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What’s The Best Way To Travel Over 900 Miles With Two Dogs? Dog Owners, We Need Your Help

For my 35th birthday, Emily surprised me by showing up in a rented passenger van full of our best friends. She drove us all up the freeway to the amusement park Magic Mountain for a day of roller coasters and thrill rides. Now, if you know Emily, you know how much she hates driving, so hauling a big 12 passenger van up the I-5 during morning rush hour was pretty remarkable – 6 months pregnant. But even more remarkable were the t-shirts she had made for the occasion, which everyone wore the entire day – a screen printed silhouette of a picture of me at 17, naked behind an electric guitar, smirking carelessly into the distance.

It wasn’t until I stumbled off the first roller coaster that I realized how ironic the shirt actually was. That care-free 17-year-old on my chest would have yeeehawww’ed his way back into line for the next go-round, he would have scream-laughed through every death-defying, tummy-twirling ride until the park closed. 35-year-old me however, needed a long sit-down and a Dramamine suppository. Being bashed and sloshed and zipped around at high G-forces was something that my younger body loved, but now, middle-aged and out of shape, it felt like a torture chamber, like Magic Mountain was interrogating me in a black site about future terrorist plots I had no knowledge of. I wanted to barf and sob. I did my best to avoid going on any more rides that day, but was my b-day so I had to suck it up and enjoy the rest of the day with everyone. And with every ride I understood more and more the plight of kids who get stuck in tires as they roll down hills. It was my, like, least favorite feeling. Ever.

And I think that’s how my poor dog Oscar feels about any moving vehicle. So I’m writing for some help. Dog owners, where ya at? 

We have to move our pups up to Portland in a couple of weeks and we’re stressing about which way is the best way to do it. 

A little about the doggies – they’re one-and-a-half-year-old rescues who have some skittishness issues already, don’t trust many strangers, and are very co-dependent. Buttercup fares pretty well in a car, has never puked or whined, and she just lays down in the back or tries to come upfront with us. Oscar on the other hand, despises anything that moves, even anything in the vicinity of anything that moves. Like, he stops dead in his tracks when we get near the upper-upper steps of a dock, even when the boat is still fifty yards away. In a car, it’s like trying to wrangle a wild boar into a steam shower, and when you finally get him in, it’s like someone has opened a spigot of drool in the poor guy’s mouth, then he shivers and pukes the whole time the car is in motion. It’s so, so sad.

We basically only have two ways to get these fuzzballs up north with us – by car or on the plane. And I’d love to hear your advice. You’ve heard what happens in a car, I can only imagine what will happen on a plane. And we can’t register him as a support dog. At least as far as I can learn online.

I know that back in the old days, people used to fly with dogs packed under the plane no problem. This was back before every dog owner claimed them as “support animals” and were allowed to bring them on board the plane. But we have to take Alaska Airlines and they have really cracked down on what is permissible for a support animal and we definitely don’t have the official paperwork for that.

So. It’s either in a crate underneath the plane, which is about a two and a half hour flight (plus the hour-long drive to the airport, the hour-long check-in, and the half-hour drive from the airport home) or a three-day car trip, which would include two stops overnight on the way. 

We’re visiting our vet on Friday to get some advice and anti-anxiety drugs, but I know there are a lot of dog people here on this site and figured I’d ask y’all if you had any experience with traveling with dogs and know the best/most humane way to do it.

Any advice is welcome, I really don’t want my poor little guy to feel like I did after getting off The Riddler’s Revenge. I want him to feel like he’s in high school about to shred a wicked solo on a knock-off Fender. Naked. 

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Rusty
1 month ago

Honestly, it sounds like heavy sedation via plane is the least form of suffering.
Pets are NOT allowed on planes in Australia. They have to go in the cargo section, so they HAVE to be sedated.
It’d be like a memory of a nightmare, instead of N-E-V-E-R going in a car agsin (like when you HAVE to due to a vet health emergency)!

YOUR VET IS THE EXPERT. 🐾🐾
Go with whatever the person with the degree and dedication of their life to the welfare of animals says.

Undoubtedly, this post will get a LOT of clicks and comments… but don’t take what we dog lovers/owners say as the best advice.
Listen to the expert and good on you for loving Oscar so much!!💞

EP
1 month ago
Reply to  Rusty

Most airlines will NOT take a sedated dog in cargo because they are at higher risk of dying and the airline doesn’t want to be liable!

I am an expert at this particular rodeo. Bring them in the car with you with appropriate medications on hand for nausea and anxiety.

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Rusty

Oh! And if you choose travel by car, please, please buy proper dog safety harnesses for Oscar and Buttercup.
We wear seatbelts for safety and ‘loose’ dogs can fly through the air and into windows, doors, seats and windscreens with heavy braking, collisions and roll-overs.

