Whether you’re moving across the country, across the world, or just taking a trip with your pet this summer, there’s a lot to consider. Pet travel can be especially tricky when you’re up against warmer temperatures, busier roads, and packed airports. Our team often advises against booking big pet moves during the summer months, but we know that sometimes life requires it.
Here are our tips to keep your pet as safe and happy as possible during a summer excursion of any length.
1. If You’re Taking Flight—Check for Summertime Airline Embargoes
If you’re planning to fly with your pet this summer, many airlines will have pet cargo restrictions in place during the summer months. Airlines might limit their pet travel hours or the pet breeds they’ll transport due to the heat. Here’s a list of 2020 summer flight embargoes for many of the major airlines. If the airline you’re considering isn’t on the list, give them a call or contact our team to see if we can help!
Pro tip: Airlines often decide which months to start their summer embargoes based on the previous year’s temperatures. Make sure to check last year’s weather patterns when planning your vacation or relocation.
2. Plan to Move When the Weather’s Cool
Some airlines will only allow pets to travel as cargo during the early morning and evening hours when the sun is down. For instance, the pet-safe airline Lufthansa will only allow snub-nosed pets to fly when they know the temperature will be under 80 degrees Fahrenheit at both the departure and arrival locations. Avoid surprises by knowing the best times for your pet to travel.
Pro tip: We see the least amount of weather embargoes in the spring and fall seasons. If possible, consider planning your pet’s travel to coincide with this.
3. Ground Transportation
If your pet is moving across the United States this summer, ground transportation may be the only option. When making long drives, especially with dogs in the car, it’s important to have a co-driver or another human passenger. This will make bathroom breaks for both humans and pets safer.
You should also have your vehicle inspected to make sure that there are no repairs your car may need for the long journey ahead. For instance, ensuring your air conditioning will last the duration of the trip is very important in the summer months. Also, consider the terrain you’re traveling on. In desert states, such as New Mexico and Arizona, it is not unheard of for tires that are underinflated or otherwise unequipped for hot asphalt to falter. Make sure your vehicle—and especially your tires—are ready to weather harsher conditions.
Pro tip: Make sure your pet’s crate is in a shaded area within your vehicle. Consider draping a light-colored sheet across the top of the crate to provide unexpected sun exposure.
4. Buy the Right Summer Travel Crate in Advance, and Practice
When it comes to creating a positive travel experience for your pet, ventilation is key. This guide will help you choose the right travel crate for a pet of any type and size. If there’s extra space in your vehicle or allowed by your airline, sizing up your crate might be a good idea to provide your pet with more fresh air and room to move.
You’ll want to purchase your travel crate as far in advance as possible to ensure it’s the right fit, and to get your pet acclimated to it. Practice crate training early and often with your pet.
Pro tip: Start crate training your pet by feeding them in their crates with the door open. This will help them get comfortable and form a positive association with their crate.
5. Pay a Visit to the Vet
Before bringing your pet on a big summer move or getaway, get them checked out to make sure they’re healthy enough for the adventure. A pet that’s under or overweight or experiencing other health problems may not be up for a big trip.
Pro tip: If your trip is international, your veterinarian may need to issue a health certificate that will then need to be endorsed by the USDA. Make sure you and your veterinarian know the requirements for your destination before you book your travel.
6. Get Your Pet Groomed—But Not Too Short!
Depending on your pet’s hair type, he or she may benefit from a little pre-travel summer grooming. Be careful, though; trimming an unruly mane is a good idea, but read this pet grooming advice before taking things too far. A pet's hair acts as a natural cooling system and some coverage can protect their skin from sun damage, so a buzzcut could leave them hot and bothered.
Pro tip: It’s always a good idea to keep your pet’s nails short during travel. This will make handling an excited dog easier. Check with your groomer about getting your pup pedicured before embarking on your trip.
7. Plan Properly for Food and Hydration
When it’s hot outside and your pet will be traveling for an extended period of time, it’s even more vital that they eat the right amount at the right times and stay hydrated (just like you)! Food and exercise should be monitored in the days before your trip to keep your pet feeling as calm and normal as possible. Make sure fresh water is always available in the hours before you head out, so your pet reaches healthy levels of hydration.
Even if there's a long journey ahead, it's best to avoid food for at least two hours before you take off to avoid any tummy upsets.
Give your pets plenty of water before and after your trip, and make sure water is available during your entire trip. You should attach a water bowl securely to their crate and fill it at the last moment before taking off.
Pro tip: If you’re traveling by air, freeze your water bowls or trays the night before the move so the water will melt slowly over time, to reduce spillage and ensure water is available for longer! If you’re traveling by ground, make sure to bring portable water bowls with you to provide water on rest stops.
8. Tire Out Your Friend Beforehand
A couple of extra walks or extended playtime the evening before and/or the morning of your trip will tire out your pet and increase the chances of travel napping. Make sure you carve out time in the days before your trip to devote to your pet and his or her travel prep.
Pro tip: You can find great dog-friendly trails here. Hiking early in the morning before a journey begins is a great way to tire your pet out.
Following these tips should help make your summer relocation a breeze! Make sure to share your experience with us on social media! You can tag us on Instagram @PetRelocation and using the hashtag #MyPetRelocation.
If you have questions about traveling with your pet this summer, schedule your free consultation today!