My husband and I recently moved from Fargo, N.D., to Solana Beach, Calif. Moving is stressful enough on its own but worse when you add kids or pets. We don’t have any human children, but we do have our three “fur babies” – a Lab mix and two cats. We’ve moved across town with them a few times, but that’s nothing compared to three 12-hour days of driving in one small car.
Here are some tips for moving or traveling across the country with pets:
1. Make sure your pet’s ID tags are accurate.
Make sure each pet is wearing a pet ID tag. Imagine how awful it would be to lose a pet in the middle of an unfamiliar town. Once you are settled in, you should update their tag information as soon as possible. Dog collars with name plates come in handy for moving because you can put your new information on the name plate and the old information on the tag. Once you are settled in, you can remove the tag.
If your pet has a microchip, don’t forget to update that information as well.
2. Find pet friendly hotels in advance.
If you need to stay in a hotel with your pets, it’s best to call and reserve a room a few weeks in advance. You don’t want the extra stress of trying to find a pet friendly room at the last minute. Also, plan on paying a $15 pet fee per night per animal.
I noticed hotels like to use the term “pet friendly.” However, “pet friendly” often means dog friendly and not cat friendly. One hotel receptionist even had me sign a form saying I would not have cats in the room. (I may have ended up sneaking them in anyway, but it was very stressful for me.)
While I was disappointed about the cat situation, I did appreciate that none of the hotels asked about my dog’s breed or weight. He could’ve been a 100-pound rottweiler, or he could’ve been a 5-pound Maltese mix. None of the hotels needed to know beforehand, and they never asked at check-in, either.
3. Try to maintain some sort of routine.
We all tend to do better when our lives have some sort of routine. This is also the case for our pets. You can help your pets feel a little more at ease while traveling by providing them with their usual pet beds or kennels. Your dog may appreciate a favorite toy or two. You could also try feeding and walking your dog around the same times if at all possible.
4. Provide your dog with lots of exercise leading up to the move.
The last thing you want while driving across the country is a dog with pent-up energy. I’m fortunate to have a middle-aged, lazy dog. If my dog were more energetic, I would’ve sent him to dog daycare for the last few days before our move. Or, I would’ve asked some friends to take him for extra walks.
Finally, just try to take a few minutes to relax here and there. Moving will always be stressful, so give yourself a few breaks from packing and unpacking. If you can take some time to sit still and breathe, your pets will also have an easier time remaining calm.
Have you ever moved or taken a road trip with a dog or cat?