K
1 month ago

We travel with our rescue dogs pretty frequently and have had to fly them occasionally internationally for 12-20 hours at a time. If your dogs really don’t like the car, I think a short plane ride isn’t that bad. Anti anxiety medication helps. So does getting your dogs used to the crate beforehand, have it out in the open. Making it comfy. Treats inside. Letting them explore and get comfortable with it on their own time. Supposedly the vibration and white noise of being down under means most dogs just end up going to sleep while flying.

Also please don’t go claiming pets as support animals when they’re not aka abusing regulations meant to help people. There are many people who suffer from incredibly crippling anxiety and/or PTSD who genuinely NEED their emotional support animals in order to function. Let’s all try to keep that in mind… 

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  K

Good advice re: crate familiarization.

Tara
1 month ago
Reply to  Rusty

Agreed Rusty and K!! Crate familiarization is crucial. We have had 3 family dogs who **adore** their crates as their safe space and one recent addition who has separation anxiety and is TERRIFIED of the crate. There is NO crate familiarization for her. She needs anxiety meds just to BE crated. 🐶🙈🐕

Tara
1 month ago
Reply to  Tara

However, to be clear I recommend car travel for all the reasons stated below. I moved one of my pups from Denver to L.A. via plane many moons, and it took him months (maybe even longer) to recover. There are so many great recommendations below.

Carol
1 month ago

Even if you could get Oscar registered as a support animal, a plane trip with a couple hundred other people sounds like it would be hell for him, so that’s a non-starter. I think doggie downers are your best bet, and in the car with you, rather than in the hold (most vets don’t like to sedate animals flying in the hold as it messes with their equilibrium). I hope your vet will be able to prescribe the good drugs, and that the trip is as non-traumatic as possible.

Colleen
1 month ago

Alaska Airlines is the best airline for transporting animals. We used them when we relocated from Seattle to Baltimore; a stressful day for my rescue dog, but I spoiled him rotten afterwards. He forgave me quickly :-).

The emotional support animal racket was ridiculous and it was right for airlines to crack down. It’s not fair to people who are allergic to or afraid of dogs to have to be in a plane cabin with them for hours unless it is a highly trained and legitimate support animal. Even nice and good people were downloading fake permission letters and using them to avoid the $200 transport fee.

Your vet will give you the best advice, but it seems that given your dog’s issues with vehicles, getting the trip done in one transaction is going to be the least stressful for him (and you all).

Angela
1 month ago
Reply to  Colleen

Agree that Alaska Airlines is great for flying with pets. Flew with my 70lb dog from LAX to DC with him under in cargo and they were fantastic. Doggo was a bit shaken but bounced back quick. He’s not super anxious though so sorry can’t help there!

Anna
1 month ago

Car for sure. (But of course, listen to your vet!) I’ve heard too many horror stories of dogs flying — the thought of them sitting on the hot tarmac in a crate is making me feel like I just rode that same roller coaster at 35 and have to barf.
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/is-taking-your-pet-on-an-airplane-worth-the-risk-6241533/

Lori S H
1 month ago

I would drive them. It seems safer than traveling in the cargo area of a plane. Not to incite fear, but some of the stories I’ve read are not the most reassuring. You might want to look into it. Also, the pressure changes can really hurt their ears. If my dogs were not able to fly under my seat, I don’t think I would put them in the cargo area of plane unless it was a last resort. The vet can give relaxing medications for the car ride.

emma
1 month ago
Reply to  Lori S H

Yeah, I’m astounded by the number of people saying flying is the best option. It’s literally August, the west coast is having crazy heat waves (it was 115F here a few weeks ago!!!) and they are fluffy, thick coated dogs flying out of southern California. I wouldn’t put my dog in a cargo hold under any circumstances (and my vet agrees!) much less in this situation. Even if the cargo hold is conditioned (my understanding is that it often is not) they will be sitting on the runway at LAX for a while and then in the cargo hold while people board and wait for takeoff. Even if he has to endure nervousness and anxiety on the drive, it’s so much easier to deal with than the potential fallout of a cargo mishap, heat exhaustion, dehydration…plus you can actually see the dog and monitor his condition. If he’s currently loose in the car I would try a crate or car seat – my dog relaxes much more in the car when he knows he’s secure and not sliding around, and they should be secured for their own safety in the case of an accident.

HerselfInDublin
1 month ago

I don’t have personal experience of moving dogs long-distance, but I would suspect that if the car trip involves two overnight stops, then it will be impossible to get Oscar back into the car on Day 2. However I think the best advice has already been given – trust the advice of your vet, who is professionally invested in animals’ wellbeing. Whichever mode you choose, start giving both dogs Rescue Remedy now. Just two drops in their water bowls every day will calm them down a lot and help them not just with the journey but the massive change of moving to a new environment. It should also help with their general nerviness. You and the kids can take it too, as the move will undoubtedly be stressful for you as well – in the human case, just put two drops in your water bottle and sip throughout the day, or if the kids don’t use water bottles then just put it in their water at each meal. Google suggests you can get it in the US in health food shops (here you can also get it in pharmacies), but here is a link to order it online in the… Read more »

Rusty
1 month ago

I used Rescue Remedy (Bach Flower Remedies) with my dog Rosie when she was little, she had significant anxiety issues. It’s great, however, I don’t think 2 drops is enough. I used @ 4 as per what I researched.

