can truck drivers bring their dog

Can Truck Drivers Bring Their Dog? A Few Things To Think About

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The life of a trucker can be a lonely one at times. Having a dog with you can offer a bit of companionship, fun  and rewarding. But are truckers allowed to bring their dogs with them?

The road stretches far into the distance, gray tarmac reaching on, a dull arm stretching on into the horizon. Your journey has several more lonely hours left, with nothing but some low-quality rock radio and your own thoughts.

Boring.

Imagine if the next part of this story involved you looking down into the happy, contented eyes of man’s best friend. 

Can Truck Drivers Bring Their Dog?

So, can truckers bring their dogs with them? In short – normally yes. It is dependent on a few different factors, including your trucking company and the type of insurance they provide, but lots of companies do allow pets on board (as long as a few precautions are taken before the journey).

Dogs are an excellent source of companionship – it is no coincidence that they are called man’s best friend! It makes sense then that truckers would want to know if they can take a dog with them on the long, arduous journeys they have to undertake regularly. 

If you want to find out what companies allow you to take your dogs with you, the best dogs for life on the road, some top tips for pet-proofing your truck and what other pets might be suitable for trucking – carry on reading and find out the answer to the question: can truck drivers bring their dog?

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What Trucking Companies Allow Dogs?

In this first section, I’m going to let you know what trucking companies actually allow dogs. 

A lot of these companies offer pet travel with a very particular set of precautions, deposits, or guarantees in place to secure the vehicles the companies provide. 

After the list, we’ll include a general overview of some the common rules that a lot of different companies tend to include – ranges of deposit price, specifications for types of pet and other things like that. 

List of trucking companies that allow dogs:

•    Abilene Motor Express

•    Andrus Transportation

•    Arnold Transportation

•    Boyle Transportation

•    Burton Transport, Inc.

•    Butler Transport

•    CalArk

•    Celadon Group

•    Con-Way Truckload/XPO

•    Covenant Transport

•    Crete Carriers

•    Earl Henderson

•    Giltner, Inc.

•    H R Transport

•    Halvor Lines

•    Heyl Truck Lines

•    H.O. Wolding

•    H  M Trucking

•    Hogan Transport

•    Interstate Distributor Co.

•    J.B. Hunt

•    Jim Palmer Trucking

•    J.S. Helwig ; Sons

•    Knight Transportation

•    Koch Trucking

•    LTI Trucking Services

•    May Trucking Company

•    Melton Truck Lines

•    Mesilla Valley Transport

•    Miller Truck Lines

•    Navajo Express

•    National Carriers

•    Ozark Motor Lines

•    P S Transportation

•    PAM Transport

•    Paper Transport, Inc.

•    Paschall Truck Lines (PTL)

•    Paul Transportation

•    Pride Transport

•    Prime, Inc.

•    Quest Global, Inc.

•    RBX, Inc.

•    R.E. Garrison

•    Roehl Transport

•    Shaffer Trucking

•    Southern Refrigerated Transport

•    Stevens Transport

•    SuperService

•    Swift Transportation

•    Titan Transfer

•    Total Transportation

•    Transport America

•    United Road

•    U.S. Xpress

•    USA Truck

•    Watkins-Shepard

•    WEL Companies

•    Werner Enterprise

•    Western Express

•    West Side Transport

•    Wil-Trans Trucking

•    XPO Logistics

What do companies normally require for dogs to go in a truck?

The majority of these companies do not just allow pets without any guarantees in place. There are several things companies usually require, such as the following:

  • A deposit dependent on animal size. 
    • These deposits tend to range from 200 dollars up to 750 dollars, with one company charging up to $1000 as a deposit for large pets.
    • These deposits can change in price if the pet is counted as a small or large pet.
    • It is also always worth checking specific rules and regulations that different trucking companies have with regards to this, as some the deposits are entirely non-refundable – our little furry friends can get awfully expensive on the road!
  • A weight limit on pets.
    • Generally the lower end of the weight limit is 20lbs, but it tends more towards 50lbs as the average upper weight limit.
    • Some companies will only allow for small dogs, like Jack Russels, but disallows larger creatures like Labradors.
  • The declawing of certain pets (most commonly cats).
  • A guarantee that any damage from pets is taken from the driver’s wages.
    • Companies will also commonly include a clause regarding the animal having to stay inside the vehicle when the truck is on company or client property. 

It is also worth noting that there are a few companies that do not have these same potentially restrictive requirements. This might be useful for the prospective trucker who does not want to be spending as many dollars as some companies require to have some pet companionship!

These companies do not require extra charges for pets: JS Helwig and Sons; Jim Palmer Trucking and P;S Transport. It is always nice to see a company that trusts the truckers in its fleet to handle their pets responsibly.

Best Dogs For Life On The Road

Now we have got through the more mundane rundown of different trucking companies and their pet policies, we can look at the more fun stuff. 

What dogs are best for living on the road? Which cute critter do you want with you on your huge trawls to different locales across the country? 

