Moving across the country can be an exciting yet daunting task, especially when you have furry friends in tow. As pet parents, we want our dogs to have the smoothest and most comfortable journey possible during such a big transition. To help ease your worries and set you up for success, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on how to move dogs across the country. From preparing your dog for travel to settling them into their new home, we’ve got you covered every step of the way.
Preparing Your Dog for the Big Move
Before hitting the road with your canine companion, it’s crucial to take some preparatory steps that will make the trip smoother and safer for both of you.
1. Vet Checkup & Health Certificate
Schedule a visit with your vet before embarking on your cross-country adventure. This checkup serves two primary purposes:
- First, it ensures that your dog is healthy enough for long-distance travel.
- Second, many states require an up-to-date health certificate or Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) when crossing state lines with pets.
During this checkup, also ensure that vaccinations are current and discuss any medications or supplements needed during travel (e.g., motion sickness medication). Don’t forget to ask for a copy of your dog’s medical records in case of emergencies while on the road.
2. Update Identification & Microchip Information
In case your pup gets lost during the move process, make sure their ID tags have accurate contact information. Additionally, if they aren’t already microchipped or if their chip details need updating, now is a perfect time.
3. Research Pet-Friendly Accommodations
If your journey requires overnight stays at hotels or campgrounds along the way, research pet-friendly accommodations ahead of time. Websites like BringFido and PetsWelcome can help you find dog-friendly lodging.
4. Plan Rest Stops & Exercise Opportunities
Plot out regular rest stops during your drive to give your pup a chance to stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and grab a snack or drink.
Traveling With Your Dog: Car Vs. Plane
When it comes to moving dogs across the country, you generally have two primary options: driving or flying. Each method has its pros and cons, but ultimately the decision depends on your circumstances, preferences, and your dog’s needs.
Driving with Your Dog
Driving allows for greater flexibility in terms of packing supplies for your pup and making necessary stops along the way. However, if done correctly and safely, car travel can be an enjoyable bonding experience for both you and your dog.
Tips for Driving with Your Dog:
- Invest in a sturdy crate or safety harness that secures your dog while in motion.
- Pack essential items such as water bowls, food, toys, blankets or bedding, poop bags, leashes/harnesses/collars with ID tags attached.
- Bring any medications or supplements needed during travel.
- Keep windows slightly open (or use window vents) for proper ventilation.
- Make sure not to leave pets unattended in vehicles. If possible have someone watch them while taking bathroom breaks or going into stores/restaurants.
Flying with Your Dog
Flying may be faster than driving; however, it comes with stricter rules regarding pet transport depending on the airline. Some airlines allow small dogs to fly in-cabin under specific conditions (e.g., size restrictions), while larger dogs must travel in cargo.
Tips for Flying with Your Dog:
- Research and comply with airline rules regarding pet transport (e.g., vaccination requirements, crate specifications).
- Book a direct flight if possible to minimize stress and potential mishaps.
- Bring essential items such as water bowls, food, toys, blankets or bedding, poop bags, leashes/harnesses/collars with ID tags attached.
- Acclimate your dog to their airline-approved crate before the trip by using it as their bed or feeding space.
Note: Always consult your veterinarian before deciding whether flying is appropriate for your dog. Certain breeds (e.g., brachycephalic breeds like bulldogs) may be at higher risk of complications during air travel.
Settling into Your New Home: Helping Your Dog Adjust
Upon arrival in your new home, it’s crucial to help your pup adjust to its new surroundings. Here are some tips for making the transition more comfortable for them:
1. Establish a Familiar Space
Set up a dedicated area for your dog that includes familiar items like their bed or blanket and favorite toys. This will provide them with a sense of security and comfort in their new environment.
2. Keep Routines Consistent
As much as possible, maintain regular routines from your previous home. This includes feeding times, bathroom breaks, walks/exercise/playtime sessions. Consistency can help ease anxiety caused by the move.
3. Slowly Introduce New Surroundings
Gradually expose your dog to different areas of the house and neighborhood. Allow them time to acclimate and become comfortable in each space before moving on to another one.
4. Be Patient & Supportive
Some dogs adapt quickly while others may need more time to adjust. Be patient and offer plenty of praise/rewards during this process. If you notice signs of extreme stress or anxiety (e.g., loss of appetite/diarrhea, excessive drooling/panting), consult your veterinarian for guidance.
How To Move Dogs Across Country Conclusion
In conclusion, moving dogs across the country can be a challenging experience for both you and your pup. However, with proper preparation and planning, you can ensure that it’s a stress-free journey. Just remember to be patient and supportive as they adjust to their new home – soon enough, they’ll feel right at home in their new environment!