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

  1. 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)!

    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!!💞

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  2. 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… 

      1. 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. 🐶🙈🐕

        1. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

    1. 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!

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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 US (no need to fund Jeff Bezos’s next space trip!). It’s vibrational medicine, so is completely non-toxic and won’t interfere with any other medications you or they may be taking. You’ll see the difference within a day or two. I always recommend people buy the smallest size bottle, as you end up giving it away to people – it’s great for any kind of shock or if you’ve sustained an injury, even just cut your finger chopping onions. You literally only need to use two drops at a time, and if you keep giving away the big bottle it’ll end up costing you a fortune!

    1. 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.

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

  7. 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!

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

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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!

    5. 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

  8. 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.

    1. 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??

      1. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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?

  13. 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 out with things they love (hiking, walking, swimming, etc) the day before and at pit stops along the way. If you have time to make it a five day trip, consider doing that and having two non driving days. (2) your dogs will probably know something weird is going on because you’ll be packing. I would anticipate that their anxiety might cause them to eat less, and I would have a backup anxiety medication plan (liquid syringe in mouth? Shot from vet for plane?) in case they don’t eat their meds.

    Again, good luck!! Either way you choose, you are going to make it. Your pups have a great life with you, and I’ll bet they are going to love the Portland farm!

  14. 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.

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

      1. 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.

  15. 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 temperature outside because the cargo area is not a temperature controlled space and can get very hot. For me, the only way I felt comfortable was to drive our dog so we would be taking care of him and know that he’s ok. My advice would be to drive and avoid putting them on a plane, but do what you’ve gotta do. I would ask your vet about the advice re heavy sedation on a plane- I would think that could be dangerous and put them more at risk of dying in the cargo area especially if they’re at risk of overheating, not getting water, etc- but I’m not a vet. Best of luck!

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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 a short moment (treating heavily, don’t even drive!) Increase time then work up to short drives. Might work, might not. You could also try crate training if you haven’t yet…but I think it would be easier to work on getting your dog to view the car more positively (exercise & mental stimulation help dogs successfully train, so it’s just as important to focus on that) It took my pup a few years to get over his hatred of travel— good luck!

    1. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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 is AOK but probably some PTSD).
    Try and enjoy the adventure if you can, but expect some barfing and unpleasantness just like Magic Mountain 🙂

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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 dogs. Especially if you are stressed about the trip, and know it will be tough for the dogs, this seems like the best solution. I’d be very nervous about the dogs flying during the summer heat.

    1. 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..

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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!

  27. 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 to be able to take him places now. Good luck to sweet Oscar!

  28. 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.

  29. 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!

  30. 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!

  31. 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!

  32. 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!!

    1. 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!

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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

  36. 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!

  37. 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!

  38. 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 build your confidence. Start desensitizing the dogs to the car. Use baaaaaby steps, reward small wins (e.g. dog walked calmly to the car=treat), end on a win and don’t get over ambitious and try to learn multiple baby steps in one day. Get the meds from the vet. Practice giving meds one day. Once you’ve got that down, Give the meds and take a short drive another day. Give meds and take a longer drive on a third day. You may notice that there’s a lot of energy and stress when you first get in the car, but after an hour or so, the dogs kind of chill out.

    I also personally recommend using crates to transport dogs in the car. It’s the safest way for them to travel, and it will help contain any messes/accidents. Adding puppy pads on top of the comfy bed so that you can just toss any vomit or pee (rather than having to scrub it out of a seat at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere while the kids run wild).

    Also, talk to your vet about changing up their feeding schedule so they aren’t dealing with a full stomach when they first get in the car. I’ve had good luck with switching the animals to one larger meal before bed time and no breakfast on our cross-country drive. Obviously they get all the water they want, throughout the day.

  39. 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!

  40. 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.

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

  42. 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!

  43. 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 put them down or re-home them because they bit your kid’s friends. If you don’t have the time, hire a trainer to do it. Co-dependent and stranger wary are pretty big red flags but you have time to intervene still.

  44. 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.

  45. 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!

  46. 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!

    1. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. Hi!
    My dog also gets motion sickness in the car! We took a 12 hour trip from NC to Chicago to visit my family and gave him medicine that the vet prescribed for motion sickness and he did GREAT! Didn’t throw up once. You can also break up human Dramamine and give small doses, just consult your vet first to see how much. And maybe do a trial drive with the medicine to see if it works!
    Good luck!

  49. My dogs (RIP) loved the car so I don’t have experience with a dog that doesn’t. I agree with the commenters who say follow your vet’s advice, and also who gave advice about desensitizing training with your dog which I’d recommend you start doing ASAP. Any little bit of improvement will only make things easier on Oscar and everyone else.

