It’s always nice to have your best friend with you when going on a road trip, which is why more and more truckers are opting to take their pets – whether it be dogs, cats, birds, rats, lizards – with them on the long haul.
If you are considering having your animal companion by your side, make sure to prepare beforehand so that nothing goes astray while you’re on the road.
From food, to litter trays, to toys – here are a few things you should take into account.
The essentials for any animal
- Buy food in bulk and store in the cab so that the supply can last the whole trip without you having to buy more at every pitstop
- Water is important, use a small bowl with velcro attached to the bottom to avoid spills
- In the event of an emergency it is good to have your pet’s medical files on hand
- Make sure their monthly treatments are in check, and that you have enough supplies in the truck (flea treatment etc)
- Climate control – each animal has their own level of healthy temperature, so make sure that is catered for with heaters, heat lamps or cooling
- Have a carrier for when you want to keep them contained while you finish a task, could be used as a make-shift bed for them to sleep in
Having a place to urinate when there is no pitstop is the hardest thing about having a dog in the cab. A tried and tested solution that most truckers use is putting a towel on the floor in front of the passengers seat, and covering it with news paper.
In terms of sleeping arrangements, smaller dogs can have a blanket or dog bed laid out on the floor of a cabinet. Larger dogs tend to sleep usually sleep with owner, otherwise if you have permission to (or if you own the truck) you can moved the passenger seat and set some bedding up there. It is really important that your dog gets plenty of exercise and time outside to properly go to the bathroom when possible though – most truck stops provide for this now, but make sure you have a scoop and some plastic bags handy to collect whatever your dog leaves.
Cats are a little more difficult than dogs, but with some initial training and getting used to the truck, they can make great travel companions. First up you will need to provide a litter box for your feline friend, you can use some velcro to secure it on the top bunk, or you can place it in the bottom cabinet or near your bed. Baking soda is a must to counteract the smell. Use a scoop once a day to take out the poop. You can also try training your cat to walk with a harness on, so that you can take them outside like a dog.
Rats, lizards, snakes etc
Any little animal that usually lives in an enclosed area will need a tidy and hygienic cage or terrarium with a good supply of food, water and toys.
Lizards and snakes usually need a special ultraviolet light to keep them warm (sold at pet stores), so you will need an inverter and a power strip to keep it in working order. Industrial strength velcro will need to be used to ensure that the terrarium or cage is secured properly.
Birds may not be the best choice to keep in a truck cab environment, as by nature they do like to fly around and see open space. However, if you do wish to bring your feathered friend along you will have to ensure that their wings are clipped. You will also need a good sized cage to be secured properly in a suitable location, like the top bunk using industrial strength velcro. A good supply of food and water is highly important, as well as having the base of the cage regularly changed. Stimulation and exercise is also highly critical, so make sure to give your bird lots of toys to pay with and let it fly inside the truck when you can.
There are many driving schools in Australia, who will provide you right information about the laws and things like what you can and what you can’t. Contact them before making your decision.