Thank you for these awesome tips Sarah Peachey!
One of the most stressful parts about each permanent change of station is moving your pets from your current home, to your new home. Planning can be a pain, but that doesn’t even compare to the journey. Depending on what type of pet you’re moving, it can be even tougher. Here are six ways to make it easy:
- Gather your vet records. You’ll need all the health information before you leave, just like your own. Some veterinarians won’t treat new patients if they don’t have proof of vaccinations. If you’re renting your next house or living on an installation, it’s absolutely necessary to have these.
- Fill any medications. If your pet is on any medications, make sure you have them filled or have enough (and some extra) for your journey. If you have a pet that suffers from extreme stress, this is a good time to schedule an appointment for a light sedative like Acepromazine. I’ve used it for both my dog (while flying) and cat (while driving). It’s just enough to keep them calm. Check with your vet to be sure it’s safe for the animal and doesn’t interfere with other medications. If you’re flying with your pet to your new duty station, you’ll need a health certificate, which is required by some airlines (be sure to schedule your pet’s flight too!).
- Pack for your pet. No matter what kind of pet you’re moving, you need to remember to pack for them just like you pack for yourself. Be sure to have food, bowls, collar and leash, a few toys, a special blanket and a crate or carrier. Bring more food than you think you’ll need, just in case your vehicle breaks down and you need to spend some extra days on the road.
- Plan your route. If you have an animal that will need stops to use a bathroom or walk around, make sure you plan for places to stop along your route. Even if it means stopping at a restaurant or gas station to find a patch of grass. Don’t avoid the rest stops. Your pet needs to stretch its legs as much as you do. Have some plastic bags on hand for cleaning up after your dog (please do it, even if the rest stop doesn’t require it — it’s just common courtesy. I don’t like trying to avoid stepping in doggy doo). I also keep a bottle of water on-hand so I can let the pets drink whenever we stop.
- Don’t forget about accommodations. It’s getting tougher and tougher to find pet friendly hotels. It can be even harder to find hotels that accept cats. I’ve found that many hotels like Holiday Inn Express and La Quinta Inns & Suites often allow pets. I’ve used both hotel chains. La Quinta Inns & Suites doesn’t require a fee. Holiday Inn Express usually required a $50 non-refundable pet fee. Keep in mind that just because most hotels in the chain accept pets, that doesn’t mean they all do. You’ll want to double-check by calling the hotel directly. You can also register for the La Quinta Inns & Suites Military Rewards Program and save money of every stay. Check out www.dogfriendly.com to find a variety of pet friendly hotels. Do not try to sneak your pet in hotels — that often results in a hefty fine and you leaving.
- Have patience. This is most important. Not all animals travel well. Your cat may meow a lot until they get used to their new environment. They may pace the hotel room at night or want extra cuddles. Your dog may poke around, smelling everything while you are at a rest stop. Remember that you’re uprooting them from what is familiar, taking them multiple miles away and plopping them in a new, scary place. Being with you is not always enough to keep them calm. Take a few deep breaths, give them some lovin’, and know that they will calm down once they get accustomed to their new environment.
Sarah Peachey is a 20-something journalist from the northeast, living in the Southwest near Fort Huachuca, AZ with her husband, two furbabies and a infant daughter. She began a career in journalism with The Fort Polk Guardian, an installation newspaper, winning two state awards for her work, and now freelances for military spouse support sites. She is an active blogger on MilitaryOneClick and her blog, “Stetsons, Spurs and Stilettos.” She enjoys spending her days on the shooting range or at home with a good book. She considers herself a bookworm, pianist, wine enthusiast and artist.
To read more of Sarah’s fabulous blogs, please click here.