Taking a dog or cat or another animal with you on the road has its good points and its bad points. On the good side, pets can take the edge off an otherwise lonely trip. On the bad side, their needs require some planning. Some things you’ll want to think about before brining a pet along for the ride are food and water, exercise, exposure and truck shops.
Food and Water
These may seem obvious, but if you’re traveling in a tractor trailer truck, making sure you have pet food and fresh water can sometimes be challenging. Many of the larger grocery chains like Wal-Mart and Target have truck access or even truck parking and carry quality brands of pet foods as well as bottled water at lower prices. If you run out of food, you’ll find that most truck stops do carry dog and cat food, but they don’t have much in terms of choices. If you run out of bottled water, you can buy that at the truck stop as well. If you prefer to use the free water at the pumps on the fuel island, make sure the water is potable, meaning that it’s safe for drinking and washing. There should be signs if the water is non-potable but you may want to ask if you are unsure.
Any trucker can tell you that being cooped up in a truck all day is no fun. Cats and other non-canine pets are tougher to exercise than dogs are, but many pet shops have small space play solutions. Truck stops and rest areas often have designated pet areas where they want you to walk your dogs in order to keep the rest of the grassy areas free of pet droppings. When you’re walking your dog, keep an eye where you’re stepping for just that reason.
If you leave your pet in the truck when you go inside, keep in mind that it can get hot in the summer and cold in the winter when the truck is off. The greenhouse affect isn’t as drastic in a truck as it is in a car- meaning your sleeper doesn’t heat up as quickly as a car would- but a shut down truck isn’t the place for a pet for long. Anti-idling laws around the country don’t make exceptions for pets.
Most truck repair shops and dealerships make allowances for pets. Either they will allow you to leave your pets in the truck while they work on your truck or they have a driver’s lounge where you can keep your pets with you. Some shops, however, won’t allow pets on the premises. You’ll want to call ahead to make sure your pet won’t get kicked out.