Moving long distance with your pets can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Having a cross-country trip with your best furry friend can be memorable and exciting, but it takes some amount of work to be able to enjoy the hours-long journey driving with your cat or dog. For starters, it takes servicing your car, ensuring your pet is comfortable with you, and ensuring you yourself are able to handle moving long distance with pets.
When moving long distance with your pets, chances are you’ve already made a solid decision to move and have a home set up on the other side of the state or country. However, it’s not just enough to have accommodations when leaving and packing up your apartment. Take time to plan out a solid trip with your pets, and save up enough money for the journey. Then, you can follow these 15 tips that will help you when moving long distance with pets. Enjoy the journey!
1. Buy Big Enough Kennels
Dogs and cats vary in personalities, colors, shapes, and most importantly sizes. It’s important to get your pet the very best kennel or crate that’s big enough to transport them during the process of moving long distance with pets. You might be wondering, is a kennel necessary? Can’t I just have my pooch or kitty sit on my lap or unrestrained the entire trip? Unfortunately, due to safety issues, some states and areas might not allow for a dog or cat to be openly out in the car without a kennel. Maine, Connecticut, and Massachusetts are among the states that have laws against having an unrestrained dog in your vehicle, especially if it’s in the bed of a truck. Your pets may spook for whatever reason, crawl onto your lap, and prevent you from appropriately reacting and having a good view of where you are driving. Because of this, make sure you buy a good quality, easily open and closable kennel. Fit your pet’s favorite bed, blankets, and toys in there, and allow them to have time to adjust to time inside a kennel.
2. Stock Up on Food and Water
Moving long distance with pets can be exhausting not just for your pooches, but also for you. If you have any medical conditions that require you to eat certain amounts of food or you are on a strict diet, make sure you have enough food and water for the trip. Snacks, a cooler, and pre-made lunches can all help you save on money during your trip. For your dogs, it’s important to consider any diets they are on, and adjust accordingly.
3. Stop at Parks
Moving long distance with pets can be an incredibly stressful experience for dogs and cats alike. Though your pets might sleep and be relaxed through the entire journey, this is more of a dream than a reality! Chances are your pets will be full of pent up energy, so it’s great to have time to get that energy out through exercise. It’s good for you, too! Staying active will keep your body limber and remove the need for medical care along the way. Stop at doggy parks along the way, or even plan a hike at a nature center on your way to your new home! However, you choose to do so, make sure you let your pets get out their extra energy and let them stretch their legs, preferably every 2-3 hours.
4. Have Working A/C
The journey to your new home with your pets can be one filled with changing temperatures, so getting auto a/c repair beforehand is crucial for comfort and safety. Both dogs and cats can overheat quickly due to their being covered in heavy fur. What’s more, dogs and cats stuck in a crate can overheat even quicker. Though you might be able to feel the air-conditioner or heater directly on you, your pets in the backseat might not be so lucky. Ensure that your a/c is working in all parts of your vehicle, including where your pets will be for the ride, and make sure enough cool air is flowing in your vehicle adequately.
5. Tune-Up Your Car
A cross-country journey in your own car presents in own issues, let along moving long distance with pets. Before making any kind of journey, it’s important to get your vehicle all the tune-ups and services it needs in order to make your journey less dangerous. Worn out tires, damaged wheel alignment, lack of oil and other fluids could all pose a fatal danger while driving on the road. Your car dealer can be a great source to give your vehicle all the maintenance it needs before a trip. During the trip, make sure to also keep relevant information on you such as registration and insurance. In addition, using apps such as Groupon can also save you money on routine maintenance such as tire rotations and oil changes before your big move. Take advantage of these services, and ensure both you and your pets are safe for the road ahead.
6. Get Your Pet Adjusted
Having a pet be adjusted to a kennel, constant movers, a car, or even simply moving out the house can all be difficult challenges you must face before moving long distance with pets. This is especially true if, for instance, you have cats that are used to staying at home, a dog that simply refuses to get in the car out of fear, or a dog that is hostile towards movers and outsiders. If you know you’re planning on moving, it’s important to get proper training and help months in advance in order to have your pet be comfortable in this long-move situation. Treats, training, and love and support should be given to your pet while they learn to be accommodated to the changes happening in their life. The last thing you need is to have to hire a dog bite injury lawyer because your pooch has stressed and bit a mover, so be prepared for months of training ahead.
