Crate or Harness
In an accident, unrestrained dogs/puppies are vulnerable. Secure them in a dog harness (that works like a seatbelt) or carrier. Dogs should never stick their heads out of the window of a moving car. Flying debris can hurt their eyes. Instead crack a window, allowing them to stick out their nose. Never let your dog/puppy sit in front of an activated airbag in the passenger seat.
The Right Crate
A hard plastic carrier, lined with a favorite blanket works best. The carrier should be large enough so your pet can sit, stand, lie down and turn around. It must be well ventilated with no protrusions inside.
The Right Temperature
Dogs/puppies don’t sweat like humans and can’t efficiently cool themselves. Always provide water and keep an eye on your pet. Never leave a dog in the car alone. Puppies can’t regulate their own temperature well until they are 8-10 weeks of age, so they shouldn’t travel unattended before then.
Water and Feeding
Bring a few gallons of the water your dog is used to drinking. New sources of water can upset dogs’ stomachs. To prevent car sickness, don’t feed your dog/puppy a large meal just before leaving. During the trip, follow their regular feeding schedule.
Exercising Your Dog/Puppy
Walk your dog/puppy for 10 to 15 minutes, every two or three hours during the trip. To prevent escape always restrain them on a leash.
Identifying Your Pet
Have your dog/puppy implanted with a microchip AND wear a collar with your name address and phone number. Bring a picture of your pet to identify him/her in case he/she gets lost.
Get Checkup, Vaccinations Before Travel
Have your pet checked and vaccinated before a long trip. Make sure your pet’s vaccine record is easily accessible.
Always call your airlines first. Airlines usually require a health certificate issued within 10 days of travel, as well as a current vaccination certificate. Other restrictions may apply. Small pets should travel with you in the passenger cabin. But if your pet is too large, be assured that baggage areas are federally regulated, requiring a stable, safe temperature for pets.
Health Certificate Required When Crossing State Lines
If your move involves crossing state lines, your pet must have a health certificate issued within 10 days of your trip. Authorities could ask to see the certificate if you’re stopped.
Boat, Bus or Train Travel
Greyhound Bus and Amtrak only allow service animals. Call individual boating lines to find out their requirements.
Dogs should only be sedated if they become so upset during travel that they are in danger of hurting themselves. Sedation can cause pets to lose their sense of balance, leading to injury and even death from falls. They also can have trouble breathing, especially those breeds with short noses. If you have to sedate your dog, get advice – and the sedative – from your veterinarian. Never sedate a pet that you can’t watch. Test the sedative long before travel to make sure he/she doesn’t have a negative reaction. Never sedate a puppy.
Moving More Than One Pet
If you are moving multiple pets, always place them in separate carriers to avoid stress.
If Your Dog/Puppy Gets Sick During Travel
Before you begin your trip, you should always identify animal hospitals and 24 hour emergency clinics on your route in case of an emergency. Use the AAHA Trip Planner to find AAHA-accredited veterinarians along your route. Check the availability of your veterinarian for consultation. Bring a copy of your pet’s medical records or find out if you can access online records.
Settling into Your New Home
To help your dog/puppy adjust to a new home, bring his/her familiar toys, blankets and even pet bowls. Allow him/her to explore his new home freely.
Find a Veterinarian ASAP
Ask your current veterinarian to recommend an AAHA-certified veterinarian in your new area. Or you may use the AAHA veterinarian locator. Do this as soon as you can to get advice on how to protect your dog/puppy from the diseases and parasites in your new location.