In the U.S., over 38% of households have dogs as pets. With around 31 million people moving every year in America, chances are that a lot of these people are moving with a dog.
While you might be really excited about your move, all of the activity and change can be stressful for your dog.
That’s why it’s important to look into how to move with a dog ahead of time. While it’s less of a big deal if you’re moving down the street than if you’re moving across the globe, you’re still going to want to plan ahead either way.
Are you traveling with a dog soon and are looking for some tips? Here are ten dog transportation tips to help it go as smoothly as possible.
1. Keep Your Dog Calm
It’s important to support your dog during this time. Give them a comfortable spot to hang out when you’re packing up that has familiar toys, beds, and blankets. Let them have these objects during the move, as the familiar smell can be comforting to them during this time of change.
2. Get Them Used to Their Crate or Kennel
If you are going to be traveling with a dog in a crate or kennel, you’ll want to let them get comfortable with it before the day of the move. Spend some time in the days or weeks leading up to moving acclimating your dog to their crate.
Perhaps your dog is already crate trained, but if they are not, spending some time helping them become comfortable in the crate can make the move go more smoothly.
To help them get used to the crate, you can take the door off and put a soft towel or blanket down inside. If they aren’t naturally curious and interested in laying down outside, you can use treats to help guide them in.
It’s important that you don’t force your dog into the crate and instead let them enter on their own. This is why it can be a good idea to get them used to it a few weeks ahead of time. That way you’ll be sure to give them enough time to become comfortable with spending time inside the crate.
3. Make Sure They’re Getting Enough Exercise Leading Up to the Move
Dogs are sensitive to your energy, so they might experience increased anxiety as your begin packing up your belongings. To help them reduce their stress, make sure that they are getting enough exercise.
Make sure your dog is getting good walks every day. If you can find the time to take them to the dog park or throw the ball for them in addition to walks, that’s even better. When they have sufficient exercise, they’ll be much more likely to just sleep through all of your packing process rather than experiencing anxiety.
4. Keep Them Out of the Way of the Action
There isn’t really any getting around the fact that moving is a chaotic process. If possible, limit the rooms that your dog has access to and give them all of their essential toys, blankets, etc. This way, they won’t be in the way while you’re moving boxes around and all of the action won’t raise their stress levels.
5. Pack Their Items Last
If you can manage it, it’s best to wait until the very end to pack your dog’s items. This will help make sure they feel as comfortable as possible while the moving process is going on.
Also, you want to avoid washing the bedding and toys of your dog before you make the move. This is because they will rely on the familiar smells at your new place to help them get settled in.
6. Consider Getting a Dog Sitter on Moving Day
There is so much activity going on during moving day that it can be very stressful for dogs. On top of that, you will be going in and out so often that it offers a lot more opportunity for your stressed-out dog to slip outside.
If possible, you might try to find a place outside of your home for your dog to stay while you’re packing. Ask a family member or a friend if they can take your dog for the day while you get everything packed up and organized. This is also a good idea because it simply gives you one less thing to worry about on moving day.
7. Stop Frequently
If you’re traveling with a dog long distance in a car, you’ll want to plan out your trip with your dog in mind. It’s important that your dog has the opportunity to get out and walk around every four to six hours. Doing this will tack on more time for your trip, particularly if you’re making a cross-country move.
You’ll want to factor in these dog stops into your plan so that you don’t get behind schedule. If you are going to be staying overnight along the way, you’ll want to make sure you find hotels or rentals that allow pets.
8. Prepare Ahead of Time if You’re Traveling By Plane
If you’re flying to your new home, you’ll want to learn as much as possible about dog transportation by plane.
If your dog weighs 20 pounds or less, you will typically be allowed to bring the dog onto the plane with you. However, there are a number of rules that you have to follow in order to do this.
First, most flights only allow a certain number of pets at a time. Many of the major airlines require that you call ahead of time to inform them that you plan on bringing a small dog along for the trip. You’ll want to make this call as soon as you can, because if they reach their maximum number of dogs on the plane before you inform them, you’ll be out of luck.
To be clear, though, this limit doesn’t apply to emotional support or service animals.
There will also be some extra fees for bringing a small dog on a plane. These usually cost somewhere between $95 and $150 each way. These fees don’t apply to service animals or emotional support animals.
If you’re bringing your dog in the cabin of the plan, you’ll have to have them in a TSA-approved pet carrier. These carriers need to be able to fully fit under the plane seat in front of your seat and be well ventilated. Check with your airline about size restrictions, as different airlines will have different rules.
Look closely at the pet policies for your airline, as it’s possible that you might have to provide the health records for your pet before you board the flight.
There are also some restrictions from certain airlines regarding the age of your dog. Contact your airline to find out whether or not you’ll be allowed to bring your dog if they are 16 weeks old or younger.
It’s also important to understand that the pet carrier counts as a personal item or carry-on bag.
It is not commonly allowed for small dogs to be allowed in the cabin on international flights. If this is the case, the pet transportation occurs in the cargo hold.
Checking in with your pet before your flight might take extra time, so you’ll want to take this into account.
Unless your dog over 20 pounds is a service dog or an emotional support animal, they will be required to travel in the plane’s cargo hold. This isn’t offered by airlines, so you’ll have to check with yours. Having your dog in the cargo hold means that you won’t have any access to them during the flight.
Some people are wary of having their dogs travel this way because of the temperature fluctuations that dogs can experience during this time. It can also be quite nerve-wracking to not be able to see your dog during an entire flight.
When it comes to traveling with larger pets, you’ll typically book their spot in the cargo hold about ten days before your flight. You’ll need certain documentation, a crate that’s large enough, and you’ll have to arrive early to drop your dogs off at least two to three hours before the flight.
Does all this sound way too complicated? You might consider a pet transportation service instead. Run a quick Google search for ‘pet transport near me’ to find a company that can transport your pet for you.
9. Help Acclimate Them to the New Place
You and your four-legged friend have finally arrived! Moving can be stressful for dogs just like it can be for humans. For this reason, you’ll want to take care to help acclimate them to the new spot.
The first area you’ll want to introduce them to is the outside where they’ll go to the bathroom. You’ll also want to set up an established routine right away to help them get settled in. Take frequent walks around the neighborhood to help them get comfortable as quickly as possible.
10. Update Contact Information and Find a New Vet Right Away
You don’t want to slack on updating your dog’s contact information and finding a new vet. If your dog slips away during your move or soon after you arrive, you’ll want their collar to have accurate information. Finding a new vet can help you know who to call if there’s ever an emergency.
Moving With a Dog: These Tips Can Help Keep You and Your Dog Worry-Free During a Move
You and your dog are going to love your new home. With these pet transportation tips, you can also help to make sure your dog stays stress-free during the big move!
Did you find this article about moving with a dog interesting? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more fascinating and informative content!