Moving Cross-Country with a Dog: 10 Tips for Your Long-Distance Move



Moving cross country with a dog can be a stressful experience for both you and your dog. Dogs are creatures of habit, and they can be easily stressed by change. That's why it's important to start planning early and to take steps to make the long move as smooth as possible for your pet.

How to Prepare for Moving Cross-Country With a Dog

  • Make one final visit with your local vet. By ensuring your dog is up-to-date on their vaccinations and in overall good health, you’ll have one less thing to worry about on the road. If your dog has a history of travel anxiety, it is worth asking your vet to prescribe medicine to calm them down for the long car ride.

  • Gather your dog’s essentials in an easy to access bag. By packing your dog’s leash, harness, poop bags, favorite toys and treats in one easy to locate bag you’ll save yourself time while traveling. We recommend this bag traveling in the car near your dog so it is easy to access while at any rest stops.

  • Book a pet friendly hotel. A cross-country drive will likely take at least two days to reach your destination. After a long day in the car you and your dog will want a nice place to relax for the night. We recommend finding a hotel that allows pets and even better if it has a dog park onsite or nearby for your dog to stretch their legs. 

  • Get your dog used to car rides and new surroundings. If your dog isn’t used to riding in the car, start taking them on short trips around your neighborhood and let them explore new places. This will help your dog acclimate to being in a car and to new surroundings. This will help them get used to riding in a car and will help make the actual move less stressful.


Safely Moving with a Dog Cross Country

  • Take frequent bathroom and exercise breaks. Car rides with a dog are similar to car rides with young children; you’ll want to stop every few hours for a bathroom break and an opportunity for them to stretch their legs. Depending on your route, you may be able to stop at a dog friendly rest stop.

  • Another option is to pack your SpotOn GPS fence that allows you to easily set up wireless boundaries anywhere you stop on your trip that will allow your dog to exercise after long stretches in the car. It will also track your dog so you can find them if they run away in an unfamiliar area during the trip. 


  • Make your car comfortable for your dog. You’ll want your dog to feel as comfortable as possible for the long ride. Consider packing their bed if it is small enough to fit in your car. If you’re limited on space in the car, bring along their favorite blanket and toy. 
  • Keep the music volume down to curb travel anxiety and avoid hearing damage for your dog. To find the right volume level for your dog, check out these dog hearing safety tips.  

  • Pack plenty of food and water. Bring along more food and water than you think you'll need, just in case there are any delays or unexpected stops. 

Car Safety

Similar to the vital practice of fastening a seatbelt for human safety during travel, it's equally important to take measures for your dogs' security when on the road. The American Automobile Association advises the use of restraints for pets within the vehicle to enhance their safety and prevent distractions while driving. Fortunately, excellent solutions exist to guarantee the safety of both you and your pup during car journeys.
  • Dog harness seat belt - Opting for a seat belt is the most effective way to ensure your dog's safety during car rides. Designed especially for obedient dogs, this harness securely anchors your canine in place using a strap that connects to the seat belt. 
  • Dog Seat Belt - By securing your dog's harness to the car seat, canine seat belts provide essential protection for your four-legged companion. This effectively eliminates the risk of ejection, accidents due to distractions, and various potential hazards. 
  • Dog Barrier - The barrier serves as a deterrent for your dog, preventing them from leaping onto the front seat and causing distractions while you're driving.

In addition to outfitting your vehicle with dog safety gear, you may want to add a few accessories to make life a little easier for you. Dog seat covers are an excellent way to safeguard your interior from potential accidents such as car sickness, mud, or fur shedding. By providing a protective barrier, it ensures both your dog's comfort and the longevity of your vehicle's upholstery. 

Moving In With your Dog

Once you have arrived at your new home, it’s time to unpack and help your dog settle in to their new home. Be patient and understanding with your dog as the big move can be stressful for them. Give them some extra love, attention, and play time at your new home. 

With the SpotOn GPS fence, you’re able to easily setup a new fence surrounding your new home from the app. You’ll want to introduce your dog to their new boundary by walking them up to the edge of the fence, allowing them to recognize the audible tones and vibration. 

Following these tips will help make your move cross country with your dog a little bit easier. With a little planning and preparation, your move cross country with your dog can be a smooth and stress-free experience.

Ready to live life unleashed?

Order SpotOn today and enjoy a lifetime of freedom! 


Author Bio:
Mikkayla Casey is a native Texan and dog mom to a senior beagle she rescued from a local shelter in 2012.

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