Should You Drive with a Pet Rider?

Driving across the U.S. all by yourself can be an isolating experience without someone to keep you company. Keeping in touch with family and friends is easier than ever today with new technology, but nothing beats having a loved one by your side. Fortunately, there are many trucking companies out there that allow riders and pets to keep you company!

While bringing a spouse or child along for the ride sounds like a fun idea, this can be difficult to arrange around work and school schedules (be sure to check out our blog about OTR trucking with family here). Bringing along your furry friend seems like the perfect solution – however, there are factors to consider before you invite a pet on your truck. We’re outlining some pros and cons of having a pet rider so you can decide whether or not you’d like to take advantage of your company’s rider policy.

Pros of Having a Pet Rider

  • Company: This is probably the biggest benefit for most. Being accompanied by a pet allows you to bring a little piece of home with you on the road and gives you something to focus on when you’re not behind the wheel.
  • Improved physical health: Owning a pet has been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. It also provides you with more opportunities to exercise if you bring a dog, as they will need to be taken for a walk often.
  • Improved mental health: Besides the physical benefits, owning a pet has been proven to help with stress, bring you joy, and improve your overall mental health.
  • Increased security: If you always have your pet in the truck, it can serve as a great deterrent for thieves who might otherwise target a truck. Dogs will bark if they see someone they don’t recognize, and even cats can make someone think twice about messing with your vehicle.
  • Chances to socialize: Nothing breaks the ice like a cute pet! Taking your dog out around a truck stop will give you additional opportunities to strike up conversations with those around you. Plus, you have someone to talk to while you’re on the road (it’s okay to admit it, we all do it).

Cons of Having a Pet Rider

  • Limited space: The cab of a sleeper truck is not renowned for its space. It’s difficult as is to fit belongings in a place that makes sense, and a pet plus pet supplies could make your space feel more cramped than usual.
  • Finding a place to stop: While many truck stops are pet-friendly, not all truck stops will allow pets on their premises. This means you’ll have to do extra research to figure out which stops are pet-friendly and can potentially limit your options.
  • Increased expenses: Just as if you were at home, the cost of pet food and supplies can really add up, especially if you’re starting from scratch. You’ll also need to budget for any trips to the vet that might occur while your pet is riding with you.
  • Maintenance: When you’re constantly moving around, it can be difficult to find times to schedule appointments for your pet, whether it’s for a routine groom or a check-up at the vet.
  • Safety concerns: Pets can sometimes serve as a distraction when you’re driving – this may or may not be a huge issue depending on your pet. Going in and out of a truck can also give your pet a chance to escape if you’re not careful.

Getting a pet can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it also requires a lot of responsibility. Be sure to do plenty of research and reflect on your own experiences to determine if bringing a pet is a good decision. If you want to learn more about the rider and pet policy at Melton or want to know the other benefits we provide for our drivers, view our pet rider program information on our benefits page.

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