Some general qualities you want to be looking for in a trucking canine companion:

  • Easy to train. 
  • Lack of hair shedding.
  • Mild temper.
  • Small to medium size.
  • Lower energy animals that do not require lots of exercise.

Considering all of these factors, a smaller medium size dog with easy training and short hair would be best for a trucking companion – one content with smaller levels of exercise that is less likely to be boisterous. 

As such, I would recommend a furry friend like a bulldog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or a Jack Russell Terrier. I can vouch for Jack myself (a friend used to have one), while they can be very active dogs they normally only require one half an hour walk a day, or one much longer walk every couple of days. If you try to walk Jacks for more than that they get very tired and stubborn!

If you do invest in some kind of terrier as a truck companion, I would recommend a short-haired variety, as otherwise your passenger seat will be very hairy in the summer months!

There are further tips and tricks in the next section of this article that might help with other common canine conundrums you might encounter on the road!

Tips For Trucking With A Dog

Here is a list of a few things to remember when you are trucking with a dog!

  • Make sure your pet is fully and excellently house trained before you set off. 
    • Making sure your dog understands when and where to go to the toilet, when and when not to bark and what it can and cannot chew on can save you a lot of time, bad smells and deposit money in the long run! 
    • If you are struggling to train your pet, it worth investing in some proper training for your pup before you set off – the price of the training will definitely be less than the very high damage deposits and costs in a truck. 
  • Make sure you stop slightly more often to allow the dog to stretch its legs and go to the toilet.
    • Humans are able to power through a bit of stiffness and the need to go to the toilet – dogs do not have quite the same scruples!
    • Not only are toilet breaks important but a dog that gets a chance to run around for a little bit or satisfy its sniffing curiosity on your terms will be a lot less boisterous on your journey. 
  • Consider training your dog with truck-specific commands, such as getting back into its seat or staying up in the cabin when you leave briefly. 
  • Bring plenty of water with you – your pet can be much more sensitive to heat than you might expect!

Tips To Pet-Proof Your Truck

Not only should you train your pet to conduct itself well around your vehicle, but you should also consider spending a bit of time outfitting your truck to make sure it is suitable for your dog of choice. 

As always, make certain you have checked with your trucking company before fixing any kind of modification to a truck that is not yours.

A few handy tips for pet proofing!

  • Make sure you have a water bowl (or some other kind of container) for your pet to have constant water access if they need it.
  • Place down a towel, or some other kind of covering over the passenger seat your dog normally sits in.
    • Sometimes even plastic covering underneath this towel is useful in case of any toilet accidents from your pup!
    • This will help prevent dog hairs getting too spread out onto the actual upholstery.
  • Have a treat bag kept on your side of the car, so you can reward the dog for good behavior but so it cannot gorge on treats constantly. 
  • Keep a leash handy for if you need to make sure a dog stays the cabin.
  • Never leave your dog in the car with all the windows fully up! Especially on hot days, this can be a death sentence for some pups.
semi trucks parked at dock

What Other Pets Do Truckers Have On The Road?

In the earlier section, we discussed different precautions trucking companies take if you want to take a pet in the truck with you. While some companies specify that only dogs or cats can be brought on board, a majority only discuss the pet size, not necessarily the species.

Here is a list of some other good picks for truck animal companionship, along with a brief consideration of their pros and cons.

  • Cats – these feline friends can be very loyal (unlike some people claim), and their ability to relax and sleep during the day makes them a great truck pet. Having a pet cat in a semi truck is not as bad as some make it out to be.
    • Pros: lounging, affectionate cats are often content to sleep for hours in the day, and can be more hands off than dogs.
    • Cons: cats often love to explore at night, so either will become restless in trucks overnight or may wander off for a tad too long if let outside. 
  • Ferrets or weasels – fiercely loyal, low maintenance, and friendly, these critters can be great truck pets if nurtured properly.
    • Pros: usually small, short haired, and easy to handle.
    • Cons: can be restless, and smelly if not groomed often.
  • Birds like parrots – incredibly entertaining and intelligent, some birds can be great truck companions.
    • Pros: sharp beaks and claws make for effective guard dogs.
    • Cons: some birds require a lot of flight freedom, which is potentially difficult for truckers to accommodate

Are there DOT Rules for Pets?

Currently FMCSA has no established rules on whether or not truck drivers can bring their pets with them, and aren’t likely to issue any rules on the subject.

That being said, if your waved in for an inspection, have a plan for your pet. 

Officers will need access to the cab to perform inspections, so you’ll need a way to keep everyone safe during the inspection.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a lot of trucking companies have allowances for pets within their vehicles, with approximately 35 – 40% of rigs accommodating pet owning truckers. Of these various pets, dogs are among the most popular, so the answer to the question “can truck drivers bring their dog?” is a resounding yes

Not only are pets allowed in trucks, but they could well be an incredible way to combat loneliness along particularly long routes. 

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