Tips to Care for Your Pet When You’re Trucking
With their unconditional love and support, it’s no surprise that 60% of households have at least one dog hogging the bed and stealing the pillow. (American Pet Products Association)
Dogs really are man’s – and woman’s! – best friend, so it isn’t uncommon for truck drivers to take their furry friends along with them when they hit the road. If you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to take their best friend to work every day, check out these tips for how you can best travel with your little buddy in tow.
Dog-proof your truck.
- Give your truck a once over to make sure there isn’t anything Fido might be tempted to get into. You want to make sure there isn’t anything they will damage through chewing, both for their health and the health of your truck’s interior.
- Keep snacks and treats where they can’t get them – either in a compartment or a bin they can’t destroy.
- It’s going to be impossible to avoid all signs of drool and dog hair, but there are things you can do that will help – seat covers are a good start. Keep window cleaner and paper towels onboard, and pack some extra towels or chamois in case you need to dry your furry friend off or save your seat from mud.
- Keep paperwork in a place where it’s not going to get damaged by muddy paws.
Get them used to it.
You want to make sure your dog knows how to behave when you’re driving. It could be very dangerous if they’re bouncing around and getting underfoot. Take them out for some test drives (you do the driving!), and make sure they know their “spot.” It may help if they have a bed on the floor of the passenger side, or if you put a blanket on the passenger-side seat and reinforce “stay.”
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as dog seat belts that are designed to keep them safe in the event of an accident; they also work to keep your dog confined to a limited area. If you’re going to go this route, it may take time to get your pet used to it since they limit their range of motion a bit. Take them on a couple of test drives so they get used to it.
Pack the right stuff.
While dogs do require a certain amount of stuff, most of it doesn’t take up a lot of room. Make sure you never leave home without:
- Dog food, treats, and water.
- Dog bowls: one for food and one for water. (Make sure your furry friend has water available to them at all times!)
- A dog leash. You may even want to pack a harness to help control them on your walks.
- Doggy bags to clean up after them.
- Cleaning supplies to clean up any accidents.
- Toys or dog chews to keep your friend from getting bored.
A few other things you may want to take with you but are not required:
- A 12-volt heated blanket – especially if you have an older pet who gets cold easily.
- Cold weather gear like a coat or sweater. Some dogs have a lot less fur than others. If your dog is one of them, consider getting them a coat or sweater to help them stay warm in the winter.
- Dog crate. If they’re particularly unruly riding in your rig, consider keeping them in a crate while you’re moving. Make sure it has a blanket or cushion inside to keep them comfy.
- A dog brush for combing out your fur ball will help keep your truck tidier and free of dog hair.
Take them on a walk before you load up and go.
It’ll help get the wiggles out and ensure they won’t need a bathroom break for a while.
There’s an app for that.
There are always some things you have to plan for when you’re traveling with a dog: where you’re going to walk them, pet-friendly locales (if needed), vet care, etc. Luckily, there’s an app for that.
- BarkHappy helps you find dog-friendly places and dog owners near you in case your furry bestie needs a play date. (App Store and Google Play; in-app purchases)
- BringFido offers pet-friendly places to stay, play, and eat, in addition to groomers, vets, and much more. (App Store and Google Play; free)
- Pet First Aid is offered by the American Red Cross and provides veterinary advice for everyday emergencies. (App Store, Google Play, or text GETPET to 90999; free)
Are you thinking about bringing your dog with you on the road for the health benefits? Here are some simple ways to get started.