Moving Series Part 2: Long Road Trips with Pets
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The topic of long road trips with pets may not seem like it needs its own post, but trust me. It does! If you didn’t catch part 1 of my series, click here for how we drove from Dallas to Los Angeles. Nick and I drove from Texas to California in a moving truck/trailer and a car. I drove my car and Nick was in the truck. It might seem hard to drive a big truck with a trailer, but have you ever driven with a Great Dane and two cats?? That was my life for several days and it was a reaaaal treat.
Assuming the travel positions
Here’s some tips and tricks that helped me drive 1400+ miles with 3 animals, 1 being giant. Hah!
Vet Visit. Before we left we got everyone checked out, up to date on shots, and flea treatment. We also talked to them about mild sedation drugs to make the ride easier on me AND them. We settled on Trazodone. I gave them super small doses prior to leaving, to make sure they were okay on it and didn’t have any reactions. During out drive, the cats took half a 50mg pill each morning, at least 30 minutes before departure. Theirs was more important to me to administer first, because I was more worried about their anxiety. Dino had 5 100mg tablets each morning. Did the meds help? Well, the last day we only drove a little bit, so I didn’t give them drugs and I could definitely tell a difference. The cats meowed like crazy and Dino wanted to stand up every 5 seconds and get really close to me, which is not only annoying, but dangerous while driving. Also, not a drug, but the vet recommended buying sprayable Feliway to help reduce anxiety with the cats too. I sprayed it in the car each stop.
Towards the end of our trip when Dino had had enough
Seat Divider. Something we meant to buy and just forgot to was a seat divider - something like these. If you have a dog traveling with you, this is necessary in my opinion. We created a makeshift barrier with cardboard and pillows that worked for the most part, but Dino could bypass it if he wanted to. It was also hard, because it was such a good barrier, I couldn’t really see him and it made it hard for me to reach behind my seat to touch the cats. I would have definitely done this part differently.
Posing proudly with his own bed at the Hampton Inn in New Mexico
Travel Positions. I received a lot of questions on how the animals traveled. The first picture is actually how they were positioned! I made Dino a bed of blankets and some toys. The cats were in their carry kennels with a soft blanket and some catnip toys, plus I sprayed Feliway in it, before putting them in it. If you have a cat who is hard to handle, I would highly recommend a kennel with a top entrance. It is a lot easier to cram them into if they don’t like them, associate them with the vet, or fight you on it. Originally Nick and I considered getting small wire dog crates for them, so we could put a litter box in there and so they could see out. Our vet actually recommended putting them in their normal carry cases, because if something bad were to happen like a wreck of some sort, they’d be safer in that smaller space, than a large space.
Lounging at our airbnb in Palm Springs
Warby Parker Glasses | Moonlight Night Shirt | Montiel Sports Bra | Outdoor Voices Leggings
Frequent Stops. We had to stop every couple of hours to get gas for the moving truck, since it guzzled gas like it as its job, but also to let Dino out. See all the stops we made here. Some of the gas stations even had dog areas! I think it was good so he could stretch his legs. have a sip of water (we didn’t give it to him every stop) and reduce anxiety at that, but let me tell you… HE HELD IT ALL DAY. He never once used the restroom during our trip - only in the morning and at night. Probablyyyy because he wasn’t eating and drinking normally, but still. I thought that was crazy. Regarding the cats, we didn’t put a litter box in their kennels, as our vet set cats usually hold it. I did line their crates with a puppy pee pad though, just in case! You never know what will happen if a cat gets carsick. Anyway, they held it as well. Our drive day one was the longest and I felt bad once we hit El Paso, as we were originally supposed to stay the night there. I decided to let them out of their crates while at a gas station, to see if they needed to go to the bathroom. I got their litter box out and everything! Nope. They refused to go too. Only morning and night for these crazies. I also tried to give the cats water at the last stop, but they didn’t want that either.
Sunrise at our airbnb in Palm Springs
Hotels. There’s a lot to this bullet point, so let me divide it out:
Booking. We didn’t book hotels in advance. We looked at the surrounding areas ahead of time to just to get a feel, but like I mentioned in this post, we didn’t really know where we were going to stop each day. There are quite a few hotels that are animal friendly, but a lot of them have weight limits and quantity limits. Our pets are registered emotional support animals (ESA), so it is a little easier to find a place that allows you, though we did call ahead of time. On the first evening in New Mexico, we stayed at a Hampton Inn. Nick called about 2 hours out to ask about our ESAs and they were really nice and said it wouldn’t be a problem. I would always call ahead to make sure it is okay though. I think we did have a $25 extra fee, but that is pretty normal, so we didn’t care. The second night we stayed at an airbnb in Palm Springs. It said it allowed pets online, but we spoke with the owner to make sure everything was okay and it was. In these situations, you just have to feel them out!
Loading. Since we were only staying one night at these places, you’d think it would be an easy in and out, but Nick and I both had a carry-on suitcase, a backpack each, coolers, and our pets + their belongings. We aren’t really luggage cart people, but it was a lot easier to load the cat crates with all of our stuff on the cart, than not. Especially while holding a large dog! We had to bring all the pets food and litter, etc in, so i was actually a lot more than we would typically bring in.
Staying. One of our good friends had a great dane and made the drive from Dallas to Seattle. She recommended getting a room with two beds. One for us and one for Dino! It worked out great. At the airbnb we only had one bed, but they had a dog bed, which I covered with his blankets to make it feel more like home. He stayed at the foot of our bed there. The cats stayed shut in the bathroom at both locations.They had their crates, litter box, water, and food. I sprayed Feliway in there too. They wanted to come out of the small space, but I didn’t want to have to get them out of a small space or anything like that, so in they stayed.
One we arrived at our new apartment - one of us adjusted better than the other (L: Cat R: Elliot)
Food. Regarding Dino, he didn’t really eat. Maybe a treat here or a kibble there, but he really only drank water. I figured this would happen, so I made sure to bring goats milk, which he loves. The brand we typically buy is called Answers. I only gave him this before bed, as I didn’t want him throwing it up in my car. Dino eats morning and evening, but we only put out food at night, because again, we didn’t want him to get carsick. The cats only get fed once a day in the morning, but for the this trip, I flipped it to the evening, to make sure their stomachs could settle.
Arrival. Once we got to our destination - in this case our new apartment, the pets were our first priority. We set up the litter boxes, food, water etc. We shut the cats in our master bedrooom and Dino on our patio or the bathroom, when he needed to be secluded. Helping them acclimate is important! Elliot was the only one who didn’t soften up quickly. She wanted to stay in her crate and still searches for small spaces, though she is getting better every day! I sprayed Feliway upon arrival and occasionally do now, though I have been meaning to buy a plug-in version.
Dino in his new city
Do you have any tips for driving long distances with pets?! Share them! We are able to take Dino on more trips now and actually took him to Carmel this weekend. Such a dog friendly place! If he doesn’t come with us places, we have used West LA Dogs and they are great. We haven’t gotten a vet in Los Angeles yet, but have heard good thing about VCA Animal Hospital. In Dallas we used Camp Bow Wow in the Design District and CityVet Oaklawn. Stay tuned for part 3 of this series on moving tips in general. It will go live tomorrow!
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