How to Move Long Distance with Pets

Whether you’re moving a few miles down the road or to a new city, packing up your entire home and starting over in a new place can feel overwhelming. Add a long-distance relocation and pets to the mix, and a stress-free moving experience might seem impossible. If the idea of moving with pets fills you with dread, read on for insights on how to make the trip as comfortable as possible for both you and your beloved fur babies.

Get Your Vet on Board

A black and white dog sticks its head out of the car window during a drive through the mountains

The first thing you want to do before you move is get in touch with your vet. Ask for copies of health records as well as proof that your pet is up-to-date on any vaccinations. You need to take this information to your new vet, and it can also be useful if you plan to stay overnight in a pet-friendly hotel on your way to your new home.

You may also want to talk to your vet about the option to sedate your pet during the trip. Erin Rea Lewis, a former vet technician at East Louisville Animal Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, explains, “”There are over-the-counter options, from herbal supplements to Benadryl, as well as more powerful prescription medications. Your veterinarian will work with you to decide what’s best for your pet.”” Remember to always talk to your veterinarian before administering any medication.

Another thing to consider is car sickness. “”A lot of people aren’t aware that some pets get motion sickness just like we do,”” says Lewis. “”It can make for a long, miserable traveling experience. Talk to your vet about a dosage of Dramamine.””

What to Pack

A tabby cat naps on the carpet of its new home after a move

Sedation aside, there are other steps you can take to help ensure your pet has a trip with minimal stress. Pack an overnight kit for your pet in your vehicle, as you may become separated from a moving truck or other travelers. This kit should include your pet’s bed, food, a favorite toy, and any medication required. For a dog, bring your regular leash and a spare.

“”Traveling with pets, especially dogs, is like traveling with young children,”” Lewis says, so it’s important to budget extra time for bathroom stops.

You may also be wondering how to travel with cats in a car long distance. For your feline friends, your kit should include a portable litter box. These are typically made of collapsible canvas and zip closures so they’re travel friendly without taking up too much space.

Keep the Car Cozy

A multi-colored dog looks out the window of a train during ground transportation

Next, consider how you’ll arrange your vehicle. A comfortable, safe place for your pet to lay or sleep is important. “”Dogs tend to need a lot of human touch,”” Lewis says. “”If you can situate your dog to be close to you so they can be reached for a pat, it can make all the difference.”” If you’re traveling with a cat, place the carrier where he can see you, if possible.

Lewis also offers pet owners an important reminder about seat belts. “”An unsecure pet will not survive an accident, just as you wouldn’t,”” she says. For a cat, choose a carrier with a built-in seatbelt loop. For a dog, look for an adjustable harness made for the car.

If you’re bringing a dog along on your move, you need to plan several extra stops for walks and snuggles. However, if you’re moving cross-country with cats, you should open the carrier as little as possible to prevent your cat from dashing out into an unfamiliar area due to fear or stress. In either case, pack a few extra treats for your four-legged companions.

Understand the Risks of Shipping Your Pet

In some situations, it may not be possible for your pet to travel with you safely or comfortably. In this case, you may be wondering about the best way to ship a dog cross-country. Ground transportation services are one option if you’re relocating with pets, but these can be costly, stressful for your pet, and possibly even dangerous, so be sure to do your homework.

If your dog really can’t travel with you, air travel is probably the best alternative. As you’re exploring travel options, Lewis reminds pet owners, “”Your pet is counting on you. You have to be your pet’s advocate to find the safest, most reliable, and most comfortable method of travel for them.””

Moving with pets may feel daunting, but with proper planning and patience, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Count on furniture rental options from CORT to help you quickly and easily settle into your new home.

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