moving cats and dogs

Moving with Pets: Important Tips for Moving Cats and Dogs

For safety, and to make the trip as comfortable as possible, it is important to follow certain guidelines when traveling with your dog or cat. Below are important tips for those who will be moving with their dog or cat by car.

  • Don't feed or water your pet just before starting. Try to keep to established walking and feeding routines. A few treats will do for snacks during the day.
  • Administer a sedative or tranquilizer if veterinarian has prescribed one.
  • Take a container of fresh water along; a sudden change in drinking water may cause a temporary upset in some dogs.
  • Plan stops at regular intervals to give your pet a drink and a short run. Wayside rest areas make good stopping places.
  • Never let your dog or cat loose in a strange place. Exercise it on leash. Always attach the leash before opening the car door and detach it after the pet is back inside and the door closed.
  • Take care when stopping at gasoline stations and restaurants. Don't give an excited pet a chance to bolt and become lost - it may be gone forever in spite of identification tags.
  • Keep the car windows rolled up enough to prevent your pet from jumping or falling out.
  • Don't let your pet hang its head out of the window. Sore eyes can be caused by dust, grit and insects in the air; inflamed ears and throat by too much wind.
  • Your pet should never be left unattended in a vehicle. However, if you must leave pet in the car on a warm day, park in the shade, open all the windows an inch or two for cross ventilation, leave water, and check on pet every hour or so. If the day is hot, do not leave pet in the car at all. Heat can quickly become excessive in a parked car even if it's in the shade, and animals can suffer from heat prostration.
  • Keep strangers, especially children, at a distance if your pet seems to be nervous. Even the most gentle pet can be provoked into growling or snapping.
  • Don't permit your pet to do things to antagonize people.
  • Keep it out of restaurants, and on a short leash in motel or hotel lobbies and other public buildings.
  • Walk it away from manicured lawns, gardens and swimming pool areas.
  • If left alone in a motel or hotel room, it might disturb others, chew on furniture, have an "accident" or escape when the maid opens the door to clean the room.
  • Notify the management if you must leave the pet alone in your room. Expect to pay for any damage it might cause. And just before checking out, spray the room with air freshener to eliminate any pet odors that might linger.

Before you move your pets, be sure to read about the health and identification requirements for moving pets and the state and local regulations for moving pets. For more information, return to the pet moving guide.