In addition…since then, I’ve given her BLACKMORES COMPLETE CALM CHEWS. 1 a day, like a vitamin. Fabulous stuff…and very yummy for dogs. She thinks it’s her premium treat for the day.

I also sprinkle a verrrry small ampunt of Magnesium powder on her food and this helps with anxiety (as it does for people) and arthritis/inflammation, coz she’s 10 1/2 now.

Paula Carr
1 month ago
Reply to  Rusty

Interesting. Rescue Remedy didn’t work for our Max at all. I wonder if Blackmores are gettable here in the US.

Jeannine
1 month ago

Safest bet? Three days of trazodone (your vet can prescribe) and a car with multiple stops to decompress. Lots of sedated short car trips beforehand (take the pups out for a ride, 20 or 30 minutes) with ample, high value treats afterward. Rely on your vet for guidance!

Alice
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeannine

Do you think trazodone would be better than gabapentin? Gabapentin is my cat’s “event medication.”

Amber
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeannine

Second the trazodone for the car. It really helps take the edge off for one of my pups (way better than the CBD products I’ve tried).

You can try to acclimate Oscar to the car by starting with short trips and frequent rewards. A trainer suggested to us that we start by going just a few blocks, and pick up my husband at the end, so the dog associates the car with seeing his favorite people (plus treats of course). Then the trips can gradually get longer. It worked remarkably well.

Would advise against sending the dogs in cargo for the safety reasons others mentioned.

Alice
1 month ago
Reply to  Amber

Amber your comment gives me the opportunity to emphasize that CBD oil is not recommended for pets if you ask a Veterinary Internal Medicine specialist at Ohio State.

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Alice

Depends on which expert you ask. Many vets are pro CBD.

Catherine
1 month ago
Reply to  Amber

Totally agree with the trazodone rec – we used it post-neuter for our (hyper) golden retriever and it worked like a charm – kept him nice and chill.

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeannine

I don’t think they have time for acclimatizing Oscar with car rides and calmatives… they’re leaving verrry soon – someone suggested this when they first got the pups but it doesn’t appear to have happened.

Emily
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeannine

Agree with trazodone/car recommendation. We have one dog who is afraid of the vet and trazodone before vet visits keeps him calm and relaxed. He can get pretty dopey on it, so definitely keep an eye on him and help him get into/out of the car, be careful with steps, etc… Obviously listen to your vet, but if this is one of the options suggested, that’s what I would recommend. Also wouldn’t be a bad idea to reach out to a dog trainer to work on the car anxiety in general after you make the move to Portland. Good luck!

Sharon Good
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeannine

Second or third trazodone. Better to be knocked out than traumatized. Please , please no plane. Too many awful things can happen. I have heard some real horror stories. Would scare me to death

Sarah
1 month ago

Dramamine works for dogs. We also give our pup ThunderPup hemp chews during fireworks season and when there are big thunderstorms. I would be leery of sedation and dog in plane cargo. If you can get your pup to start eating ice cubes as a treat, it’s a great way to keep them hydrated on travel breaks. And just like kids with flu, they won’t puke them up.

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Sarah

All pets must go via cargo in Australia (unfortunately) and they do fine. Maybe our cargo gandlers are more used to it/different care standards, because they do it all the time??

Sarah
1 month ago
Reply to  Rusty

I think it’s sedation that introduces the risk/suppresses breathing. Not pet in cargo hold. At least here a lot of airlines won’t fly short nosed breeds (bulldogs, boxers) in cargo.

Anna Uliassi
1 month ago

Get some sedatives from the vet. Drive and make frequent stops. They’ll settle down after awhile. I’ve driven Ross country many times with various levels of nervous dogs and in the end they all were fine. I also recommend this thing that goes over the back seat. It’s like a hammock and is nice and cozy.

Dan
1 month ago

Our son recently moved from Austin to DC. Their cat had similar issues, so he drove the trip (alone) with both their cat and dog and drugged the cat. (Testing the appropriately needed suggested dosage days beforehand. Sounds awful but it’s probably the best bad option.

In younger days I solo drove from Bend, Oregon to LA in one insanely long day…so think you can do that drive in two days with just one overnight in a hotel.

I’d also suggest bringing along his Oscar’s sister Buttercup as his emotional support dog. Good luck!

CB
1 month ago

I think car is safer than plane but I don’t have experience flying my dogs. We moved 1800 miles with our skittish rescue. She doesn’t mind cars but dislikes hotels and strangers. It wasn’t fun but there have been no long term ill effects. Get some dramamine and sedatives from your vet and practice with short rides if you can. Our other rescue hated the car as a young dog but after multiple trips up and down the coast is finally ok with car trips!

