A long distance move is always going to be a challenge for anyone, double so when moving with pets. The only way to make it a less overwhelming experience is to hire reputable long distance movers and opt for what is known as a full-service move.
A full-service move takes the burden of moving out of your hands and places it on the moving company. They worry about the supplies, doing the actual packing, sorting out the nuts and bolts of your move so you don’t have to, and ensuring everything is up to snuff when you get to the other side–unpacking, furniture arrangement etc.
However, unless you choose to move your pet(s) with a moving company – provided they offer animal moving services in the first place – most people opt to take their four-legged member of the family with them in their own car.
If this is you, then comes the question of how you’ll manage the pet during the drive, particularly when moving long distance. Here are some tips that should come in handy towards that regard.
Start with a trip to the vet
It is always best practice to schedule an appointment with the vet before traveling with your pet. For a number of good reasons, you want to make sure the animal is free of any parasites that could take advantage of a weak immune system already jeopardized by the stress of moving.
As well, the vet will ensure the animal is up to date on vaccinations and importantly, issue an interstate health certificate which you might need when moving more exotic pets across state lines. Plus, if your pampered friend is the antsy type, the vet can also recommend the best sedatives to offer.
Stock up on supplies to care for your pets while moving across the country
Your pet will still need to eat during the journey, so pack enough snacks and water for the ride. Ideally, you want to bring your own pet food–that is, what the pet is used to–as opposed to grabbing some along the way.
Last-minute food switches can cause tummy trouble, and that’s definitely not a mess you want to be dealing with while on the road! Not only that, but you might not find the exact brand of food where you’re going, so it helps to be prepared for such eventualities.
Carry some toys
Toys help keep the pet occupied during the journey while also helping keep anxiety at bay. Carry some of your pet’s favorite toys to keep them busy while you drive.
Don’t forget the first aid kit
Not only do you need a first aid kit, but it’s also important to carry pet meds with you when moving with pets, especially if the animal is on any prescriptions at the time.
You can keep these in a pet travel kit (which you should have) that also holds the food and treats, food and water bowls, toys, vet records, etc.
Schedule frequent breaks
When moving across the country with your furry friend, it doesn’t hurt to plan for potty breaks and allow the animal to stretch their legs.
That particular goes for dogs, less so for cats as they don’t fancy the outdoors much – let alone the idea of having a harness on them. If your cat doesn’t want to spread their paws, it’s best to leave them be.
You can arrange for pet breaks every 3 – 4 hours, and don’t forget to carry some poop bags. Maintain a close eye on your pet as you don’t want them getting into any altercations with any aggressive animals in the vicinity.
Administer sedatives with care
You can opt to use sedatives to keep your pet calm if they are anxious travelers. However, consult your vet before proceeding with this. Some sedatives can have the opposite effect and add to the anxiety or fail to work effectively, and that’s not something you want to find out while on the road.
Alternatively, you can opt to transport your pet with professional pet transport services such as Pet Airways who transport animals across the country not as cargo, but in the cabin, complete with a pet attendant. The service doesn’t come for cheap, however.
Make pet-friendly plans
Sometimes, you might need to stop over during the journey to catch a break. If you’re bringing your pet with you, consider mapping out locations along your route that have no problem taking in pets. You can start this research using resources like BringFido.com and Petswelcome.com who list hotels that accept different types of pets so you can care for your pets while moving across the country.