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I am getting ready to go live on a semi-truck with my boyfriend and am taking my 1 year old Chihuahua with me. We will be on the truck for at least a year. Any ideas to keep my Chihuahua happy and healthy?
By darlene from Minneapolis, KS
When I was growing up our family did a lot of traveling with 2 miniature poodles. My suggestion is that you walk him daily for at least 30 - 45 minutes. & that you buy a corkscrew stake & a 20 foot thin cable & a harness & stop at rest stops & parks & let him out to run around safely while you barbecue or picnic. On top of that you'll have to stop for potty breaks every couple of hours too. If he gets a long walk every day it will help him behave & not go stir crazy. Always keep him on a leash so he won't get hit by a car or truck.
He needs his own small bed so he has a safe place to go to & it might help if it has a cover over it for privacy. You should make sure he has enough air by plugging in a 12 volt fan that circulates air around the sleeper cabin. I don't usually suggest this, but just in case he gets away you might want to have him chipped so you can be found. At least have your cell phone number & his name engraved on a tag attached to his collar! Be sure your cell phone works nation wide. This way you can be found if your little guy escapes. Make sure your truck is not hot inside when you have to leave him in it while going into a restaurant & keep him well hydrated.
Feed him his meals at the same time each day (about 12 hour apart, like 10:AM & 10:PM) Animals like regular time tables. If he eats right before you put him down for sleep each night, he may sleep better (this is what works for our cat). Also, don't over-feed him because he can get fat pretty easily, it's better if he has 3 small meals than one large one... Make sure he gets regular exercise! If he's a good boy, give him love or playtime instead of food treats. Lastly, before you leave, be sure he doesn't get motion sickness!
Cyndia had some great suggestions----for traveling in an RV! But traveling in a tractor trailer is a whole different world! My husband is a trucker and I used to ride with him, and always took our Dachshund with us. So I have lots of experience here! LOL
First of let me say that I'm glad you're taking a Chi and not a big dog. Many truckers have big dogs in their trucks but it is no place for a big one. There just isn't enough room for them. But your Chi will do fine.
I would suggest that you put some netting across the bunk so that he can't get off it. Make sure it's high enough that he can't jump over it and the netting is small enough that he can't squeeze thru it. Good strong tension rods work great for this. You can weave the rods (one top one bottom) thru the netting and put them up tight. Then at nite just take them down and tuck them in behind the jump seat out of the way. Also bring along 3 or 4 toys that he really loves for him to play with, and some rawhides or whatever chew things you normally give him. And if he has his own blanket or small bed, bring it too. IF it's real small.
Does your boyfriend's truck have an upper bunk? If so that would be a perfect place to store things, thereby leaving more room on the bottom bunk for you, him and the dog. Also more room on the floor too.
Go ahead and keep to your normal feeding schedule with him, but in the beginning only give him a little at a time until he gets used to the constant noise and vibrations of the truck. But always keep a small amount (in a larger bowl!) of water down, but make sure it's in a place where it won't get tripped over.
Very important! Make sure his shots are up to date and you have copies of his shot records! I have had inspection stations ask to see them. That's not often, but you don't want to be out in Timbuktu, AZ and be told by the Inspection Station that the dog has to come out because you don't have proof of his shots.
Also make sure your collar and leash are very sturdy. Fasten them together and give them a good hard yank. You don't want them coming unfastened as you're walking across a truck stop!
I don't know if you've ever ridden with your boyfriend or not, but living in a truck is very different from living in an RV. For one thing, he won't be able to stop whenever you might need him to. There are many places trucks can't pull into. Plus he'll be on a time frame with his pickups and deliveries. So you'll have to get used to keeping clothes handy for wee-hour of hte morning trips inside the truck stop for bathroom breaks, and going to the bathroom every time he stops because he may not be able to stop again for several hours! And taking the dog for quick "pee-breaks" too every time.
Also, keep a good sweater or coat in the truck for him---even in summer. Also one for yourself. You never know where he'll be from one day to the next and you just might wind up someplace where you'll be glad you have it! Especially in the middle of the nite for those potty breaks.
Another thing. It's not so bad in truck stops usually. You'll get to where you can tell if it's a fairly safe one for you to walk around by yourself. But under no circumstances should you ever get out of that truck in a rest area without your boyfriend going with you! Those are very dangerous places at night. Daytime is ok, but never, ever at night!
When do you plan on going with him? You'll have a lot of fun if you let yourself. It's a hard life, but it can be an experience you'll never forget.
You could be a lot of help to him if you learn to read a Trucker's atlas. They are a little different than a regular one because you have to watch for low clearances, truck routes, roads that trucks aren't allowed on, things like that. He can show you.
I'd love to hear from you on how it goes. Have fun! And take care of that little chihuahua too!
Write to me at Cricketnc52 AT aol.com and I'd be happy to give you any more advice I can.
Back last year on vacation I saw a semi truck at a rest stop and on the side(door) of his truck he had his dog's name and the type of dog. My brother who drives a semi said this was to let people now he had a dog in case he was in a wreck and could not talk.
A trucker used to stop regularly with his Rottie pup at a large parking lot. He and the pup would run the length of the lot ( a goodly distance) and back. He'd have a coffee and then the two would run again before getting back in. When I got a chance to talk to him he said he did this every chance he got. He cooked his own meals on a small camp stove so the pup was free to move about. He said he was doing this for his own health and the pup was nice company. Said he'd lost over 50 lbs since getting the pup.