Now I am no expert in this topic, but after our first move driving with pets I thought I’d share my experience. We have one dog and one cat and both are pretty easy to handle. Ally, our dog, gets a little anxious when she doesn’t know where she is. Olivia, our cat, is the most friendly and laid back cat I’ve ever met. Neither of our pets has been in the car for more than a few miles, so I didn’t know how they’d do driving 1000 miles over two days. I decided to split the drive into two days so they would only have to be in the car for 8 hours at a time.
I went out to Petco in search of a calming spray/drops/pill to have on hand in case either animal went a little nutty in the car. What I ended up deciding on was calming drops that both Ally and Olivia could use- instead of buying one for dog and one for cat. There are plenty of options out there, but after weighing out what I was actually wanting, I chose Richards Organic Pet Calm. It has come in very handy for the drive and when we have lots of new people over that Ally doesn’t recognize (to stop her from barking).
Next I started to get both pets used to the car. I let Olivia loose (with the doors closed) in the car a couple times before we left so she could smell around a little bit. Ally had been in the car several times before, but never for long periods. I recommend keeping some of their toys or blankets in the car during the drive so they are a little more comfortable. I also kept some water and food in the back seat for them so they could drink and eat on potty breaks. I brought Olivia’s litterbox in the car too so she would have somewhere to go in the car and overnight in the hotel.
Since we split the drive into two days I had to find a decent pet friendly hotel along our route. The best resource I found for this is on Trips with Pets. You can search for pet friendly hotels along your route by putting in your starting and ending addresses in their map. This helped so much! We ended up staying at a LaQuinta Inn along the highway. Ally was not really into hotel living and barked the entire night. I was so glad we only had to suffer through one night with her in a hotel. Olivia was a complete angel the entire trip. She was even better than our dog was traveling!
Driving halfway across the country with a dog and cat was not as bad as I thought it would be. Now, this will obviously vary depending on the temperament of your pets. My best advice would be to just prepare ahead of time and try to make your pets comfortable for the trip. Make sure you keep their pet records with you in case anything were to happen and some extra food and water.