A dog might be the perfect Christmas present for yourself or the driver in your life. Not only will it bring you a welcome respite from the loneliness of the road, but there are also physical benefits of bringing a dog on the road with you.
This article will go over some of the concerns a driver might have of bringing a dog with them on the road. If you have any questions, please reach out. I’d be happy to have an open conversation of what I do, to make my furry friend Chewie comfortable on the road.
The number one concern
I thought the number one concern would be number one. But honestly, it’s one of the easier problems to take care of. The easiest thing to do is also the simplest solution, just stop frequently to lower the possibility of an accident.
Stopping frequently is also great for the driver. Drivers should stop frequently to break up long road trips to cut down on the creation of blood clots caused by sitting for long periods of time.
Where do I stop?
The easiest places to stop are also the most obvious, truck stops and rest stops. You’re probably already stopping there for your own breaks, might as well keep Fido happy too.
If you have a good relationship with your Shippers and Receivers you could always reach out to them to let your dog do their business there. Please make sure to clean up afterward. It’s those drivers who do not that make clients shut this privilege down.
Finally, if there are Wal-Marts, or large businesses you can easily get in and out of, they make excellent stops.
The rolls of bags really make waste collection easier to take care of. Make sure to keep a roll of them on your leash at all time to take care of your dog’s waste.
Dogs can drink up to a 1/2 gallon of water a day. My recommendation is to buy gallons of water at Wal-Marts (that you’re already stopping at) or grocery stores as you’re stocking up. These gallon jugs cost a dollar or so and aren’t as extravagant as they seem, especially with how important water is to Spot’s health. You can cut down on costs by refilling these jugs at rest stops as you go.
Learn your dog’s language
Chewie “talks” to me, by standing in the middle of the cab, and staring at me while I’m driving. This is his way of telling me “Hey, dummy, I have to pee!”
Your dog might have their own way to speak to you. Maybe they scratch at the door, maybe they nuzzle your arm or leg, maybe you can train them to ring a bell on the door. Anyway, you dice it, the dog will give off signals to what it needs from you.
You aren’t stationary
You need to remember that it’s not winter everywhere, and you’re in a mobile office. Flea and tick season is striking Florida right now, while there’s snow on the ground in Michigan. Keep your pooch protected from the elements year round, keeping your route in mind at all times.
Keeping them occupied
Have things for the dog to play with, so they aren’t bugging you. The dog should be a companion, not a hindrance to your job.
If you can stand it, squeaky toys keep dogs busy for a long, long time. If you can’t stand it, and I haven’t tested these yet, you can look into squeaky toys that work almost like a dog whistle. The dog will get all the enjoyment of squeaking his toy, but you don’t have to listen to it.
Say no to beef knuckle
I got Chewie a femur bone and a beef knuckle. He loved them. I forgot I was in a confined space with him, and it. Do not do this. It smelled after just a few hours.
Do yourself a favor and just stick with rawhides. Depending on your dog, it’ll be good for the day, or you might even be able to make it multiple days on one.
You can’t hit rest stops and let your dog run wild. Do yourself a favor and get a long lead to let your dog run as far as possible. This will keep your dog well exercised, and get you out of the cab. You can try tossing a ball.
As I travel, I hope to keep a record of dog parks not too far off main highways as a repository/tool for all the other dog-owning drivers out there. (I’ll update this page with a link when we have that up)
This isn’t even much of a consideration. I have a bed for Chewie. He’ll either sleep there on the floor or at the foot of my bed. If you have a smaller dog, they’ll take up even less space. I don’t need to worry about a kennel for Chewie really taking up space in the cab.
I have a small plastic tub from Wal-Mart. It stores nearly a two week supply of food for Chewie. I just empty the large bag of food into it, not the whole thing, and we’re on our way.
Also, as a tip, use a scoop to be consistent with feeding. The more consistent you are with what goes in, and when, the more consistent your doggo will be when it comes to the other end.
Do you have a dog in your truck? Did I miss anything? Still not convinced and have questions? Comment down below, and start the conversation. We’re curious what other drivers think about having a dog in the cab.