog is that you need to get seat covers. A dog will tear up a seat in no time. If you can’t find the right chair cover for your make and model you can use an old blanket in the meantime.
4. Clean Up After Your Dog
Take responsibility for your dog. When stopping at a rest area or truck stop be courteous to other truckers by picking up after your dog. Don’t leave poop on the ground where others can step in it. Carry some plastic bags with you to pickup the poop and throw it in the closest garbage.
5. Get A Dog Ramp So Your Dog Can Safely Exit And Enter The Truck
Expecting a dog, especially a small or old dog, to jump into and out of a truck is dangerous. Over a long period of time the jumping will be bad for the legs and joints of your dog. It’s also unrealistic to think that you can safely carry your dog in and out of your truck all the time.
You need to get a dog ramp for you truck so that your dog can easily and safety go in and out of your truck. The main thing to consider when buying a ramp for your dog is to get one that is not bulky and won’t take up a lot of your space inside your truck.
Pet Loader makes an excellent dog ramp specifically for truck drivers. The best thing about it is that it folds up after use and can be stored in front of your passenger side seat. Ask any veteran driver that has a dog with them and they will tell you that this is your best option for getting your dog in and out of your truck safely. That is a picture of it on the right. You have some options of getting a 3, 4, or 5 step model. For a traditional truck you will need a 5 step loader.
6. Bring Extra Cab Filters
With having a dog in your truck you will end up with more hair and smells. Make sure you get yourself some extra cab filters so that your air quality is still good for you and your dog.
7. Get A Small 12 volt Vacuum
Having a small 12 volt vacuum will go a long way in helping you keep your truck interior cleaner. These small vacuums are a great way to get rid of dog hair too. If you don’t already have one this is a great one that comes with a case, a long cord, a washable and removable filter, and a few attachments. The nearly 15 food power cord is also an added bonus for truck drivers to they can reach all parts of their cab.
8. Use A Retractable Leash
A retractable lease should be used when the dog is out of your truck. Never let your dog run freely at a rest stop or truck stop. Remember, your dog is your responsibility. This one is a nice retractable leash that can handle a dog up to 110 lbs. and it comes with a small dog waste bag that can be refilled.
9. Carry A Spare Key In Your Pocket
Some dogs will learn how to lock the doors of the truck from the inside. Picture this, you leave your dog in the truck for a few minutes so you can run to the bathroom. You come back and the doors are locked, your dog locked them and you can’t get back in.
Make sure you have an extra key with you.
10. Train The Dog To Stay Away From The Drivers Side
This is really important for your safety. Under no circumstances should you ever allow your dog to sit in the drivers seat, touch the steering wheel, or go near the pedals of your truck. Not even once. Just don’t do it. If your dog is comfortable going near the drivers side controls you are asking for trouble.
Don’t be irresponsible and dangerous, keep your pet safe and away from your seat, the pedals, and steering wheel at all times.
11. Windex. Lots of it.
You will need it to clean your windows, dashboard, and interior parts many more times than you would without a dog.
12. Get A Dog Bed
Getting a dog bed that will fit in your truck is tricky. You don’t want something that is too small but you don’t want it to take up a lot of your space. Your space is already limited without the dog. Amazon has a good 24 inch wide bed for less than $11.00. You can find out the price today by clicking here.
13. Get Good Poop Bags
You will eventually run out of plastic bags from grocery stores. Even worse, you will find out the hard way that the grocery store bag has a hole in it an now your hands stink like poop. Amazon usually has 900 dog poop bags with a dispenser for less than $15.00. Check what the price is today on Amazon by clicking here.
14. Check With Your Trucking Company If Dogs Are Allowed
Before you even get a dog make sure that the company you are driving for will even allow you to have a dog in their truck. Some companies are okay with it but some want no part of it because of the mess dogs can create. You may also be required to pay a security deposit in case the dog destroys something. Some companies that do allow dogs will require proper documentation too. If dogs are not allowed by your company you shouldn’t have a dog in your truck with you. You risk losing your job if you are caught driving with a dog.
15. Big Dogs Are Not Good For Trucking
Don’t get a big dog. A dog that is over 35 lbs. is too big and will need more space than your truck can offer. Wondering which dog breed to get? Go to number 18.
16. Only Experienced Drivers Should Have A Dog
If you have only been driving a truck for a few months you shouldn’t have a dog with you. You already have a lot of learning to do and a lot of new responsibilities. Leave the dog at home until you become more comfortable driving your truck and carrying out your daily duties. When you are comfortable driving on your own then you can consider bringing your dog on the road with you.
17. Get A Crate For Your Dog
Having a dog crate is important. There will be times when you can’t take your dog with your somewhere or you won’t want to. By putting the dog in a crate you will have piece of mind that the dog and your trucks interior will be okay. You don’t have to get a crate that looks like a cage. There are now folding crates like this one that you can buy that don’t take up a lot of space in your truck. Just make sure you buy the correct size if you decide to get one of these for your dog.
18. What Is The Best Dog Breed For OTR?
Not all dogs are good dogs for OTR. There are some dog breeds that have proven very capable though. Some breeds that truckers say are best for driving long distances in small spaces are Border Collie, French Bulldog, Pit Bulls, Yorkie, and Chihuahua. Don’t get a dog that is going to grow too big and don’t get a puppy. See #20 and #15.
19. Make Sure Your Dog Has Tags On It
The same rules apply on the road as at your home. Make sure your dog has tags with your cell phone number, email, and the name the dog responds to. Losing your dog will make you heartbroken, make sure that the person that finds it know how to contact you.
20. Get An Older Dog
Lazy dogs that won’t run around a lot and chew things up is what you want. A puppy is going to need a lot of attention that you probably won’t be able to give it. Younger dogs like to chew things up more and have to be walked more often than older dogs. You can find a great older dog at your local pet shelter that is more tame and lower maintenance.
21. Be Prepared For A Lot Of Stops
Having a dog is like having a child with you. Are you prepared to make a lot more stops? Keep in mind all the stops may impact how much money you make. If you aren’t ready for the extra stops you should keep driving alone.
22. Get Dog Booties To Protect Their Paws From The Hot Ground
Depending on where you are driving the temperatures may get really hot. If you are going through the desert and the temperature of the air is over 100 degrees just imagine what the temperature of the ground your dog is going to be walking on is. Hot enough to hurt their paws. Get your dog some dog booties like these on Amazon and you won’t have to worry about it. These are nice because they are non slip and waterproof too. There is even some reflective tape on them for night visibility. Make sure that you pick the correct size before you order them, the sizes are based on the weight of your dog.
23. Don’t Let Your Dog Out At The Pumps
Letting your dog out at the pumps is not a good idea because your dog will diesel and oil on their paws. They will try to lick off the diesel and/or oil and it can make them sick. If you really need to let your dog out at the pumps you should use the dog booties mentioned in #22.