Cate
1 month ago

I would never put my dog in the cargo of a commercial airplane. Way too many horror stories. I have two rescue dogs and three kids – our dogs love the car since it’s what takes them to dog parks and on adventures. If they didn’t, and we had to move 900 miles, one of us would drive them separately in a long day without many stops using a sedative, then fly back to drive with the kids as a couple (having family dog sit for 3 days…). Or the reverse – drive the family up first then fly back and drive the dogs.

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Cate

Cate, that’s a better idea!
The thought of rwo young, excitable kids and rwo dofs, one of whom is anxious and suffers with car sickness in a major way, just is too much for the dog.
Your idea is compassionate for poor Oscar.

Rachel S
1 month ago
Reply to  Cate

This seems really smart. Can you take the dogs up in a car as quickly as possible and move everyone else. Or take the dogs in an RV so they can be crated and comfortable and the driver can sleep and get them up quickly and safely.

Sarah N.
1 month ago
Reply to  Rachel S

Joined to say – RV with sedative and possible crates is the way to go! Have done cross country with a pukey dog and made in 90% of the way with minimal anxiety and no puking. Literally puked as we crossed the state line to our destination! 🤣 Also, try a Thundershirt?

Paloma
1 month ago

Good luck with your move! Last October we moved ourselves (2 adult humans), 2 cats, and 1 dog from California to New Hampshire. We decided to drive. The best choice I made was stretching the trip out. We would drive 1 day (max 6 hours of driving per day) and then hike/do things around a town the following day. This kept us and our active border collie pretty happy. If you end up driving, I would exercise your pups A LOT the day before you start off, so they are tired and a little happier just being still in the car. The cats hated the whole thing, and because they were so anxious, mostly stopped eating their food —even the delicious tuna cat soup they always love and that I hid their anxiety meds in. Unfortunately that meant that they rarely got a full dose of the anxiety meds the vet had prescribed. I thought the powder in the food would work because they gobble that down when they are sick. Obviously I would trust what your vet advises! Based on my experience, I would recommend that (1) if you drive, take it slow and try to wear the dogs… Read more »

Eve
1 month ago

I would go the plane. 5 hours in a crate vs three days in a car it’s a no brainer. It sounds like he hates it’s due to nausea not social anxiety so three whole days of travel would be so traumatic even if you hold his paw the whole way. When dogs and cats fly cargo they are in a pressurised temperature controlled space not shoved between suitcases. Usually vets will advise not to sedate for this as it can affect breathing and temperature regulation but maybe there is something safer your vet can suggest. As someone who has suffered motion sickness my whole life, cars are way worse than planes.

Cris S.
1 month ago
Reply to  Eve

Unless someone forgets to pressurize that area. It’s a separate button to push.

Vicki
1 month ago
Reply to  Cris S.

And cars can crash. Make sure you have identifying information on your dog’s collars (current cell number is also good at least on a tag) in case of craziness and a shot record might be advisable as well. While traveling Europe with my dog, I always kept a contact number for emergencies on the kennel in the car in case anything happened to me. One hotel I have used required the shot record.

Ash
1 month ago

We had to do this in December (we moved from Oregon to North Carolina!) and we chose to drive with our dog (who also hates riding in the car- he was afraid and barking the entire 2,600 mile trip, poor guy! But he was with us, and he was safe). I think it would’ve been even more traumatic for him to fly, and I’ve read too many stories about dogs dying in the cargo areas of planes. I could never forgive myself if that had happened, and I think that’s even more of a concern now with covid travel delays and staffing issues. I would worry about who is checking on the dogs and making sure they’re okay. And if the flight is delayed is the animal just stuck there on the tarmac inside the cargo area? Travel during covid this year has been really … less than smooth, and I would worry about the trickle down effects of that on live animals. If moving in the summer when it’s hot then I absolutely wouldn’t want my dog in the cargo space of an airplane. Some airlines won’t even allow animals in the cargo space if it’s over a certain… Read more »

Andrea
1 month ago

Talk to your vet but my guess is they will say car hands down. Soft sided carrier that both can be in would probably be best. Your very neurotic labradoodles bark the 1st 15 min of any car ride then curl up by one of the kids & sleep. I could not put a dog in the cargo hold of a plane. Just too many horror stories.
Side note: you can’t drop the description of that epic tshirt without a photo of it- totally not fair!

