UnpackingWelcome to the final part of my guide to moving with your pets! If you missed the first three parts, be sure to read them as well. Afterwards you’ll be able to prepare, pack, and travel
The Ultimate Pet Moving Guide Part 3
Part three of my Ultimate Pet Moving Guide is focused on actually traveling with your pet in the car. I’ll also touch on flying with your pet in case you’ll be taking a plane instead. Make sure you check out the first two parts where I cover preparing ahead of time and packing.
If you are travelling in car, make sure you always put your pet in the car last.
You don’t want your buddy to overheat or freeze while you’re loading the car and can’t control the temperature, and you also shouldn’t stack boxes or anything else on top of their carrier.
A blanket over a pet’s carrier can help reduce anxiety because they won’t be able to see things moving around them. Seeing the world move outside of the car windows can stress your pet out and even make certain pets carsick. You should also cover birds and small mammals. This helps with drafts and temperature changes and stops sunlight from overheating their carriers.
For dogs who won’t be in a kennel or crate during your trip, you should consider a safety harness that hooks to the seatbelt or a safety gate. Not only do these help keep your dog safe from escaping, but they also help prevent dogs from distracting the driver by trying to climb into the front seat. If you have a tall car or a short dog, you may also want to consider steps or a ramp to help them get into and out of the vehicle more easily.
Try and keep the vehicle at a good temperature for your specific pet.
Most pets don’t do well if they are too hot or too cold, and small animals and reptiles are especially sensitive to temperature changes. You should not only use your air conditioning and heater, but also window shades. Ensure that you have maximum control over the temperatures in your vehicle. Because of reptiles’ sensitivity in particular, you may want to consider the season when travelling.
You should try to drive as smoothly as possible – without any sudden acceleration or braking and avoiding problems like potholes – as sudden motion can stress your pets. It’s also a good idea to refrain from slamming doors. Pets, especially small ones, can be especially sensitive to vibrations and sudden movement.
To keep pets safe from running away, make sure you keep leashed animals on their leashes and all other animals in their crates, cages, or carriers.
Even birds who have never flown away before have been known to disappear during a move. Moving is scary for them, and they may be able to gain enough thrust to take off even if their wings are clipped. The same goes for dogs who are well-trained to stay by their master – the unfamiliar locations and situations associated with moving may cause behavior changes in even the best behaved dogs.
If you are driving a long distance and will be staying in a hotel, check to make sure they are pet friendly.
Petswelcome.com, pet-friendly-hotels.net, and AAA can all be good resources to find hotels that will take your animal companions. Verify the policies at any hotel, since the pet-friendly moniker may not extend to every type of pet or may include fees for pet-related messes and other fine print. Reserve early and make sure you have a specific contact you can verify with, including their name, number, department, and role at the hotel.
Make sure that before you bring pets into a hotel room you have checked for any hiding spots or escape hatches your pets can get lost in. Animals are great at finding places to hide, especially when stressed, and you don’t want your beloved ferret to end up down the bathtub drain. Put special pet signs if they are provided (or do not disturb signs if they are not) on your doorknob so that housekeeping doesn’t accidentally let your pet escape.
Throughout the trip, make sure you monitor your pet’s food and water intake closely.
Stress can cause any animals to refuse food and water. Use favorite foods at stops to try and coax your pet to eat and drink. A favorite treat that is refused may also be a sign that your pet isn’t feeling well.
You should also make sure small pets get water at every stop, as their size makes it easy for them to become dehydrated. For pets that can have fresh fruits or veggies, a vegetable or fruit with high water content can help with hydration issues.
If you are flying rather than driving,
remember that airline policies on animals are generally first come first served, so schedule far in advance. Airlines may also refuse to take pets if the conditions are too hot or cold, so have a backup plan in case that occurs.
You should check the rules, regulations, restrictions, charges, and pet insurance requirements of the airline you plan on using. Everyone’s policies differ, so even if one airline will allow your cat in the cabin instead of cargo, another may not. Pet containers also need to be packed according to the airline’s specific standards. Fish in particular usually require professional packing, which can be done by a tropical fish or aquarium dealer.
Pets should be fed 5-6 hours before the flight and given water up to 2 hours before. This is to ensure that the pet doesn’t soil their crate during the flight, which will be no fun for you, for them, or for the people tasked with loading and unloading them if they will be travelling as cargo.
Pet containers should be clearly marked with all of the information required by the airline. This usually includes details on what pet is inside, relevant medical papers and licensure, and any special medical needs. You may also consider putting a picture of your pet on the outside of the container in case people get curious or the pet somehow escapes.
These tips should help you keep your pet safe and comfortable while travelling to your new home. If you missed the last two parts of this guide, make sure you check them out, and don’t forget to watch for part four so you can get great advice on how to help your pet adjust to their new home.
Seth Gold brings his life-long passion for real estate and extensive marketing experience to Domicile Realty. As he works with his clients, he is very aware that they are making one of the biggest and....