Whether your pet is easygoing or a real firecracker, an out-of-state move can be challenging. With a little knowledge and planning, moving with your pet doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Here are 7 tips for tackling an interstate move with pets.
1. Pack a pet bag.
Arm yourself with a special travel bag for your beloved pet. Things to pack in your bag or bring in the car include:
- Required pet medication
- Favorite toys
- Food and treats
- Water and water dish
- Portable litter boxes
- Your pet’s bed or kennel
Bringing a few things from home and a few fun surprises can help your pet settle into the trip.
2. Pay a visit to your vet.
Before your move, speak with your vet about:
- Transferring digital records: If you can find a new vet before the move, have your current vet transfer your pet’s records.
- Gathering paper documentation: You might need to have your pet’s vaccination records on hand to fulfill move-in policies, put your pet up in a hotel, or get through border stations.
- Catching up on vaccines: Your pet should be completely vaccinated before the move. Ask your vet if your pet has had all their vaccines.
- Preparing for car sickness: Some pets experience motion sickness. You should ask your vet about securing some motion sickness medication to have on hand for your pet during the journey.
- Handling additional concerns: You can talk with your vet about moving with your pet. Do you have questions or concerns about the process? Your vet might recommend herbal supplements or Benadryl to calm your pet. They can also offer more effective sedatives. Together, you can decide what is best for your pet.
3. Get a microchip and collar.
A frightened pet in an unfamiliar situation is unpredictable. Some pets might try to escape their questionable surroundings, either during travel or after arriving at their new home. It is important to prepare for this possibility.
To keep your pet safe, ensure they are wearing a collar. The collar should show your pet’s name as well as your contact information. They should wear their collar during the trip and while they settle into their new home.
To take your pet’s security to the next level, you may want to think about microchipping your pet. Unfortunately, you cannot guarantee that a responsible individual will find your pet and use the information on their collar to return them. The microchip will allow you to track them should they get lost.
4. Prep your vehicle.
If you’re driving, create a comfy setup for your furry friend. Consider putting your pet where they can see you or where you can pet them occasionally. In addition to their pet bag, you may want to bring familiar objects like feeding dishes or toys that will make them feel at home.
It may be best to establish your pet’s corner in the automobile before packing up any other belongings. Give your pet plenty of space and keep their comfort in mind.
Most importantly, remember pet safety. There are seatbelt alternatives available for pets for sale online and in pet stores. Do some research to see what would suit your pet best. A good carrier should be large enough for your pet to stretch and move slightly when wearing it. A pet carrier should be both durable and comfortable. When you install the carrier, make sure it won’t slide around during the drive.
Don’t forget to set your radio volume on low to avoid stressing out your pet.
5. Map your route.
You’ll have to leave plenty of time for stops when traveling with a pet. Remember to take walks and potty breaks. Don’t forget about stretching and cuddling!
Before the day of the big move, you might want to do a few test runs with your pet in the car. The more familiar they are with the seatbelt and car environment, the more comfortable they will be during a long-distance expedition. You might even want to allow your pet to wear their harness around the house!
Never leave your pet alone in the car, especially in extreme temperatures. Optimally, you could bring along a friend or family member. Someone your pet is comfortable with can wait in the car with your animal while you run into the gas station or restroom. They can also drive occasionally so you can comfort your pet.
6. Contemplate your options.
If you’re driving, a multi-day trip may be in order. Determine accommodations and plans well beforehand. Consider pet-friendly hotels, and don’t forget to bring your pet’s things into the hotel with you to help them feel safe.
Shipping a pet is another option. Ground transportation can be expensive and risky. Otherwise, you can send your pet via air. There are even services you can hire that cater to your pets, making them more comfortable during air travel. To learn more about flying with your pet, read our seventh and final tip.
7. Fly right!
Are you flying with your pet? First and foremost, you’ll need to decide whether cabin or cargo is the better option. We recommend calling your airline first and discussing your options as far as costs and policies. You’ll want to find out how pets are handled in cargo, what kinds of carriers are required in the cabin, and other related information.
Try to consider what will be less frightening for your pet. It would be great if they could ride in the seat next to you with food and drink and toys and cuddles, but that’s not the case. They will have to be in a kennel in the overhead bin or underneath the seat in front of you.
Think about your pet’s temperament. Which sights and sounds might be alarming to them? Will cargo or cabin be best?
- In case of cargo, it may be a little scary for both you and your pet to be apart from one another. Waiting in the cargo area can be stressful for a pet.
- In the cabin, your pet can see you and smell you but cannot be with you or on your lap. Remember that if anyone on your aircraft is allergic to your pet, you could be bumped from the flight.
When driving is not an option, take the following steps before air travel with your pet:
- Call your airline and ensure you fully understand their policies for bringing pets. What is allowed and not allowed? How will your pet travel? What paperwork must you bring?
- Prepare the crate or carrier with paper towels or training pads.
- If your pet will be in the cargo hold, indicate that it is a “live animal” and draw arrows to encourage her movers to keep her upright. Include a photo and name of your cat and all your contact information just in case.
- Practice having your pet in their crate at home.
We know the trip can be a little daunting, but you and your pet are going to be so happy in your new home. Hiring an interstate moving company to handle the logistics of the move will give you more time to focus on keeping your pet calm and happy. Get started with free moving quotes now!