Andrea
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrea

*our labradoodles not your

Xio S.
1 month ago

I flew Alaska Airlines from Seattle to Ft Lauderdale with my 5ish old rescue. I had to “check” him so he flew with the luggage. We had to buy a specific kennel that was very roomy. Got it ahead of time to make sure he was comfortable with it. We also visited our vet who prescribed some drops which we gave him as he boarded the kennel. I basically prayed the whole flight that he was ok. When we landed and I picked him up he was a little woozy but very happy and more importantly safe. Alaska is a pretty stand up company and I would trust them again. Good luck with whatever you decide!

alexa
1 month ago

Follow your vet’s advice, but it will probably be some combo of sedatives plus car. The cargo hold is really not a safe space for pets and is to be avoided except where there is no other option. Lots of airlines will not even accept pets anymore because they’ve realized they cannot keep them safe and there is too much liability.

Shannon
1 month ago

Have two fur balls my self and have done the central Oregon drive/So Cal drive a few times my self. I had one who got car sick. Vet gave me pills for it. After time and some more years in age she stopped getting sick.

A
1 month ago

Flying is unfair to your dog; if they are afraid with you in the vehicle… imagine how they’ll feel in a large, loud, unknown space. My dog used to pant heavily in our ears/try to get in the drivers lap for HOURS! Even at his worst I would drive rather than subject him to flying. Talk to your vet, get some good drugs & pack high value treats like boiled cubed chicken. I don’t think he’ll touch treats if he is upset, but an empty marrow bone or kong frozen/filled with layers of chicken/yogurt/organ meat or wet dog food could serve as a bribe. Our dog trainer swears by them as a daily routine. Since you have a few weeks, focus on your dogs mental stimulation (snuffle mat/guess what hand the treat is in/etc) & exercise routines (2-3x per day of activity that gets heart rate up— not just a walk) & do brief daily training sessions where he is asked to walk up to the car… work in a sit or down right next to it. Basically every time he is near the car, he gets a high value treat. Work up to putting him inside the car for… Read more »

Veronica
1 month ago
Reply to  A

I second all of this! Focus on making the car less scary. I would not fly him; imagine how scared he will be, and you can’t guarantee his safety. Let us know how it goes! I know it’s really tough seeing our pups struggle.

Melinda
1 month ago

We moved from Seattle to NC in December and drove our dog (who also got sick in the car, not at all to the degree of poor Oscar tho). I have seen too many horror stories about dogs almost dying from heat exhaustion and dehydration after flying in cargo. Obviously sometimes that decision has to be made like when someone moves overseas, but I couldn’t do it while there was a different option. Trazadone is the anti anxiety they’ll probably give him, they should give him motion sickness meds too since it at least doesn’t sound like only anxiety but actual motion sickness… you can also try CBD treats for the anxiety (we like the best). He’ll probably need a combination of those (motion and traz or CBD) to be comfortable. Maybe take him on a few short drives to see what works best for him?? We had a much much longer trip and slowly weaned our girl off the meds so that by the end she wasn’t taking anything. And now she does fine in the car unmedicated!

Melinda
1 month ago
Reply to  Melinda

Also meant to add… IT WILL BE WORTH THE TREK, OSCAR!! Good luck to you all!

Melanie
1 month ago

I feel your pain! We moved from VA to CA years ago with our car-hating dog, but I will say in hindsight – it went pretty well. Yes, there was barfing (that is mostly out of fear rather than motion sickness I find) but with two overnight stops along the way, we just kept moving. My husband drove as fast as he could (not really) so we could get to the destination with the least amount of stress on our poor girl. Fast forward to today, we have two rescue pups that also hate traveling. We find they do great when they are together. When separated it is a disaster. Your vet will give advice, but dramamine will help with actual motion sickness. Other drugs just make them sleepy (so less barfing?). Side note about air travel: I know the employees do their best, but the dogs are cargo to them and they care about the safety of the plane and not our beloved creatures quite as much. That being said, my friend watched her dog (in the crate) fall 9ft off the loading area while being put on the plane. My friend is still traumatized from this (the doggo… Read more »

Cynthia
1 month ago

Plane- shorter time for anxiety maybe
Car- they can be with you
Either way I would try CBD OIL https://theislandnow.com/blog-112/best-cbd-oil-for-dogs-with-anxiety/amp/
But of course each dog is different. You have time to try different CBD oils prior to leaving and see how it affects him in the car

Kelly
1 month ago

Talk to your vet.

We had a dog who drooled uncontrollably in the car (barfing occasionally). Our vet said that was a sign of motion sickness. He had us give him Benadryl (dosage based on weight). It worked great. If he’s afraid of the car. I don’t have a suggestion that works in the short term. We have a dog who is terrified of strangers so, going to the vet is problematic. We dosed him with an anti-anxiety medication (as prescribed). After about a year he’s much less afraid and we don’t use the meds anymore.

I would try to do the drive all in one long day. With two people driving it’s not fun but, it is possible.

I use to be a travel agent. The airlines don’t even take animals in the hold during the summer from most places. I wouldn’t attempt it with a dog that isn’t already crate trained.

