Few things in life are as stressful as long-distance moves. You uproot the life that you’ve been building. You stuff all your belongings into boxes and pile them onto a vehicle. Hope for the best, don’t even dare think about the worst. And when moving with pets, this stress only multiplies!
To help you deal with these challenges, we’ve put together a list of things to keep in mind. Here’s what you need to know about traveling across the country with furry friends in tow.
The planning stage
Prepare for the trip as thoroughly as possible – it’ll make things easier on both your pet and yourself.
Even seeing you pack your bags can make an animal’s anxiety spike, so try not to rush it. Stretch the packing process over several days, letting your pet get accustomed to the idea of the move. Maintain their daily routine as much as possible, perhaps introducing the occasional car ride here and there.
Similarly, it helps if you introduce the carrier crate in advance. Many animals associate carriers with trips to the vet and avoid them stubbornly, but there are ways around this. Give them time to explore it on their own, and entice them with food if necessary.
If possible, make arrangements for pet care at the destination as well. Research the local veterinarians before you get there, and stay informed of the new locale’s potential health hazards.
Health and safety considerations
As every animal owner should know, visiting a vet before the trip is a must. But in addition to the specific instructions they give you, what else should you keep in mind?
Make sure you have the right health certificates for the states you’ll be traveling through. These typically include a list of all the innoculations your pet has had. Exotic animals may require additional travel permits – consult your local regulatory agency for details.
Consider microchiping your pet, just in case you get separated on the road. Ideally, the transponder would also link to a database containing the animal’s relevant medical information. Whether or not you opt for the chip, don’t forget to provide collars with ID tags as well.
The logistics of moving with pets
Of course, not every move will require driving across the country. You might choose to travel by air while having your baggage shipped by some other route. But where does that leave your fur babies?
If flying to the destination, you and your pet will be subject to the rules imposed by the airline. To avoid unpleasant surprises, get in touch with them and do your research. See if they’ll let you bring the animal into the cabin, and how much that might cost. If that’s not available, ask about the conditions in their cargo compartments.
If you’re driving instead, stay appraised of everything that this might entail. Make sure your pet is used to car rides before heading out. Make sure that you’re up for the task too, armed with the necessary patience and endurance. There’s a range of options available to you – choose wisely, and do not neglect your pet’s needs in doing so.
Hiring professional transporters
As we said in the intro, moving can be extremely stressful in and of itself. There’s no shame in admitting that you’d rather not tackle every obstacle by yourself. If hiring professionals to assist with your move, here’s what you should look for.
Reliability. Whether entrusting them with pets or possessions, you’ll want a transporter that you can rely on. CitizenShipper’s background screening sets high safety standards, and user feedback grants you insight into each transporter’s qualities.
Experience. Ideally, your pets would be handled by transporters who have dealt with their breed before. At CitizenShipper, you can handpick the people who come in contact with your furry friend, making sure they have the necessary experience.
Cost. While it may not be your primary concern, affordability is certainly something to consider. At CitizenShipper’s online marketplace, you can leverage transporters’ quotes against each other to get the best deal possible.
After safely arriving at the destination, try to help your pet adapt to the unfamiliar surroundings. Your place may be pet-proofed already, but if that’s not the case, take steps to create a safe environment. Arrange objects brought from your previous home to provide the animal with a sense of familiarity. Let it explore the new area if it wants to, but keep an eye out for trouble.
Sometimes it takes a while for a pet to settle in after the move. Cats in particular, but many dogs as well, can get moody or anxious. Simply provide all the love, patience, and understanding you can, and eventually they’ll warm up to the new home you share.