Best Dogs for Truck Drivers [& How To Travel With Pets]
Long hours on the road can get lonely. There’s not always an option to take someone along for the ride with you. If you don’t have anyone to share the road with you, you might have thought about getting a dog or other pet to keep you company. That’s a good idea, but even the best dogs for truck drivers need some preparation before they can head out on your route.
The best dog for truckers is the one you get along with and suits your trucking lifestyle. Learn what the best dog breeds for truck drivers are, how to pet-proof your truck, how to keep your best friend happy, and what companies allow pets so you can enjoy your time driving and living on the road.
Before you take Rover on the road you should probably know if he's even allowed to ride with you in the cab of your truck. Many trucking companies have strict regulations regarding furry passengers. Some companies are more friendly to our canines than others.
Even some companies that claim to be pet friendly, don’t make pet ownership on the road a very appealing or even viable option. Some “pet friendly” companies take away from your base salary, require hefty deposits, or penalize you in other ways for having your pet along for the ride.
Check with companies before you sign on and drive, and make sure they allow pets. Unauthorized pets will be found eventually, and you don’t want to risk your job over it.
The best pets for the road are smaller, low-maintenance pets. Most truckers choose to bring a cat or dog with them, but some people have gotten permission to take other pets, such as a parrot. What kind of pet you can bring depends on your trucking company. Most only allow dogs or cats under a certain size, so make sure you check and get permission if you have a different type of pet you’re considering.
Although bringing your pet on the road sounds like a great idea, remember that truck cabs, even sleeper cabs, are small spaces. Having a big dog or a dog that sheds a lot is going to make living in a small space much more difficult. With a smaller pet, it will be easier to keep your space clean and have room for your pet’s bed and food bowls.
The best dog breed for truck drivers is usually any breed that is low-maintenance, short-haired, low-energy, and below 25–30 pounds. While many trucking companies allow pets up to 60 pounds, these aren’t necessarily the best dogs for truckers. The bigger the dog is, the more space your pet will take up in your small cab. Many trucking companies will also specify “no aggressive dog breeds.” Check their policy to see what qualifies as an aggressive breed.
Some of the best dog breeds for truck drivers include a:
In the end, the best breed for truck drivers is the one that is part of your family and that is allowed to come along with you for the ride.
Even the best dog breed for truck drivers requires a little preparation before hitting the open road. Pet-proofing your truck will make the experience better for you and your four-legged companion. If you’re bringing your dog or cat on the road, you should pet-proof by doing the following:
Keep Items Securely Stored: Food, trash, and medicine all need to be kept stored and away from prying paws while you’re driving or at rest. These things be dangerous to pets, and they can make your cramped living space messy very quickly.
Secure the Driver Area: Even the best dogs for truckers aren’t safe when they get around your seat or, worse, by your brakes and pedals. Keep your driving situation secure by blocking pet access to the area by your seat.
Make Some Room: Your pet needs room to move around. Make sure your pet can stretch their legs during breaks in a way that keeps them safe.
Bring Along a Crate: The best dogs for truckers are smaller, not only so they don’t take up as much room but also so they can fit in a crate when necessary. Keeping a crate on hand means you can provide a secure home for your pet and keep them safe when you’re delivering to places that don’t allow or aren’t safe for pets.
Bring Pet Cleaning Supplies and Poop Bags: Dogs need to use the restroom too, and even if your dog is well potty trained, you will need poop bags to clean up after them at rest stops. Bring cleaning supplies to keep the inside of your vehicle smelling clean and fresh. Look for supplies that are pet-friendly and safe.
Always Have a Leash Handy: Keeping a leash on hand ensures your dog isn’t running free when there are dangerous conditions outside your vehicle.
Pack Toys and Blankets: Dogs need entertainment just as much as you do. They also need to stay cozy, especially when the temperature drops.
Keep Water on Hand: Keep your dog healthy by bringing along extra water for Rover.
Following these general tips will help you create a safe and comfortable driving experience for your pet on the road.
