Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed In Trucking?

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Errol V.'s Comment
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Sometimes, I think questions like this are from people trying to skirt certain rules. Cynical me, I guess. If someone does have an Emotional Support Dog, or goldfish for that matter, it's none of my business, and I will never question that or think less of someone. But still and all ... it's pushing the limits a bit.

Classify this question with "Male needs female trainer because I'm more comfortable" or "Beer in the sleeper during 34 hour break."

Blake H.'s Comment
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Many of the medical reasons that a service dog would be used for would disqualify someone from obtaining their CDL anyways. Seizure disorders, sight, hearing, extreme blood sugar shifts, psychotic episode disorders, mental diseases. If someone needs a true service dog, it's not for something benign.

So someone with depression shouldn't be allowed to drive? Or PTSD? Well there goes 80% of your workforce and most veterans.

The biggest problem with this entire subject is people trying to dictate or influence when they have absolutely no first hand knowledge on it.

As an Iraq Marine vet, my service dog, makes life almost normal. She provides stability and mobility assurance due to an equilibrium issue. She also provides an assortment of other functions. Reminders to take medication, PTSD mitigation, and behavioral assistance. Just because you need help, doesn't mean you have to be a lost cause.

The main issue I face on a day to day basis is the ignorance of people. Between shippers not taking the extra 2 seconds to look at her vest, and the fact she is supposed to be a so called "vicious breed" lol. The only true issue I have is at food warehouses. As these are usually GMP facilities ( FDA guidelines on food sanitation), however since I do "no touch" freight, i am usually only in the shippers office ( where there are no risks of contamination.

Still, at least once a week, someone will yell at me to get my dog out of their building. I politely inform them that she is a protected requirement and sometimes they just have me stay in the truck and bring my bills to me. All in all, I gladly stand up for my baby. She makes my life complete, and allows me a little piece of normal life.

If you have a Service Dog ( by the way there is no such thing as a "certified" service animal) then a company can't discriminate because of it. Regardless of whether or not they allow pets in their company policy. Also they can not charge a deposit, same as hotels. However you are still responsible for any damages or excessive wear.

As for the emotional support dog topic. Yes the ADA has stated that a service dog must perform a function, actively. ESAs and therapy dogs are no longer covered the same.


Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.


The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Jordan S.'s Comment
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That's just my truckin' life. Swift doesn't allow a dog in a truck? I thought I had to pay a deposit or something. Aww man, I was planning it. It's going to be me, my truck and dog on the road together. I guess I need to be an Owner/Operator. That's going to a lonely drive. I'm already alone that's how I roll. This is a major disappointment. Well I guess I saved a $1000 pet fee from a breeder, I could use for a down payment for a house or a Freighter Cascadia. I actually might spend that money on gaming laptop and use that during my 10 hour break to relax. I highly support a Emotion Suppor tDog. I'm depress that's why I left college to take a break from it all. But a big rig and haulin' American Freight makes me happy. And I like doing paperwork that's my job in the Army. I think it's funny that someone said, "Well, there goes 80% of the workforce, depress, have PTSD from being a veteran." Sad truth. I don't need a whole of human interaction, just a dog.


Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Kieran L.'s Comment
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Again, there are plenty of trucking companies that DO allow dogs, whether service animals or just the family pet. You just might have to look into other companies instead of Swift. I'm in the same situation myself, I have a large dog that is like my kid and I will only consider driving for companies that allow me to bring my dog with me. There are plenty of options in companies that do allow dogs, fortunately. :)

Bad Bob's Comment
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Every dog I ever had was an emotional support whether they had that official title or not. I have been looking into companies and one of the qualities I want is that they do have a pet policy. Having a dog with you, or any pet for that matter, is great company. I do want to be with a company where if I feel the need to have a furry rider friend I can do it. Keep in mind if a company wants to hire you they will, but if they don't and you try to blame it on you having a service dog it isn't going to make a difference. They just won't hire you. Just find a company that has a pet policy. There are a lot of them out there.

Merry Christmas Bad Bob

Infidel's Comment
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One of my friends is about to start school...does swift accept ESD?