    A Duck Duck Go search led to this good article on desenstizing technique

    and this one has some info on what to do to help a car sick dog “sea legs”.

    A relative of mine used to drive from Illinois to Florida and back again 2 times a year with 2 dogs and 2 cats. They had a station wagon (yes a long time ago) fitted out with 1 large crate for the dogs with beds, and a 2 story “cat condo”. With the back seats folded down there was enough room.

    Having something Oscar loves and with his scent on it may make him feel more assured.

    Good luck!

  50. Oh. In the article I linked above I saw they mentioned Adaptil Diffuser Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) . Definitely ask your vet about it! It might be useful with the desensitizing training!

    This is made by the same company that makes a similar product for cats that was recommended to me by the animal shelter for helping my new cat get settled. I think it’s worked for my cat.

  51. Hello! I have an older rescue dog with fear issues and, I’m going to sound like a huge yuppie, but dog prozac has 100% changed his quality of life from bad to great!
    We held off on prescription “drugging” him and tried everything (thunder shirts, CBD oil, calming treats, etc etc). We also tried some sedatives intended to be used only during fearful events, not every day, but it just wasn’t really working. Nothing even touched his fear of fireworks, and he got to the point where nearly every noise made him panic and shake in fear (and in our LA neighborhood people set off fireworks year-round). It’s not like he loves fireworks now but he has a normal response to them. And regular noises don’t set him off anymore.

    So I highly HIGHLY recommend dog prozac, our vet also gave us acepromazine (I think) for plane rides and the 4th of July, but that’s a real “doped up” sleepy-type sedative, it works great but we basically never need it. But it might be nice for your guy for a long car ride.

    This is getting really long, but I’d never fly my large dog in the cargo hold during the summer. The airlines sometimes lose dogs, dogs die due to exposure to extreme temperatures, I just wouldn’t risk it. I’m sure it’s terrifying for them to be away from you, stuck in a crate with all those loud scary noises, so I wouldn’t fly my dogs in cargo unless I absolutely had to, but 100% not during the summer. Good luck with your trip!

  52. Highly recommend acclimating your pups to the car. That said, I would also recommend using a crate in the car.
    We had a hound that hated being in the car. When we had to travel about 7 hours having her travel in her crate with her favorite blanket, a kong and a crate cover helped tremendously.

  53. Definitely talk to the vet! Friends had to fly their dog back to Germany, and they were on the plane, looking out of the window, as their dog was removed from the plane because she’d repeatedly jammed her head into the crate, breaking several teeth, and bloodying herself. They had to continue on to Germany, while she had to stay at our vet’s for several weeks recuperating. They had an expensive special crate built, a friend drove the dog 8 hours to Chicago so she could have a nonstop flight, and she snuck some drugs into the dog at the recommendation of the vet, but against the rules of the airline, before dropping her off. It was traumatic for the dog, the family, and all of us who loved the dog. In case you can’t tell, I am team car for dogs!!

  54. I second all of the recommendations to familiarize yourself with some of the horror stories of dogs flying as cargo. I’ve made cross country road trips with many dogs over the past 20 years – some love the car, some hate it. For those that hate it, here is what has helped significantly – if you can, fold down all of your back seats to make a large flat area for them, and then line the area with blankets and pillows. I have a mid-size suv with two rows of seats in the back – when all is folded down, it’s the equivalent of a double bed. My 75 lb golden hates crates, and is not comfortable on unstable ground/non-flat seats. The flat back seat and 360 degree sight-lines to the outside help him relax so much! I even use duffel bags for my own luggage when traveling by car, and my dog frequently uses them as a headrest/pillow. And the more you travel in the car, the better – they will get used to it. My dog used to cry and cry, and frequently try to come into the front seat. With these adjustments, he doesn’t like car rides/roadtrips, but he now tolerates them just fine.

  55. I’m a cat owner so it’s different I suppose but my cat is also anxious in the car and we moved a 10 hr drive away to Portland some years ago. The vet gave us gabapentin for the cat and it worked amazingly well. He was quiet and ok the full time in a kitty crate, really saved us and him a lot of pain! Recommend going with an anti anxiety med of some sort and we did a trial run of a dose to make sure he had no reaction to it days before our move. Good luck and GET AC WHEREVER YOU LIVE BEFORE MOVING TO THE FARM AND AT THE FARM BECAUSE ITS INSANELY HOT HERE AND I DON’T HAVE ONE – NEEDED! 🙂 Sorry for the all caps but it’s been quite a summer up here.

