Moving with Pets
As if the move weren’t hard enough, you can’t put your pets on the moving van.
Huge temperatures swings and the lack of food and sanitation in the moving van would make life extremely hard on your pet. But it does mean you have one more thing to plan for, the sort of thing that lives and breathes and depends on you.
On the other hand, if you’re driving solo cross country (or across town), your pet might make pretty good company.
Get a pet carrier, if you don’t already have one and put it in the back seat where it’s safest. Take your pet for a few short rides to get it used to the car.
Pet travel kit. When you travel with a pet, you’ll need to keep it both safe and comfortable. Vets recommend the following:
- A kennel, cage, or appropriate container that you keep the pet in while traveling.
- Food, a dish, and a can opener if necessary.
- Drinking water brought from old home.
- A favorite toy.
- A pooper-scooper and plastic bags.
- A collar with license, rabies tag, pet’s name, your name, and contact info.
- A leash where appropriate.
If the pet gets carsick on short drives and continues to do so, talk with your veterinarian about medication that may help.
Smaller animals such as rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, and birds can travel in their regular cages. Make sure they have food and water and the cage door closes securely. Cover the cage with a cloth to help them keep calm.
Fish are harder to move. What you need to do will depend on the type of fish you have. Check at the pet store to see if you’ll need special containers or a battery powered aerators.
- Feed your pet five or six hours before leaving, but not any closer to the time you are set to leave.
- Make plenty of rest stops when traveling and protect the upholstery by covering it with plastic tablecloth.
- Get a collar for your pet that bears its name, your name, your new address, and a phone number where you can be reached.
- When you take the pet out of its carrier, be sure to put your pet on a leash.
Pets–especially those that get carsick–need plenty of air. Run the car’s air-conditioning or leave the windows open an inch or two. Smaller animals such as gerbils, rabbits and hamsters are sensitive to temperature extremes. Keep the car at a temp you find comfortable, and they’ll be comfortable too.
Don’t leave any pet unattended in the car for any length of time. The summer’s heat and the winter’s cold can be fatal. If you have to leave the animal in the car for a short period during the warm weather, open the windows part way, or leave the air-conditioning on to keep them from overheating.
If you’ll be on the road for more then a day, check to make sure the hotel or motel you’re staying at allows pets in the room. Pack a jug or two of tap water from your home, and water and feed your pet once daily. Strange water can mean upset stomachs…and you don’t want that.
Check state and local pet regulations before you leave home. Regulations for cats are usually as simple as getting the animal a health certificate, rabies shots, and a local license. But if floppy is a dog, chicken, horse, llama, or something more exotic than your average turtle, there’ll be stricter requirements that you need to know about and meet before making the move.