A dog can make the best co-pilot for your time on the road. Many studies have shown the health benefits of owning a pet, such as longer life spans, lower cholesterol levels, reduced hypertension and a lower risk of depression. There’s also a lot of benefits for your pup, particularly if the alternative is being separated from you while you’re working. Before you head out on the road with your dog, there are several things you need to consider:

1. Sleep and rest
When it comes to sleep, it’s important to ensure your dog has a comfortable, warm place to snooze. You can use soft towels or blankets in their kennel to create a pet bed for them. During the day, you’ll need to keep your dog secure while you’re driving. Just like wearing your own seatbelt, properly restraining your dog will keep them from getting seriously injured if you need to stop suddenly. You have several options, including using their crate or a harness safety belt. If possible, your dog should stay in the back or on the floor. An airbag can be harmful, even if your dog is crated.

2. Food and water
Having food and water on hand for your dog seems obvious, but it’s also extremely important. Make sure you have enough of both for your trip. If you run out of food, you don’t know where you’ll be or if you’ll be able to find a store that has the kind of food you need. Get a spill-free water bowl so your dog can get a drink when they need it.

3. Pet health care
Just like you should be checking in with your own doctor, your dog needs to visit the vet regularly too. You may also want to consider purchasing pet insurance. Emergency medical care for a pet can get expensive and trucking with your dog adds additional injury risks. Since your job has you traveling a lot, keep a copy of your dog’s medical history and vaccination records in the truck in case your pet has an emergency while you’re on a trip. It’s also a good idea to ask your vet about additional medication or vaccinations they recommend for pets traveling through different regions and climates.

4. Playtime and stops
Your truck doesn’t offer a lot of room for your dog to stretch out, especially since they need to be restrained while you’re driving. It’s important that you make frequent stops to let your dog have a potty break, play and get some exercise. Have a leash or harness available for these stops, bring along their favorite toys and don’t forget to carry waste bags to clean up after them.

5. Have their ID
Sometimes things happen and dogs get separated from their owners. Make sure you have collars and ID tags on your dog. Having them chipped is helpful as well. The more ways someone can ID your pet, the easier it will be to return them home to you if your dog gets lost.

6. Be temperature aware
A dog getting too hot or too cold can be dangerous. Make sure they’re warm enough in the winter and cool enough in the summer. Don’t leave your dog behind in the truck without running air conditioning or heat.

7. Check your company’s pet policy
Before you plan to take your pup on the road, make sure you check your company’s pet policy. Some companies don’t have one at all and others have restrictions over the size or breed you can bring with you. Here at Carter, we welcome all dogs under 30 pounds.

Do you travel with your dog? Tag us on social media in your photos of you and your dog on the road!