Karla
1 month ago

Definitely visit the vet and get all the good drugs for him. We have a nervous dog too which is frustrating because he is such a good dog otherwise; he just doesn’t handle new people or new situations well. He also doesn’t like car rides so we now medicate every time we travel. Most of our trips so far have been about 2 hours long to visit our parents and it seems the less stops the better. I’d definitely ask about giving the drugs a trial run before the actual trip so that you can see just how they affect him and make sure it works as intended.

Lauren
1 month ago

We’ve traveled over 700 miles with a dog and cat more times than I can count, but at least 2x a year for 6 years. Car, the heaviest sedation and anti-nausea meds your vet is comfortable with, and lots of their favorite things (snuggles, toys, treats, fetch, etc.) when you’re not in the car.
We opted to not fly bc the stress of being separated from us, potentially in the heat or freezing cold, and in a crate would be wayyy to much for our fur babies.
🙂

Jen
1 month ago

First things first, I would get the dogs used to being in crates if they aren’t already. Then, I would revise your travel plans. A straight 900 mile drive would be tough for they kids, I get that. But stretching out the drive sounds like a bad idea for the dogs. So maybe divide and conquer- you drive the dogs and Emily does a fun road trip with the kids/flies. Whoever is in charge of the dogs, I’d say don’t make the drive drag on any longer than is possible. The best answer is to put the dogs in crates, in the car, and drive. Stop for potty breaks, for you and the dogs, grab drive through, but just get it over and done with as fast as possible. If the dogs are medicated and have a great run before leaving, they won’t need much exercise during the drive. Going 65mph, you could easily do the drive in one (long) day. Maybe the plan was to make it a fun road trip and stop to see sights along the way, and maybe Emily does that with the kids while you are in the other car just booking it with the… Read more »

kk
1 month ago
Reply to  Jen

Great insight ! Dog transport plus kids fun adventure family road trip plus moving houses is too many layers given the temperament of the dogs. Simplify the goal and work with reality- One person driving the dogs in one shot is a 15-20 hour day but you get it over with in one simple mission and you know the dogs are safe!
This is a reminder to ALL of us pet owners to take the time to train our skittish pets to deal with carriers, cars etc..

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Jen

Jen, IF the dogs go via car, I’m totally with you….it’s not a fun road trip ehen you’re an anxious, motion sick dog.
Make it as fast a trip as possible with as few stops as you can!
You drive the dogs. Emiky flies with the kids.

Donna
1 month ago
Reply to  Rusty

Agree! Maybe consider hiring a dog trainer/sitter to make the drive with the dogs and care for them until you meet up in your new home. A professional will be more confident and dogs can sense if you’re anxious, which is understandable given your experience.

Deb
1 month ago
Reply to  Donna

I second Donna’s advice. I moved 1500 miles with two cats and two dogs. One of the dogs was not friendly to men and would show aggression if one came near me. I had my friend who is a dog groomer and trainer come with me. We were able to take time to find good places to let the dogs out for breaks and
also finding places that allow pets to stay can be trying unless you plan ahead. We took three and a half days to make the trip but I contribute the fact that she knows plenty about dogs and has a calming personality that made it much easier than it could have been.
Also there are professional dog movers who transport pets in vans but you would need to
feel comfortable with such and due to my dog’s issues with men I just couldn’t consider that option.

Holly
1 month ago
Reply to  Donna

Agree with Donna, if it’s an option! Dogs pick up on their peoples’ stress so easily; a confident dog-savvy third party might be a benefit for all parties involved!

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Donna

Yesssss!!!!!

Shannon Van Gundy
1 month ago

I have a young rescue dog who used to throw up every time we went in the car—even for the 10 minute drive to doggie daycare. He also had tons of anxiety when I first adopted him, which has gotten much better over time but will likely always be there to some extent. I worked with my vet and in addition to daily anxiety medication and extra anxiety meds when needed, I started giving him an anti-nausea medication in the car, which worked really well. After several months of no vomiting issues in the car, he started to be less freaked out by driving and now has no issues going in the car for short trips around town without the extra meds (he does still get them for long trips just in case)! No vomiting since last October. It seems like what initially looked like motion sickness might have been heavily influenced by fear. He’s a little guy, so a super comfy car seat has also helped by being a safe spot in the car. I’m sure you’ll do what’s best for your pups, but the nausea meds worked GREAT for us and it’s such a relief to be able… Read more »

Roberta Davis
1 month ago

Poor Oscar! I don’t have a dog and can’t offer advice, but I know how upset my son-in-law’s dog always was in the car. Good luck- I hope you find something that will get him there without tooo much trauma.

Steph
1 month ago

As others have said, definitely listen to your vet. Speaking from my own experience moving 2 cats and a dog cross country twice, I would recommend driving. If you are moving in a few weeks you’re talking about some of the hottest summer weather, some airlines won’t transport pets during the high heat because it’s dangerous for the pets since the airline can’t guarantee how long they will be sitting in heat waiting to be loaded on the plane and the heat can cause major issues. I have a corgi so very different size but I would only fly if I could take her and put her carrier under the seat.
Most recently, I drove from New England to the mountains of NC and my vet prescribed both cats and dog an anti-anxiety medication. I also put dog in a seatbelt harness, it seemed to make her more comfortable and is way safer. I took a good amount of breaks and ultimately just pushed through it. It wasn’t the best time in the world but we made it! Good luck on whatever you decide!

