Riding alone can become pretty lonely when you’re thousands of miles away from home and family and nothing behind or in front of you except the road. Having a pet on board can spark some joy in your rides and make you feel less lonely. On top of that, if you have a dog with you or another animal that needs to be walked, you will also get an opportunity to stretch your legs, since sitting behind a wheel all day can create tension in your muscles and make them stiff and painful. Having a dog with you on board also gives you a level of protection, since it will probably start barking if it feels threatened by an unfamiliar person approaching the truck. BUT, there are also a few things you need to pay attention to when riding with your pet, so you won’t get distracted from driving! Here are some tips to have in mind.
Be mindful of the dog breed you choose
If you don’t already have a dog and are looking to get one to keep you company, take into consideration the breed you will choose. Sitting in a truck for a long time can become quite boring to certain breeds, so opt for the ones that aren’t as active and like to sleep a lot. Choosing a smaller dog will make it easier for you to take them in and out of the truck, but even if you do choose a larger breed, you can find ramps that can be installed in your truck to help them exit the truck since jumping out from such a height can be dangerous for their joints. You should also have in mind that pets can shed, but some breeds shed more than others, so go for the ones with shorter hair to make it easier for you to clean up the truck.
You may need to take breaks more frequently
If your pet can’t use a litter box, you will need to stop more frequently for them to go potty as well as get some exercise. Doggies, for example, love to run, and it is a good idea to bring their favorite toys or balls you can throw for them to play with if you are parked next to a field. Research which truck stops are pet friendly, some gas stations like Love’s even have mini dog parks! They will lose a lot of their energy, and you both will have a great workout and time spent together, so you can drive relaxed and focused afterward and your pet will be calm.
Have your vet on a speed dial
Some minor issues can be solved through a phone call, so don’t hesitate to give your vet a call if your pet is acting weird. If you are far away from home and can’t visit your usual vet, it’s advised you keep their medical record and shot record with you, so they have insight into any previous conditions. If your pet is taking medication, make sure to keep a supply of them in case your truck goes to an area without many cities or towns. When you are taking your pet outside for a walk, try to keep them out of tall grass areas, so they don’t get any ticks. You can also find anti-ticks and flea collars for your pet to keep them extra safe.
Keep your pet groomed
If you are OTR and spend several weeks on the road, try to take them to a groomer whenever you go home, to minimize their shedding. To take care of them when you are on the road, you can use gentle wipes to wipe down their paws, especially if they sleep in the bed with you. You can also use cotton balls to wipe their ears to prevent any infections. Another thing you can do to keep them groomed and prevent them from scratching you or the interior of the truck is to file their nails but consult your pet groomer on how to do that since you can damage their nerve endings if you file too much.
Look into harnesses
If you want to keep your pet as close to you as possible while driving and don’t want to lock them to stay in the sleeping area only, but you also don’t want them to interfere with your driving, consider buying a harness. Some harnesses can be hooked into the seatbelt so they won’t be able to jump on the wheel, or into your lap when you drive. If you don’t like the idea of keeping them harnessed, consider getting them trained. Also, try to get as much of their energy out when you are taking breaks, so they won’t get random energy bursts while you’re driving and potentially distract you.
Watch the weather
The weather may drastically change from your starting point to your final destination when you’re OTR. That’s why you should consider getting your dog or cat some clothes. If there’s snow outside, those will keep them warm, and during the summer, the shoes will protect their paws from getting burnt on the hot concrete.
A few extra tips:
- If your truck gets broken down and you need to stay at a hotel, do your research beforehand because some hotels require a pet fee to be paid or do not allow animals on the premises at all!
- Make sure to always have a spare key with you since pets can sometimes lock the truck from the inside accidentally.
- Dogs need more water than humans, so make sure they have a water bowl on display, and look into spill-proof bowls to prevent it from spilling inside the truck.
- Super Ego has always been pet-friendly because we know how lonely being on the road all by yourself can get, and that’s why we’ve always been offering a pet and passenger policy! Take your friend with you and become a member of the Super Ego family.