Moving with pets (especially pets you don’t want to put in the cargo space of an airplane) requires extra care and preparation. Experienced pet owners might already have a concrete routine for moving dogs or cats (or rabbits or tortoises or whatever companions they may have), but people who have never moved before (or never moved with a pet before) are in uncharted territory!
In the interests of helping new movers/pet owners keep their pets safe and healthy during a move, here are some ways we recommend you prepare:
Take Your Pet for a Vet Appointment Before Moving
This one is for pure peace of mind, as well as convenience. It’s easier, after all, to deal with a local vet while you’re still at your old place instead of trying to find a vet in the middle of getting settled. You can make sure your pet is up to date on vaccines while you get a fresh copy of your pet’s medical records.
There’s another reason to start with a veterinary appointment, though: all your pet’s health issues will arise during a move. The stress of moving environments is a huge tax on your pet’s immune system. A vet appointment prior to leaving will make sure you catch any underlying health issues first, while making sure your pet doesn’t have any conditions or parasites that would further compromise their immune system.
Pack Multiple Meals & Snacks in Sandwich Bags
Portion out multiple meals into individual plastic bags for easy portioning on the road. Make sure to use the same treats and pet food you’ve been feeding your pet. A road trip is the worst time to introduce your pet to a new diet that could have a, shall we say, unfortunate effect on their stomachs.
Portioning out the food for the trip also ensures that you won’t run out of your dog’s preferred food on the way. Trust us, you don’t want to look for suitable dog treats at a gas station.
Keep a Pet-Friendly First Aid & Medical Kit
If your pet takes medication or has health problems, you’ll definitely want a custom first-aid kit for any problems that might come up on the road. If you anticipate the possibility of a medical emergency, you might even want to note where there are notable veterinarians on your route. That way, if you need to make an emergency stop, you’ll know where to go and how long it will take to get there.
Plan Frequent Walking & Bathroom Breaks
This one mostly applies to dogs, but it could also apply to cats or rabbits if your animals are used to running around. Your pets (and you) could benefit from stretching your legs on a lengthy trip. Make sure to take plenty of breaks to let your dog take a bathroom break and walk around. Keeping your pet physically engaged helps keep them calm during the car trip and contributes to their overall health and well-being.
However, if you have an indoor cat, you can skip the outdoor breaks. Just make sure to give them a litter box.
Update Your Pet’s Tags (& Get a Microchip)
If you’re traveling on a multi-day trip across the country, you have to face the risk of losing your pet on the way. The best way to find or keep track of potential runaway pets is with ID tags with your name and phone number, or microchips. Before you leave, update your pet’s tags or microchip with the new address, and put it on as you’re leaving.
Figure Out Where Pet-Friendly Hotels Are
If you plan on stopping for the night, make a list of pet-friendly hotels and motels along the way. That way, you’re not just leaving your pets in the car while they’re on a (to them) big and scary trip. Having them with you will help them keep calm, lower their stress, and be better overall for their health.
The best thing you can do is make sure you bring their bed or kennel with you into the hotel room—having that small piece of home, that bit of normalcy, is vital for pets.
Focus your energy on your family and your furry companions! Let AQMS handle the rest of your move. Call (661) 622-2636 today for your free estimate.