When moving across the country with pets, planning ahead is key. Whether you’re flying or driving, pack your pet’s travel essentials before the move. These should include a blanket, water, food, toys, leashes and collars, and anything else they will need on the trip.
Talk to your veterinarian about your move and get recommendations for traveling with your pets. They will be able to transfer your pet’s records to a vet near the new location and check that all vaccinations are current.
Keeping your pets’ routine as unchanged as possible will also help them adjust to the long-distance move. Continue to walk them at their usual time, play with them, and feed them at the same time to make the transition as smooth as possible for them.
1. Get a Crate
Whether you choose to fly or drive, your pet will need some sort of restraint during the trip. Crates and carriers are the most common options, especially for dogs and cats.
Start training your pet early to be comfortable in their crate or carrier. Having them accustomed to the container in advance will make the transition less stressful during your move.
Introduce your pet to their crate by encouraging them with treats and using a voice cue, such as “crate.” Leave them inside for short periods of time and increase the duration gradually.
2. Keep the Carrier Clean
Pet carriers are small boxes, crates or cages that can be used to transport animals like cats, dogs, small birds and other pets. Some are hard-sided and airline approved while others are soft and breathable, but both types can be helpful for travel.
Keep in mind that a dirty carrier can make your pet sick and should be cleaned regularly. Whether it’s washing it in warm, soapy water or using a bleach solution, make sure you thoroughly rinse it and let it dry in the sun before putting your pet inside.
3. Get a Leash
You can take your pets on the road with you or enlist the help of a pet transport company for a stress-free and safe journey. Regardless of your choice, it is important to make sure that your pet has plenty of rest and comfort during the trip.
A leash is a simple way to keep your dog or cat under control during the move. If your pet is not used to being contained in a crate or carrier, you will need to familiarize them with these containers a month before the move. You will also need to consider restraint options like harness seat belts and backseat hammocks.
4. Get a Vet Checkup
A regular wellness checkup will ensure that your pet is healthy enough for the trip. Your vet will also be able to discuss preventative measures for fleas, ticks, and other parasites that can cause deadly diseases in dogs and cats.
A vet exam typically involves inspection, palpation (feeling parts of the body), and auscultation (listening with a stethoscope). Your veterinarian will listen to your dog’s heart and lungs, run their hands over their skin and coat, examine their eyes and ears, and scan their microchip.
The exam will also include annual vaccines, including distemper-parvo and rabies. Your vet will likely recommend a few additional tests for senior pets or giant breeds, as well.
5. Pack a Bag for Your Pet
Pets are sensitive to change, and moving across the country can be extra stressful. That’s why it’s important to pack a bag filled with your pet’s favorite toys, food, and bedding.
It’s also a good idea to bring some calming pheromone spray and a water bowl with no-spill technology. If your pet suffers from motion sickness, consider bringing along a harness seat belt or backseat hammock to keep them comfortable during the trip.
It’s also essential to research the pet regulations in your new city and state ahead of time. This includes health documents and vaccination requirements.
6. Get a Plan
If you’re moving across the country or even to another continent, your pet’s comfort is crucial. It’s a big change for them, and they might have trouble getting adjusted to the new environment.
A reputable pet transportation company will help you acquire the necessary paperwork and arrange travel accommodations for your animal. They will also schedule bathroom breaks, feeds, and medication if needed.
When choosing a pet shipping service, do some research and read online reviews. Choose one with a good reputation and a website that clearly explains their services.