Jill
1 month ago

Dramamine works!! Moved my golden retriever from Chicago to Las Vegas and she slept the entire way which was a miracle. Normally she would vomit anytime we got in a car it was just torture for her to be in a moving vehicle. I talked with the vet and they gave me the correct dosage. I was so relieved that she never puked and just slept in the backseat the 3 days it took. Good luck!

Pat
1 month ago

We make the trip twice a year from Southern Az to Oregon with our 2 yr old Golden Aussie rescue. He’s a pretty good car rider most of the time. Get the drugs from your vet and you should be fine. One overnight stop, but check out the hotels ahead of time-call them, don’t rely on online info. Some have weight and or no. of pets limits. And be prepared to stop at rest stops to get the wiggles out. Few in the Central Valley, but we discovered that most Love’s Service Stations have fenced dog runs. Just enough room to run and sniff for a few minutes. Dog heaven!

Alicia
1 month ago

We lived internationally and had to move back to the US. We put our anxious dog in cargo for a 12hr flight and he did great. We gave him lots of exposure to the new travel required crate prior to the flight. He has loved that crate ever since, and he did not like his previous one. He will voluntarily go inside for the occasional respite, that’s where he goes when no one is home. I say that bc it’s made us feel better about his experience. He prob didn’t hate it or he’d be afraid of the crate. I’d prefer that to 12hrs with a puking/upset dog for sure!!

Tara
1 month ago
Reply to  Alicia

Curious, Alicia, what type of crate did your pooch end up enjoying?

All of our family dogs have loved their crates except for our latest addition who is absolutely terrified. We have crate trained every pup, and they have all loved their crates…until now. Our Aussie goes in and out of her crate all day, every day. It’s her safe space. Our Mastador won’t go anywhere near it. She thinks it is pure evil. 😂

I am interested in which brand/type ended up working for you!

Lynnette
1 month ago

Our dog is like this too and our vet prescribed us trazodone as others have mentioned and recommended we give it to him the night before, day of, and after we arrive to help ease the transition. It does help but I wouldn’t say it makes him super comfortable in the car, just mildly less stressed. Our main issue is he tries to stand the whole time and we keep trying to explain to him that even as a human, trying to surf your way through a car ride is not the way to go 😂 Our vet did mention they have stronger drugs if the trazodone didn’t work so I would just ask your vet what they recommend.

Rach
1 month ago

I would ask your vet about getting some Trazodone (for anxiety) and for some Cerenia (an anti-nausea medication for dogs) and would drive them.

Sadie
1 month ago

Drugs from the vet and crate in the suv or van. Good luck!

Lane
1 month ago

I flew my puppy in cargo for 9.5 hours in winter, so I’m not particularly scared of doing that. If I had to choose that option, I’d fly them both at the same time in separate crates. Having company might be less scary for both of them. It’s best to consult a vet you trust. I’d be afraid sedation could lead to hypothermia in cargo. I’d also be scared my dog chokes on vomit where I can’t help him. A car ride might be very long, perhaps you can make it into a road trip with frequent stops. I’d prefer that option unless the vet said it’s safe to fly. You are in a tough spot, whichever option you take. Hope it works out

Sonya
1 month ago

Aww poor Oscar! We did the same exact move 5 years ago (LA to Portland) and would highly recommend a car. It was nice to get out and have our dog, Olive, stretch her legs at dog parks along the way. We also snagged some anti-anxiety pills from our vet beforehand and I think those (combined with the overall tiredness she felt from the stress of it all) helped her to just sleep almost the entire time. We stopped at a dog-friendly hotel in Redding and did the whole drive in two days — three days would have made it harder on her. Good luck!

Betty
1 month ago

Only once did we take our dog on a plane from NY to CA and he was just so distraught that we never considered it again. The next trip from NY to CA was our move and Max rode in the car with us which was much better on him. Our current rescue hates cars, she needs to be carried otherwise she won’t go in and for that reason I would never put her on a plane. At least she has us in the car and we comfort her and she get’s many stops and treats to sweeten the deal. Being utterly skittish and frightened and alone in a cage on a plane would be too much for her, she’d be traumatized for life and I wouldn’t forgive myself if something happened. You’re moving in the midst of summer, the dogs would be subjected to very hot conditions until the plane takes off and then it becomes freezing cold in cargo. Please, don’t put them on a plane! Sedate them and do what’s necessary, but take them in the car with you!

