Life as an over-the-road (OTR) trucker is exciting, but it can also get lonely. You spend long periods of time out on the open road and away from home. One perk is that this is one of the few careers where you can bring a pet along with you every day on the job. Many truckers find that having a furry friend in the cab to keep them company is great for their mental wellbeing. If you don’t already have a pet but are considering getting one to bring OTR, you may be debating whether a cat or a dog is better suited to a trucking lifestyle. At the end of the day, the decision of which is better comes down to personal preference, but this article includes some of the pros and cons that can help you make your decision.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Any OTR Pet
No matter what type of pet you bring with you on the road, the biggest benefit is, of course, the affection and companionship pets provide. If you’ve had pets before at any point in your life, you know how wonderful it can be to spend time with them. Having one in your semi-truck during OTR routes can make you feel more at home.
The biggest thing to consider is that any type of pet requires work, and this work increases when you are dealing with the logistics of traveling with it in a semi-truck. You’ll need to talk to your vet, make a plan for any emergencies, and find space for pet supplies in your cab.
Pro – Can Guard Your Truck
Having a dog on your truck can be a great way to deter thieves. Although you should be mindful of the available space and choose a medium or small breed, even a small dog can bark and alert you to someone who is getting too close to your vehicle.
Pro/Con – Need to Do Their Business Outside of the Truck
This is both a pro and a con depending on how you look at it. When you take a dog OTR, you’ll need to plan to stop regularly to let your dog out for exercise and to relieve itself. The negative part of this is that it adds another step to your trip planning and takes extra time. However, it also means you’ll be more active, and this is one of the reasons why truckers with dogs are often healthier.
Another positive part of this is that aside from any accidents, your dog will be doing their business outside of the truck. This means that you generally don’t have to deal with the waste being in your living space. Still, be sure you have cleaning supplies on hand just so you’re ready if any accidents do occur.
Con – Some Breeds Require More Activity/Space
Depending on the breed you choose, and on the individual personality of the dog, it may require more space than you can provide in a semi-truck. If you’re getting a dog specifically to take it OTR, you should have a backup plan in case they don’t like the trucking lifestyle and prefer to have more space to run around.
Pro – Often Require Less Activity/Space
You’ll need to dedicate some space in your truck for toys and scratchers for your cat, plus its litter box. That being said, the overall space a cat will take up is often less than a dog, even considering these items. Cats also don’t typically require the same amount of activity as dogs as long as they have toys to keep themselves entertained. However, this will depend on the cat, so make sure you know the personality of your pet. A cat that is content to relax and lounge will probably adapt better to the trucking life than one who loves to chase toys all day.
Pro/Con – Don’t Typically Leave the Truck
While you can theoretically leash train a cat, most don’t go out on a leash, and so the safest option is to keep your pet in the truck. Even if the cat does go out on a leash, you can’t typically rely on it to do its business outside of the truck regularly. This means that if you take a cat OTR, you’ll need to make sure you clean its litter box regularly to keep the smell under control. A positive side of this is that you won’t need to plan your stops around the cat’s need to relieve itself.
Con – Not Usually As Trainable As Dogs
We can’t say for sure that no one has ever trained a cat, but they don’t typically respond as well to training as dogs. You may be able to do a bit of training (such as getting your cat to use a leash) but a cat will, for the most part, do what it wants when it wants. When you’re on the road, this can be a safety concern if your cat gets out of the truck since you may have a hard time teaching it to come when called. This means that you should have a plan and keep a collar on your cat just in case. If you do want to let them out of the truck to explore, having a leash they’re willing to wear is a safer way to do this.
A Pet-Friendly Trucking Company
DSW is a pet-friendly trucking company and we would love to have you and your furry friend join our team. We are currently hiring for OTR and regional drivers.