7. Consider Anti-Anxiety Treatment
Moving to a new location can take a toll on anyone, including pets. Though you might be moving for a happy reason, such as getting accepted to a new job or school, other reasons such as divorce after meeting with your attorney at law can be less joyous, and can even reflect in your pets. Changes in a family, new scenery, and new roads can all be damaging to your pets and cause them anxiety. Consider anti-anxiety treatments, such as training, medication, anxiety vests, or calming sprays to help your pets adjust better to their new life.
8. Locate Veterinary Hospitals
When planning your long road trip, ensure you have a way to find the closes emergency veterinary service to help your pet should any problems arise. You don’t have to pinpoint every vet hospital on a map, but ensure you know how to use sites such as Yelp and Google Maps to help you route to the nearest hospital. Overheating, allergic reactions, or pre-existing medical conditions in your pet could all cause an issue during your move. Don’t take a chance, and stay prepared by knowing where veterinary hospitals are located.
9. Bring All Medication/Treatments
Just like you wouldn’t forget your medication if planning a long move, moving long distance with pets is no different. It’s important to remember to bring all of your pet’s medication along with them, and consider asking for extra medication ahead of time while you adjust to your new city or town. Flea treatments, heartworm chews, pain relievers, and antibiotics are all crucial to a pet’s health and recovery, and should not be left behind during the long move.
10. Buy a Dashcam
On your journey cross-country, chances are you’ll encounter more than a few bad drivers. Investing in a dashcam can be a great way to prove your innocence and help you and your auto accident attorney receive compensation after an accident. Though a driver might accuse you of being distracted with your unrestrained dog or cat, a dashcam can help you prove otherwise and save you money and time on a frivolous accident claim. Don’t take a chance, and invest in a good quality dashcam to protect both you and your precious pets.
11. Tint Your Windows
The summer heat can be a bummer not only to you, but also your pet. Getting window tinting services can help keep harmful sun-rays out of your pet’s eyes, as well as help you get rid of glare during your journey to your new home. Tinting also serves to keep your call cool, provide extra privacy, and help your pet be less stimulated to the outside world while riding in your car.
12. Ensure All Locks Are Working
Unfortunately, moving long distance with pets can be somewhat dangerous while on the road. Carjackings are incredibly common and can be heightened especially if a robber sees your belongings waiting in the backseat of your vehicle. Consulting the help of automotive repair services to fix your car locks, child safety locks, and windows can also help keep your dog safe. You don’t want to be driving down the road when suddenly your pooch escapes from an unlocked door! Getting your locks and all other small issues fixed ahead of your journey can help save you the headache of trying to catch your escaped pets later on.
13. Buy Appropriate Collars and Tags
In the event that your pet does escape, you’ll want to make sure they are adequately equipped with collars and tags to help them find their way back home. Put your phone number, e-mail, or any other relevant information on your dog or cat’s tag, at least for the duration of the move. Make sure your pet is micro-chipped in case they are found by animal services and taken to a shelter. Moving long distance with pets presents lots of opportunities for pets to escape, including at pit stops, hotels, during their time at the park, and so on. It’s, therefore, crucial to be prepared if they do!
14. Check with Local Mandates
Though you and your pet might have built up a loving bond despite their breed getting a bad reputation, not all states and installations will view your friendship the same way. The NYC public housing authority, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and all U.S. military bases, for example, ban the owning of pit bulls. This ban applies in other areas to Dobermans and rottweilers as well. Unfortunately, you will need to get in contact with the appropriate local authorities and check local mandates before moving permanently and taking your best friend with you.
15. Call-Ahead for Pet Accommodation
Hotels, AirBnB’s, your aunt’s house, and any other accommodations you make should all be willing to accommodate your pet as well. Though there are strict ADA laws protecting your right to take a service dog with you, this is different for comfort animals, therapy dogs, and pets in general. It’s important to call ahead and check with your accommodations along the way, and make sure they allow pets within their building. Consider, also, whether your pet will be comfortable in the place you are staying, if it will be easy to get them to use the bathroom from that location, and other accommodations your pet itself might need.
Get Ready for the Journey
If you’re one of the estimated 78 million dog owners in the United States, and you’re planning on moving long distance with pets, take the time to conduct a little research before doing so. This trip should be as much about them as it is about you! The journey to your new home can be one filled with great memories, great pictures, and touching bonds along the way.