Meredith
1 month ago

My first, best piece of advice is to work on yourself (note: this is not a snarky comment about you specifically, it’s general advice I’d give anyone 😊). Animals feed off our energy, so if you’re weird and anxious while getting into the car, they’ll be weird and anxious too. Do anything you can to reduce your stress while driving. Talk with your spouse about the plan for the day and trip ahead of time so there are no morning stress arguments. Prep slowly, and start way ahead of time so that there’s no mad dash to pack the car the day before/morning of that the animals can pick up on. Consider having one person do the final car packing while the other takes the dogs for a fun walk. Do not abandon your self care for the sake of getting out the door (e.g. go on that run if that’s how you de-stress). Have a good idea of how you’ll navigate, how you’ll keep the kids entertained, how you’ll tag team unpleasant tasks, and where you’ll sleep so you don’t have to make as many game time decisions when you’re stressed out. Get some wins under your belt to… Read more »

Alex
1 month ago

Hi there! Our dog suffers from motion sickness and anxiety and our vet gave us meds to help with both just for this very type of event! I’m pretty sure the motion sickness pills are just Dramamine but I felt most confident just doing whatever the vet recommended.

The combo works great and she’s able to travel comfortably. Highly recommend driving, with help and advice from your vet!

Karyn Meadows
1 month ago

You should drive your dogs in a car. If Oscar has issues in a moving vehicle with you there, imagine how much worse it would be if he was in a crate and separated from you with strangers moving him, not to mention the dangers of a dog in a cargo bay. Get some Acepromazine from your vet and give some to Oscar. It will calm him down enough to drive up to Portland.

Amy Elizabeth Jones
1 month ago

Ok, we need to see one of those t-shirts! Maybe auction one off for a charity? Too funny.

Laura
1 month ago

Brian, you are an EXCELLENT writer! Seriously, this post is great. Sorry I don’t have any help with your dogs, but just wanted to compliment you & encourage you to write more!

Libbie
1 month ago

It’s a 16 hour drive to Portland? You can drive that in a day. Get a friend to come with you and make it a road trip. You’ll have someone to help you with the dogs (if they are already not comfortable with other people or dogs, it’s going to be hard to manage them both on a leash for potty breaks). You’ll be glad for the help in case they do get car sick. Our cat gets car sick. We hold her food the night before and after she gets her pukes and diarrhea out in the first hour, she does better. I bought a car seat for her so she can sit up and look out the window. My daughter sits in back and changes out the puppy pads and has wipes to clean up. Our lab is a car lover. You can research dog parks and dog friendly rest stops etc ahead of time, Bring Fido is a good resource. With two of you driving, you can alternate driving and eliminate the need to stop and sleep. And when you get it Oregon, please socialize your dogs better. The last thing you’d want is to have to… Read more »

emma
1 month ago
Reply to  Libbie

You’ll know your friend really loves you if they say yes to that “offer”….

Lesley
1 month ago

When we moved from CA to Portland with a dog, a cat, and two 8-yr-olds, I flew up with the kids and my husband drove with pets. He did one overnight at a pet-friendly Airbnb. Seems like the best option for your situation too.

Emma
1 month ago

I have no experience with dogs on planes, so can’t help there. I don’t think you mentioned whether you crate them in the car… my dog isn’t super anxious, but does a *lot* better in the car if we crate him. If we don’t, he just can’t relax – jumping all over, panting, shedding. In the crate, he is totally chill for hours and is such a good traveler. Best of luck though! I’m glad you love your doggies so much!

Christa
1 month ago

See if the vet thinks flight and sedation would be easier on your dog than a drive with sedation. Take a night flight or super early morning flight so it will be cool.
If you decide to drive, again, drive early morning or late night or overnight. As someone who has driven from LA to Portland in a single day — I get why you might want to do 2 days, but it would probably be easiest on your dogs to have one long, sedated day vs a 3 day of unpleasantness. Take the dogs together, no kids, not a lot of stops, drive overnight when it’s cool and less traffic. The things we do for our pups!

Christa
1 month ago
Reply to  Christa

I should say I have 2 dogs and one is a high anxiety critter. My experience with Rescue Remedy was that it had little effect. CBD calming drops work well and it was highly entertaining to watch my dog behave like a stoner! I use Benadryl which is what my vet recommended.

Mallory W
1 month ago

We just did this with our pup who got bad motion sickness, is anxious and co-dependent. I’ve heard such horror stories about putting dogs in airline cargo that I didn’t want to do that do her. On recommendation from our trainer, we started issuing her crate in the car. That has made a world of difference. When we did our long trip, we just planned to make stops, used her crate at night in the hotel so she had her “safe space” and on longer or windy sections of road, we gave her some meds in the AM. By the end of the trip, she was a road champion and had gotten over a lot of her motion sickness. If you go this route, make sure whatever pad you have in the crate is a)extra cushy so the trip isn’t too bumpy and b) easily cleanable if necessary. We did have one incident but some wet wipes and a trash bag later and we were back in business. We also had a great time sight seeing and made stops at dog friendly areas.

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