Moving is inherently stressful. But when you need to move long distance with pets, stressful can be an understatement, especially if you’re not properly prepared. And that’s true for both you and your animal friends. Luckily, though, prepping for a long-distance move with pets isn’t all that complicated.

With a little bit of planning and a healthy dose of patience, you and your pets can enjoy a relatively low-stress relocation experience. Here are seven helpful tips for moving long distance with pets.

1. Arrange Transportation for Your Pet

Even if you’re hiring a long-distance moving company, you’ll need to figure out how to transport your pet(s). Professional movers and packers can’t handle your pet, so it’s up to you to figure out how you’ll get your animal friend to your new home. You can:

  • Transport your pet in your personal vehicle. If you’re driving to your new home, this can be a good option. Just don’t stuff your ride full to the brim. Make sure you leave enough room in your vehicle for your pet to stretch out and move around. 
  • Put your pet on a plane. If you’re flying to your new home, you can put larger pets in a crate in the plane’s cargo area. If your animal friend is small enough to fit under an airplane seat, you can put your pet in a carrier and take it on the plane with you.
  • Hire a pet relocation service. Pet relocation companies can ship virtually any animal via air or ground. If you don’t want to deal with the stress and hassle of transporting your pet on your own, this might be a good option for you.
  • Have someone you know transport your pet. Is anyone helping you move and making the trip alongside you? Might someone be coming to visit once you arrive? See if that person can take your pet along with them.

Speaking of arranging transportation, your pet(s) may not be the only thing you need to figure out how to move. Long-distance movers can’t pack or transport certain items, which are referred to as non-allowables. Check out our blog, How to Transport 7 Things Your Movers Won’t Handle, for more info on what those items are.

2. Familiarize Your Pet with Riding in a Vehicle

No matter how you choose to transport your pet, it’s a good idea to acclimate your animal friend to the sensation of moving in a vehicle. That’s especially true if they don’t take rides with you often.

It’s not uncommon for stressed-out animals to vomit when they ride in vehicles, so if you want to avoid cleaning up a pile of stink, preparation is key. The earlier you start acclimating your animal friend, the more they’ll get used to the situation, and the less stressful the moving journey will ultimately be.

If you’re planning to crate your pet and put it on a plane or hire a pet relocation service, acclimate your pet to being in a transport crate. If you don’t, the experience will be remarkably stressful for your animal friend, which could result in some deep-seated trauma that’s tough to undo.    

3. Avoid Changing Your Pet’s Diet Before the Move

Don’t want to clean up stinky accidents on the road or in the air? Then you’ll definitely want to avoid giving your pet any unfamiliar foods for about two weeks leading up to your move. Sudden diet changes — even seemingly minor ones — can make your pet’s stomach upset. And when you combine an upset stomach with a car ride and stress, it won’t end well.

4. Pack Enough Food

If you’re transporting your pet in your personal vehicle, be sure to pack enough of your pet’s typical food for the trip. If you don’t, you’ll have to purchase food along the way. And if your pet’s normal food isn’t available, a change in diet can have some pretty terrible consequences.

If you feed your pet fresh food (like the stuff that comes frozen in bags), be sure to pack it in a cooler for the trip. It might be more of a hassle than bringing dry food, but it’s certainly less of a hassle than cleaning up a nasty mess. 

5. Visit Your Vet Prior to the Move

Before you make a long-distance move, pay a visit to the vet to make sure your pet is in good health. And if your pet has a history of anxiety or motion sickness, chat with your vet about prevention options. Supplements, pheromone collars, or even sedatives can keep an anxious or queasy pet more comfortable in transit. And when your pet is more comfortable, you’ll be more comfortable during the trip, too.

Keep in mind, though, that you should do a trial run if you’ll be giving your pet supplements or medication on the trip. These things can sometimes cause reactions, so you’ll want to see how your pet tolerates them before you hit the road.

6. Review Local Pet Laws in Your Destination City

It’s always a good idea to review local laws regarding pets in your destination city well before you make a long-distance move. Pets that cross state borders must have health certificates, so make sure you get those before you go. Pets that cross country borders need health certificates, too, and are often subject to other stipulations.

Some states also have laws regarding certain animal species and certain locales have breed restrictions. If you double-check the laws before you hit the road, you won’t encounter any sad surprises. 

7. Keep Your Pet Safe and Happy While Traveling

However you choose to transport your animal friend, do your best to keep them safe and happy during your long-distance move. Animals get stressed when their environment changes, and dealing with a stressed-out pet can add more stress to your plate than you want to deal with.

Here are a few ways you can keep your pet as happy and calm as possible while you travel:

  • Make frequent pit stops, so your pet can go potty, get a drink, and stretch their legs.
  • For safety’s sake, keep your pet in a crash-tested crate or use a harness that buckles into a vehicle seat. 
  • Bring your pet’s favorite toys and treats/bones along for the ride.
  • Bring something that smells like home, such as an unwashed piece of clothing or a blanket. The familiar scent will help calm your pet.
  • Don’t leave your pet alone in the vehicle. The situation is already super stressful — don’t make it worse. Plus, the interior temperature of your vehicle can quickly rise to a dangerous level even with the windows cracked.

Looking for a Long-Distance Moving Company in Minneapolis?

Need a hand with your upcoming long-distance move? Let our team at Ace Moving & Warehousing make your relocation as simple as possible! We specialize in both international and interstate moving services and are an Atlas Van Lines partner with connections throughout the nation.

Whether you’re looking for full packing services or just need help transporting your belongings, we can create a custom move plan tailored to your unique needs. We’re fully licensed, FMCSA-registered, and insured, and consistently receive 5-star reviews across the board.

To learn more about our long-distance moving services or get a preliminary estimate, give us a call today at 763-755-2045 or request a quote online, and we’ll get in touch promptly.