How To Move Your Pets

Pet Transportation by automobile

Car travel is the most popular mode of pet relocation. It provides a feeling of security for your pet and for you. And it is less expensive than air travel. Traveling in a car with your pet can be a pleasant experience when you follow these guidelines.

If your pet is not used to car travel, take it on short rides before the trip. This will accustom it to the motion of the car. If it is prone to motion sickness, ask your vet about pills to lessen the symptoms.

Do not feed or water your dog or cat for a few hours before you leave. After you are on the road, feed once a day only. Make frequent stops for water and exercise. Take a supply of water from home; different water on the road can cause an upset stomach. And keep your pet on a leash for its protection—and yours.

While riding in the car, do not let your pet hang out the window. Dirt and insects can get in its eyes, causing irritation and infection. Keep windows locked to prevent your pet from lowering the window and jumping out. Cats, especially, are known to do this. To avoid these problems altogether, keep your pet in its carrier.

If your car is not equipped with air conditioning, leave the windows cracked between an inch and inch-and-a-half. Pets need plenty of air, especially when the weather is hot, or when the animal is prone to motion sickness.

Small animals, such as gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs, are sensitive to heat and cold. Your own comfort is a good guide; if you are hot or cold, chances are your pet is, too.

Do not leave your pet alone in the car. If you must, however, lock the doors. If the weather is warm, crack windows for cross-ventilation and provide water. Check on your pet every few minutes. Even on a cloudy day, extreme heat inside a car can be fatal to your pet in as little as 10 minutes. In winter, a car that isn't running can quickly become like a freezer.

For a bird or other small caged animal, remove dishes of water and food to avoid messy spills while the car is moving. Feed and water these pets at stops along the way. Keep your bird's carrier covered to help calm it. If you transport fish in plastic bags, do not put them in direct sunlight or in cold drafts.

Pet Relocation
For dogs and cats, do not feed or water for a few hours before you leave. After you are on the road, feed only once daily.

Staying overnight with your pet...

Never leave a pet alone in the car overnight. If you anticipate overnight stops, arrange in advance for pet-friendly lodging. An Internet search is the fastest way to locate such places on your route. You might also consult lodging directories in your local library. If you are traveling with a snake, let it soak for about an hour in the bathtub once you have checked in.

If you must leave your pet alone in a motel room, notify the desk and display the Do Not Disturb sign on the door.

Pet checklist for car travel:

  • ample food and fresh water from home
  • a dish for each pet
  • leash and grooming brush
  • medications
  • extra towels and newspaper
  • favorite toy or blanket
  • room deodorizer for hotel

Arriving at your new home...

Like people, pets need a little time to get used to new surroundings. A favorite food bowl, bedding and toys will help it feel at home. If your pet will have free roam in your new home, leave the carrier door open so it may come out when it is ready.

If you need to locate a veterinarian, contact your local Humane Society or the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) (tel. 800-252-2242) for the names of veterinarians in your area.

General Reminders

People moving with pets should keep the pet's routine as regular as possible before and during the move. If you normally feed, exercise, or play with your pet at certain times, continue to do so. During the final days of packing and preparation, consider keeping your pet at a friend's home or kennel. This may help keep it from getting upset and running away – or hiding in a moving box, as cats are prone to do.

If you have questions at any time during your pet's relocation, talk to your Atlas Account Representative. Your Atlas professionals are always ready to help. They want your move to be stress-free—for every member of your family.

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They can help answer additional questions about
moving your pets and animals.