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Now I want to gab about trucking with pets. I love all kinds of pets. I have had hamsters, a guinea pig named Squeaky, African gray parrots (Zoomer was my husband’s, and Zoey was mine), dogs, and cats. We now have 2 mini dachshunds (Anna Maie is my husband’s, and Charley is mine), and a tabby cat whose name is Tabby. They are smart, stubborn, and easy maintenance…unless they get sick.
Growing up, I loved cats. To me, they are the best. They have an attitude like no other. One minute they love you, and the next they can tear you up. They don’t like strangers either, and they can sense when a person is good or bad. They are easy to please, and they don’t require a lot of care.
Pets Are Good For You
I get that some want to have a companion when you are on the road, whether you are a solo driver or team driving. Pets have been known to lower the risk of depression, early death, and anxiety. They give you a reason to live, something to love, and something to love you back unconditionally. They can keep you active by taking them out to potty and walk around.
But They ARE A Responsibility
Before you go off and get a pet, you really need to think about the care, cost, and vet visits if something happens. Give your own temperament and health a consideration too, to make sure you can handle trucking with pets.
There are vets all over the United States that have a way to get you in with a big truck, whether it is a parking lot across from them for a tractor trailer or bobtail in the parking lot. You need to ask them where to park when you call, if you ever run into that type of situation. We have been there and done that.
We’ve Been There First-Hand
We had a dachshund that was very sick. He woke up one day from a nap and threw up, stopped eating and peed blood. We called a few vets and found one that took us in. We bob tailed there and had no problem parking. The vet told us that we had to leave him because he had some sort of immune system issue. It was not parvo, and he was vaccinated for that anyway. I couldn’t leave him. He then told us we had to get him to our vet in Florida within 24 to 36 hours. We were in PA at the time. We made it to GA and had to find another vet. He was not well at all, and at that point we had to make the decision to put him down. That was the hardest thing we ever had to do. He was the best dog ever and my little buddy. These are the types of things you could run into. It was not cheap either. If something were to happen, you just have to call around to find a vet to get to.
Should You Get A Puppy?
Puppies are so much fun and playful. They eat a lot and poop a lot. There will be times when they will have accidents in the truck. If you can get them trained on the puppy pads, that will be easier for you and the pup if you get into a situation where you can’t stop. They have a small bladder. Pups will hit a teething stage, and will chew on all kinds of things. We had many bluetooths that had been chewed, and many packs of my husband’s cigarettes. Never chewed on the seats or shoes thank God, but loved to chew on expensive things.
What About A Cat?
Cats can be a problem at times too. They have nails that will dig into your pants and the seats on your truck as well, with occasional skin pricks. So make sure you take that into consideration when thinking about getting a cat. Kittens could be a little rough. They are tiny, curious, and rambunctious little creatures. They will get under your feet and on your dash and dig at everything. You can get caps for the cats and kittens claws. They glue onto the nail so they can not dig things up. It does not hurt them at all, but it will feel weird to them at first. It is better than having them declawed. The problem with having that done is:
- They have to remove each toe
- It takes so long to heal with the risk of infection so high due to using the litter box
- If they get loose, they have no way of protecting themselves and catching something to eat
The litter box is not usually a problem, because you can change the litter. We use the crystals because I can scoop the poop and dump it in our bathroom in the truck and movethe litter around in the box. It starts to get a little odor when it gets close to changing the litter in the box. The cat box we have in our truck has the opening on the top of the box. It stops a lot of litter tracking.
More Unusual Pets…And Their Challenges
Snakes, rodents, and other exotic animals that you would keep in a container or cage pose other risks when trucking with pets, not only to your health, but others’ health and safety as well. Some get mites and skin issues. With snakes and rodents, you run the risk of the cage breaking if you keep them in a glass container and it falls, letting the animals out into the cab. That could be a disaster for you and the other drivers around you.
Birds are a problem all their own. You must be prepared for the screeching and the destruction of things in your truck. They poop like no other and can shoot that poop in places you probably don’t want it. The dust from the litter for the cage can cause breathing problems for some people, and if you use newspaper that can be smelly and down right nasty. They like to pick things apart with their beak, and they can be very destructive and irritating. In addition, birds have dust not only from their bodies but also there poop. Lots of dust!. You can also end up with parrot fever from the dust of their poop. (Psittacosis which is the medical term for Parrot Fever).
Don’t Get Too Many
The next issue with trucking with pets is the amount of animals that some people have in their trucks. You can have one or two small ones, maybe even 3 small ones in a regular size sleeper. If you have more then 2 big dogs in a regular size sleeper then that could create an issue. The pets do not have a place to go to get away from one another. They are like people, they do get irritated with one another. They could fight and cause you to have an accident as well as there could be more issues with trying to break up the fight.
I don’t know what some people think when they get 3 or 4 big-as-a-mini-pony kind of dogs? What are you thinking!! If you want a big dog, that’s all well and good, however more than one big dog in a 80 inch sleeper is not good for the animals and you. They need to stretch their legs and run. Also, they need that exercise, not only for boredom problems but also health-wise. They tend to get snippy and aggressive with owner and the other animals if they are not exercised properly and are confined to a small space together all the time. Really think about that before you decide to get a pet for the road.
Treat Your Pets Right
If you feel that you have to teach your animals by slapping, kicking and throwing your animal, then I am begging you not to get one. The aggression that you show them could come back to you tenfold. They are very strong animals. Like children, they depend on you for everything: food, water, going potty, cleaning cages, cleaning litter boxes, and vet care.
Yes, Some Drivers Treat Their Animals Poorly
This man was beating this little dog so bad that the small dog was screaming,( yes screaming) peed and pooped uncontrollably, and he threw the small dog into the truck. I can still see it happening to this day. The sight and the sound of the animal screaming was horrifying. If you have to treat an animal like that, then do not get one. We did turn in this man to animal control, and called his company.
We have seen people that were obese and can not get out of their truck to take the dog potty, or they are too lazy to try, so they would put the leash and collar on them, open the door to the truck, and hang the dog out the door to lower them down to the ground by the collar to potty, then they would lift them back into the truck the same way they let them out. It is sickening. Really people, get a grip. This strangles them! If you are to lazy or to overweight and have no desire to lose a little weight, then don’t get an animal.
So, Should You Have Pets On The Road?
With all this said animals on the truck are a great addition to the long drives and long nights. You must keep your truck clean and watch the animals.
If you get one and decide not to keep it, please do not toss the animal out of your truck. If you don’t want it then drop it at a shelter.
Some companies will not allow pets so check with them before you get one. You will probably have to show vaccination records and some have limits of what kind of animals and how big.
Remember to be safe and love your animals. They have feelings too.