Keeping your best friend safe while driving is just as important as keeping yourself and others safe. An unsafe situation for your pet is distracting to you and won’t lead to a positive road experience for you, your pet, or other drivers on the road. Some great tips for keeping your pet safe are:
Use a Seatbelt: That’s right, pets can use seatbelts—sort of. Pet harnesses that keep your dog secure are made to work with your regular seat belts. They keep your pet from sliding around or getting into an unsafe situation while you drive, especially if you need to brake quickly.
Train Your Dog: Riding in a truck can be a new experience for some pets. If you don’t use a harness to secure your pet, you should train them to stay well away from your driving space and pedals. Train them so they don’t create an unsafe situation for themselves or you.
Get Driving Experience: If you’re fresh out of trucking school you need to spend a solid six months on the road before adding a pet to the equation. Give yourself time to adjust to living on the road, and get some driving experience without distractions before bringing a pet along.
Make Frequent Stops: As you work and drive with your dog, you’ll get a feel for how long your dog can go without taking a potty break. Make sure to take regular stops so your dog doesn’t have an accident in your truck.
Keep Your Dog Hydrated: Dogs get dehydrated too. Make sure to bring water for them while you’re driving.
Take Care Getting in and out of Your Truck: While most dogs can get in and out of a regular car comfortably, a truck is significantly higher off the ground. Repeated jumping in and out can lead to a pet’s injury. Help your dog in and out, or provide a device that helps them do it on their own.
Following some general safety advice will keep your dog healthy and happy.
Taking your pet on the road isn’t just fun and enjoyable. There are also some great physical and mental health benefits to finding the best dogs for truckers and bringing a furry companion with you. Some great benefits of having a pet include:
Decreased blood pressure
Lower cholesterol levels
Lower triglyceride levels
A boosted immune system
Lower levels of stress
Other benefits are less obvious. In general, people with pets, especially dogs, are more likely to move around and get up more often by taking their dog on walks or out on bathroom breaks. Simply moving around more is a great benefit for truck drivers who spend a large amount of time sitting while working.
The best dogs for truck drivers also help drivers with feelings of loneliness and stress on the road. Dogs and other pets provide excellent companionship that make the long hours of isolation more bearable and even enjoyable. For women in trucking, having a dog as a companion may even help you feel safer while you’re away from home.
Not all trucking companies allow you to bring pets on the road, and some do but take money from your pay or require very high pet deposits. Some deposits can be as high as $2,000!
Finding a pet-friendly company is essential for company drivers who want to bring their companions on the road. If you want to bring the best dogs for truckers with you on your next route, take a look at these pet-friendly companies:
LTI Trucking Services: The numbers say it all with LTI. A full 40% of their drivers bring pets along for the ride. They only have a small refundable deposit for drivers who want to bring a pet along.
J.B. Hunt: This company allows pets 60 pounds and under but specifies that you cannot bring a breed that qualifies as “aggressive.” There is a $300 pet deposit for drivers who want to bring a pet.
Interstate Distributor: This is one of the few trucking companies that actually allows you to bring along two pets. They even have room at their trucking yards specifically for pets, so you don’t have to leave them in your truck while working there.
Roehl Transport: This company is well-known for their pet-friendly company culture. They even offer pet runs at company rest stops and have a Facebook community for their drivers with pets.
Knight Transportation: You are allowed up to one dog or cat with Knight, but the weight limit for any pet is 30 pounds. Considering the best dog breed for truck drivers is usually smaller, that’s not really a downside. You will need to pay a $400 deposit to bring your pet along, and half is refunded to you when you stop driving with Knight.
If you’re an owner-operator, the choice to bring a dog with you on the road is entirely up to you. Now that you know the best dogs for truckers, you’re prepared to bring your pet (or pets) along with you and share your life on the road.
Finding the best dog breed for truck drivers doesn't have to be difficult. Many companies allow you to have pets if you find a breed that fits their guidelines. The best dogs for truckers are the ones that suit your lifestyle and provide great companionship during long hours on the open road. Find the best dogs for truck drivers, and enjoy your newfound friend for years to come while you live the life of a trucker.