What you need to know about pets in trucks

Driving for long hours, especially OTR, could often get lonesome. Even couples driving together or team driving pairs would prefer to brighten their lengthy hauls with a truthful companion – their pet. Your four-legged friend will require some extra preparations and arrangements, but it will be worth it. Without a doubt, having your pet on board could sink your stress levels. Furthermore, it will keep you occupied when stuck in traffic or on your breaks. Many truck drivers admit that having their pet on their truck actually compels them to stop more often to stretch their legs and walk their dogs than they would if they traveled without their trusted companion. And we all know what one of the leading problems for CDL drivers is – not enough movement. So pets will keep you happier and healthier altogether, at the price of some preparation prior to beginning your haul.

So what is stopping you from bringing your pet along?

The FMCSA has not prohibited the keeping of pets in commercial hauling vehicles as long as they don’t distract you while driving or endanger the ride and the traffic environment.
There are many companies which allow pets on board – usually dogs, some would let cats and other pets as well, it is a matter of settlement with your trucking company as long as they generally allow pets. Take notice that many regional and local routes will prohibit you from taking your four-legged friend on board your freighter. Additionally, there are many companies which allow only owner-operators to bring a pet. To be sure check with your trucking company’s policy.

What should you do before taking your pet to your truck with you

There are some preparations you will need to do before taking your pet on board with you. They are different, yet similar depending on whether you bring a dog or a cat along. What applies to both is – you will need a Health Certificate or more specifically – a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). This certificate needs to be issued by a USDA-recognized veterinarian from the state of origin in the last 30 days . The Health Certificate would serve as an attest that your pet is healthy and of no threat to carry or spread diseases. There are different state regulations regarding the requirements for companion animals. You should check this list prior to commencing your travel. Even if you are “just passing” – many of these states demand the necessary documents and attests for your pet’s well-being. Additionally, you might need to show an official vaccination certificate for at least rabies.

Further preparations for both cats and dogs inside trucks include:

  • setting up a comfortable and safe place for your pet
  • obstruction of the access to the driver’s seat, particularly the pedals
  • setting all endangering goods (such as sharp objects, medications or any poisonous liquids) away from your pet’s approach
  • keeping enough food and water for your pet (also enough extra food, in case of delays or congestion)
  • setting up especially designated pet bowls for both water and food
  • designing a collar with name and address, in case your pet gets lost
  • keeping a couple of extra blankets if the temperatures drop
  • loading yourself with extra air fresheners, scented wet wipes, and extra pet waste bags
  • taking enough toys for your pet
  • bringing a pet crate, because even though most transportation companies may allow you to carry your pet with you inside the truck – they do not allow any pets inside their or a customer’s premises.
  • preparing a list of veterinary clinics along your haul, in case of an emergency

Some precautions when taking a dog in a CDL truck:

  1. Bring a leash – dogs might occasionally panic due to vehicle noise when outside the freighter. We advise you always have your dog leashed while taking it outside to avoid any danger.
  2. Bring some extra chewable snacks. We all know dogs like to chew when bored or “just because”, so don’t allow yourself to run out of any chewables.
  3. Take your time to train your dog not to come near your driver’s area, especially clutch and breaks.
  4. Plan ahead your driving time and stops – you will need to break often enough to walk your dog.

In that manner, keep in mind that most trucking companies allow dogs up to 50 lbs in size. Some allow only smaller breeds – up to 25lbs. Any lazy or older dog in that size range is perfect to accompany you inside your truck. We would not advise you to bring along a young dog or a puppy unless you are absolutely certain that you can make the extra effort to stop for walks. Young dogs are very energetic so letting them sit all day without the opportunity to “run it off” could be nearly a torture for them.

Also, please note that all companies which permit pets on board of a freighter will demand a deposit of $500 – $2500, which will be used for any damage and additional cleaning your pet causes the vehicle.

What to be aware of when taking a cat in your truck:

  1. The most crucial point – make sure your cat is fine with any vehicle rides, and mainly riding in your freighter with you. Many cats dislike it and get very stressed about all kinds of car rides. Do a couple of test runs with your cat before you take it with you.
  2. Get a cat scratching post. It is impossible for cats to spend their time without sinking their claws into something – and it better be that scratching post rather than the passenger seat, or wave your deposit “Bye, bye!”
  3. Bring a litter box (duh, we know that you know) as well as extra scoopable litter than you usually need, just in case. Also, be ready to clean it every couple of days, as you would want to keep your truck hygienic, and not to mention the stink it could cause if left untouched for a longer period.

If you choose CDL Advisor, our cutting-edge software will match you with CDL driving positions offered by companies which allow pets in the truck. So if you want to take your furry best friend on board – don’t miss on disclosing this information to us, since our priority is to meet your exact needs when searching for your dream truck job.


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