It seems to be one of those driver issues that you’re either for it or against it. Having a pet in the cab for some is like breathing - they can’t log the miles without the companionship. Yet for others, it’s inconceivable to have an animal in the truck with them due to the time and effort that goes in to taking proper care of them. There are pros and cons, of course, but it comes down to personal choice, and knowing the ins and outs of caring for a pet on the road.
The old movies and TV shows made it seem easy- the Snowman had Fred, BJ had the Bear, and Clint Eastwood had Clyde. But animals need to be taken care of, fed and walked… and cleaned up after. For many drivers, this is second nature to having a cat or dog in the cab with them on long trips. The practice takes some getting used to, as well as some training, but it is possible.
The larger the animal, the more care it will need in the form of frequent stops for exercise. To take it a step further, a well-trained dog can be let loose at a rest stop for a bit of running around, but a cat… it could be a tough life for a feline. However, a cat with the right temperament can survive a pampered life on the road with proper consideration. Having things such as a bed for them to spend quiet time in, free access to the sleeper cab, as well as small, dangling toys hanging from the walls to play with, is a step in the right direction.
The higher up on the food chain a pet is, the more frequent it will have to go to the bathroom. A dog in the cab will need to be well trained to wait until your rest stops, but a cat will need something a bit more timely. This means keeping a litter box handy, and that can be smelly when in close quarters, even if it is well cleaned after every use.
As pets get older, their bladders become weaker and controlling accidents can be more difficult. If you are considering keeping your pet with you on the road, be aware that accidents may well happen. You should also realize that pulling over to clean up can take away precious time from your delivery schedule.
Cats and dogs, because they are of a higher intellect than other animals, need emotional contact in order to be happy. Just having them with you is a start, but they also require you to speak with them, scratch them behind the ears, pet them… all the things that make having an animal worthwhile.
If you’re bringing one on the road, be sure to keep them happy and healthy. That way, you’ll be feeding into your own happiness by having a furry companion share your ride.