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Moving with Pets Across the Country

Moving across the country signifies a big shift for everyone involved, but animals have special needs that people don’t. Your family can understand the logic and logistics behind a move, but for even the smartest pet, a move signifies an unknown journey with inscrutable objectives. If you’re a pet owner, you’ll want to make some special considerations to ensure your relocation is as accommodating as possible for your furry friend.  

Make Sure They’re Mentally and Emotionally Prepared 

The worst thing you can do on a cross-country trip is spring it on your pet at the last minute. While you can’t communicate the reasoning behind the move to them directly, you can take some significant steps to make sure that they’re better situated to deal with the journey. If a dog isn’t used to regular car trips, take the time to remedy that. You want to help them dissociate a ride in the car with a dreaded experience, so minimize trips to the vet or groomer. Instead, let them get used to long rides just because and trips that end in long walks. Trips to visit local dog parks and other green spaces helps them get accustomed to time in the car.  

A road trip is a little trickier for cats. Keep them in a pet carrier for most of the trip, but don’t pull it out at the last minute. Cats often associate the carrier with trips to the vet and other bad experiences, so bring out the carriers you intend to use early. Goad them to explore the inside and outside of these carriers with toys and treats, and let it become a regular part of their daily lives. If they come to associate the carrier as part of their territory, they’ll have an easier time adjusting to the extended car ride.  

Tackle the To-Dos 

Make sure all your t’s are crossed and all your i’s dotted before setting out on the open road. In addition to taking care of mundane tasks like filling out a change-of-address form with the post office and opening your utility accounts, there are some to-dos to tackle related to your pets.  

Visit the veterinarian before you set out on your journey to ensure your pets have the proper shots and refills on any medications they need. Be sure to leave time between the vet visit and the actual move, as the trip to the animal doctor can leave your pet with lingering stress that will only compound during the trip. Before you leave town, do a little research into the best vets in your new neighborhood. If the worst happens, it’s best to already have a lay of the land. If your dog or cat is especially prone to stress, consider getting anti-anxiety medicine to help coax them through the process.  

Also, don’t forget to stock up on enough pet food for the trip, and pack plenty of water so that they’ll stay fully hydrated for the cross-country odyssey. This is especially important if your pet is a picky eater or has specific dietary needs. Gather together a pet first aid kit to take with you on the road. This should include bandages, rubbing alcohol, activated charcoal, Benadryl, and cloths, as well as any necessary leashes or harnesses.  

Keep Pets Away from the Packing 

Being extra careful as you move can help your pet acclimate to the process. If you have the time and space to do so, make sure to pack your things up over an extended period so that your dog or cat can get used to items getting moved. Keeping the packing process out of sight and out of mind can also help reduce their jitters. Additionally, consider setting aside a safe room that remains controlled and unchanged to keep them calm. The safe room is also an excellent place to put pets to prevent them from escaping while your moving crew is loading the truck. While a move is usually a time of upheaval, take care to keep to your normal routine whenever possible. Your pet will understand implicitly that something’s happening but keeping to their scheduled activities will help them feel cared for and loved. Be sure to take the time to give them the attention they need during this period to help curb unnecessary stress. 

Prepare the Car for the Journey 

Your pet’s going to be spending a long time on the road, so you’re going to want to make sure that the trip is as comfortable as possible for them. For cats, larger carriers can give them more space to move around during the journey. Crates designed for larger dogs may be impractical for everyday commutes to the vet or groomer, but they can make a world of difference when traveling across state lines. Even if your dog is comfortable being loose in the car, consider bringing a crate with you. The last thing you want is for a rowdy canine to cause a car accident. Carriers should be meticulously cleaned before leaving on your trip, especially when taking a cat with you, and splashing the interior with a specialized pheromone spray can make them feel more comfortable during the ride. Don’t neglect to stock your car with an abundance of toys to avoid boredom during your journey.  

Plan the Road Trip and Pitstops 

Plotting out your course in advance is a good rule of thumb whenever traveling, but it’s even more important when you have a pet with you. Chances are that you’re going to want to take periodic stops to stretch both your legs and those of your dog, so determining the best walkable areas before you get out on the road can save you some headaches. Also, be sure to look for pet-friendly hotels and motels along the way. You don’t want to end up in a small town driving all over in search of lodging that’s willing to accommodate your four-legged pal. Stow all your medicine, treats, and first-aid supplies within the reach of the driver or a passenger for easy access. 

Hiring a moving crew to assist with the logistics of moving your belongings cross-country gives you time to focus on helping your pets adjust to the move. Request free moving quotes from top-rated movers using the Kip’s platform!

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