As a lifelong dog person, I've been involved in dog training for years as a member of a kennel club when I lived in Illinois. Never heard of an "emotional support dog" though, is that along the lines of a "Service Dog" or more like a "Therapy Dog" Certified by TDI? Certified service animals are covered by ADA, so service animals are allowed in public places such as stores, restaurants, and yes even in the workplace. There are some caveats but I'm not quite familiar enough with the law to know all the nuances. I don't think therapy dogs have the same protections since they don't go through the same level of training required of a service dog.

Neat another dog trainer turned trucker. I too was a professional trainer for many years. My personal experience lies mostly with working dogs however. Protection, scent detection and now sheep dogs (aka herding). I am a firm believer in that a dog should never be breed for how it looks.

As someone stated per the ADA rules these dogs are NOT service dogs. The trouble with this is they usually have no training. They are just there to make a person feel better. Well by that definition you have just described a pet. What normally happens is that person will tell their doctor they need this so the doctor will write a note/or maybe a prescription for this "emotional support dog". And said person goes to the internet orders them a new service dog vest. Their of too the grocery store to show everyone what a special snowflake they are. Problem is that that a note from your doctor is not legal. Its not binding under the ADA. But store owners are way to scared to challenge it. So in most cases people get away with it. And I have seen these dogs on tables tops were people eat. Nonstop barking on Buses, laying out in the aisle (instead of under the seat or the person as true service dogs are trained to do). They have little training at best. This is going to become a problem for those people who actually need their service animals. It just takes a few bad instances. When I drove the handicapped bus we had one person who's ESD would bite you! You had to be careful.

Sorry if I sound kinda harsh about it. But this one thing I do know a lot about. And I'm sick of not being allowed to take my very well trained dogs into places like parks. Because of other peoples failure to control or clean up after their dogs. Only to see a owner chasing down their "service dogs" cause they wanted to come see me. We went to a national park here in Nevada. Brought the dogs only to see a no dogs on trail sign. Not even on leash! While we left our dogs behind we saw 4! Yes 4 dogs on that hike. All with their little orange vests and no obedience at all.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Infidel's Comment
member avatar

One of my friends is about to start school...does swift accept ESD (Emotional Support Dog)?

Just find a company that allows pets. Their are lots of them. It was the last thing that made me finally do this. I found out some companies will let me bring a dog. Just know many shippers and receivers have strict rules about your pets. Not allowed out on their property and definitely not in the building.


The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Infidel's Comment
member avatar

Blake H. said.

"So someone with depression shouldn't be allowed to drive? Or PTSD? Well there goes 80% of your workforce and most veterans."

Not true. One of my jobs in the military was mental health. Most of the veteran population have never seen combat. And out of those that have its hovers around 10-14 percent of those who report symptoms of PTSD. This is a hard stat to track. As PTSD includes a lot of things. Its a moving target with lots of variables. Time being a big one.

I was able to sit in on a study by a group studying the effects of stress on the human brain. They were working with the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school. Reportedly one of the most stressful schools a regular soldier could get into. It was just really neat to here these people talk about peoples brains reacting to stress. As it turns out the most combat troops have a much lower instance of PTSD overall. The lowest being in the Special Forces community. These guys that probably see the worst warfare has to offer. Most reported PTSD cases seem to come from the guys who didn't expect (and maybe didn't get as much training for) being in the thick of combat. But were put there none the less.

In perspective feeling sad or angry doesn't mean you are broken everyone feels that way sometimes. Its how well you deal with. Even if its diagnose-able doesn't mean your malfunctioning. Even remembering bad things form the past doesn't make it PTSD. Their are lots factors that go into it.

Just neat stuff I learned I thought I would share.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
J Johns's Comment
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Thanks for sharing, Infidel. I enjoyed every word.

RookieDriver17's Comment
member avatar

One of my friends is about to start school...does swift accept ESD (Emotional Support Dog)?

I'm a current swift driver. I just had to let my DM know my situation and he put my ESA on the truck. but guys only do it if you really need an ESA. Ive heard many ppl neglecting the real reason of having the ESA with them and it just makes it so much more difficult for those who really need them, Although ESA doesn't need any training, my Dog is very well behaved and very well trained he's also a Staffordshire terrier and he has done amazing helping ppl realize his breed is an amazing one.


Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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