Tips on moving with pets

We are so pleased to welcome a guest! Tamara and Katie worked together at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary many years ago. After moving across the country with 5 dogs and 10 cats, Tamara is a bit of an authority on what to do to make moves as easy as possible. She also proves that yes, you really can move with your pets :) 

And don't forget the Calming Bliss  to help the furry family members take the edge off!

By Tamara Dormer

A friend of mine is soon moving across country (USA)  with several pets and she asked if I had any tips, and I thought I would write it up for anyone and also to encourage people that if you're moving take ALL of your family with you!  This includes your pets.

I moved 2100 miles from North Carolina to Utah with 5 dogs and 10 cats, and it was a 36 hour drive.  Luckily, I had a friend who drove the UHaul (thank you forever, Pam :-) )

1) Pam drove the UHaul truck with 2 of my dogs riding in the front seat with her.

2) I drove with 3 dogs and the 10 cats in my Honda Element, all seats folded flat.  The dogs were in dog beds, 2 in back, 1 on the seat beside me.  The cats were in cat carriers, stacked on top of each other, then bungee corded in so the carriers would not topple over as I drove.

3) I took along photos of each animal in a zipper-sealed baggy along with a brief description of each animal.  This is so that if an animal got lost on the trip I already had the photos and info to put together posters--you don't want to be having to organize that on the road.

4) I designed a sign and pasted it on the back windows of my car saying:  IN CASE OF ACCIDENT PLEASE OPEN ANY DOORS SLOWLY.  This car contains X dogs, x cats.  In case of emergency contact xxx-xxx-xxxx.  (Hopefully, this will prevent EMTs from just slinging open the door and letting animals out.)

5) I cabled the dogs' to the seatbelts so that when I stopped for gas, etc. they would be attached to the car (so not bolt away), yet the seatbelts stretched so they could get out of the car and touch the ground, yet still be attached.

→ We love CLIX car harnesses.Please shop locally at stores
 which do not sell animals first,but if you can not find them in your
 neighborhood, they are available online HERE

6) I stayed in animal friendly hotels along the way--the dogs slept in the cars, except 1 who was anxious (it was winter when I travelled, so pleasant weather) but we brought the cats in overnight, unloaded them so they could use litterboxes, stretch their legs, etc. in the hotel room.  PUT UP THE DO NOT DISTURB SIGN SO HOTEL STAFF DON'T JUST COME BARGING IN (and letting out an animal).

We love LaQuinta, because there is no limit to the number of pets in a room,
nor is there a breed restriction.(

7) We stopped for gas as need be, but we only ate once a day--Pam kept saying we were eating like snakes, LOL--as each time we stopped, the dogs would get all excited, want to get out, etc.  Of course, they could get out for potty breaks :-)  They got long walks in the mornings before hitting the road and the evenings when arriving at the hotels.

What I learned:  the biggest time consumption was unloading the cats every night and reloading them every morning (about an hour each time).  Remember, I had 10 cats, but in the mornings we often had to root them out from under beds, behind beds, behind drawers, etc.

--find something to do with your keys immediately upon stopping so any jumping around dogs don't lock you out.

--while it's no fun time, I don't think traveling without animals is any fun time either!  Take your time, stay safe, and remember that you will get there.  Eventually.  The road has to end.


Thanks Tamara!

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I hope our cross country move with 2 dogs goes as well as yours did! Great ideas… Don’t forget to have their supplies – dishes, food, meds., etc. close at hand for the overnight stays.


I’m moving to California and have a German shepherd … We are going to drive over there in my mercades and renting a uhaul any advice on how to safely move my dog


Thank you. Am moving from Colorado to Michigan and I want to take my rowttie with me. I think she will have fun


Great advice! We’re heading out in about 2 weeks with our three cats. Our drive is only about 10 hours, so should be pretty easy. I like the idea of having the signs and the emergency stuff made up ahead of time. Not something I had thought about!

Tammy –


Another thing we found helpful was to have an extra set of keys made :)


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