  56. I no longer have dogs…or cats but read every comment. Car drive for me.
    But mainly Brian i want to say…When are we going to get your first book? You are a great writer! I am so not kidding. You really could-should consider a book, not just a blog or short ..whatever. You must have some books in you. Can’t wait! I’ll be the first to buy!

  57. Brian, I would follow your vet’s instructions. Your pup might need anti-anxiety and anti- nausea, which your vet will advise you on. Good luck!

  58. I know a lot of pet owners who swear by renting an RV for big moves. It doesn’t feel like a car, and it makes the trip easier on kids, too. (You can even plan to stop and camp over night, so the move feels like an adventure.)

  59. We travelled 2,000 miles with four kids and a dachshund in a station wagon (this was back in the day when I was a kid), but our Carla was mellow and cool with the car.
    Now, we have rescue Max (a mostly dachshund) who is terrified EVERY SINGLE TIME he gets in the car. It’s really pathetic, and, if anybody has a solution for short trips, I’d appreciate it! We’ve tried getting him accustomed, but it’s not working.

  60. We just moved our golden retriever from San Francisco to Nashville. She hates riding in cars, but hates being in a kennel more. There is no way we could have put her on a plane, so we all sucked it up and she behaved pretty well, considering. We did give her some relaxation pills the first day, but having her favorite dog bed, bowl, food, etc., seemed to be the key. We stopped only at rest stops for her to get out and walk a little — we ate picnic style for lunch and always gave her a treat and some water. We took the dog bed into the motel room every night and it really provided her comfort. I’m not saying she ran to the car every morning, but being with us was very important to her and it seemed to work.

    This may be unnecessary to say, but we saw several dogs “escape” their owners which was pretty frightening, so do be sure they have their leashes on before your open the door. (We also made sure her chip was correctly registered and new tags showed cell phones only and not old land lines — again, you have probably thought of that.)

    Good luck to you all.

  61. I haven’t read all the comments, but most airlines won’t take big dogs (aka in the hold) before October or November. It’s just too hot and not climate controlled.

    10/10 I would only drive my dog unless moving overseas. Talk to your vet. Gets meds. But I think flying is a horrible option. You give all control of your already anxious dog over to an understaffed airline. I have traveled 8k miles since January with my dog and horse. The dog used to get kind of carsick, but he’s fine now. However I’ve had many dogs that are frequently carsick. My experience is that they do better on long drives with fewer stops/starts. So do it in maybe two days, but just get it done and don’t make it the scenic tour.

    Ive fostered over 50 dogs and transported from Texas to Montana and in between. I own 8 dogs of my own currently.

  62. We have a 4 year old-50 pound rescue who sounds very much like Oscar. We traveled with him by car to Miami this past February- over 1000 miles and a 2 day trip as we had not seen my family in a year. It was close to 18 hours in the car- long!! I think the longest trip the dog had been on prior to that was when we brought him home. We gave our dog trazadone and while he did get sick within the first 45 minutes, after that he settled down and was very good both on the road and in the motel. We did not feed him breakfast for either travel day. We did put his dog bed in the back seat of the car and elevated it, so he could see out the window even though he was strapped in to the seat belt. I personally would never put him under a plane- my dog would be way too stressed out. This way, even though it’s a long drive, your dog can see you the whole time, and for my dog, that is always reassuring.

  63. Car the whole way! I put my malamute on a non-stop from Portland to Burbank…and she was lost. For 48 hours that poor pup was in various locations, never let out of her crate. They fed her food and water through the screen. I heard her howling in the background when they “found” her. Take the car trip. Get meds. Take and extra day. Stop in some place like the Sequoias for an afternoon to play and run. Make the transition an adventure for everyone. An extra day to have fun for everyone.

  64. Drive. We just did 2500 miles with one who hates hates cars and had the same puking issues for a long time and is highly anxious. I have just heard wayyy too many horror stories about flying dogs in cargo holds ending up dead. We made sure to create a safe space for her in back with our other dog, brought towels for clean up if needed, and made stops every 2 hours for walks/water/potty. I have made the drive you are making at least a dozen times and were are plenty of places to stop and rest for the dogs.

  65. There’s too many comments to read and maybe someone already said this. I have had cats and dogs that drool and puke and hate car rides. I would drag them in the car everyday and go to DQ or whatever and get them some French fries. Cat, didn’t work well. Dogs got real happy about car rides. But 2 weeks, you don’t have long to turn his attitude around.

  66. I would vote for the car. One of our Shepherds got car sick. We gave him Bonine morning of which helped a lot. No water or food the morning of the trip. If you are stopping at night he can eat and drink then. We would pull over periodically to let him stretch his legs. Maybe give you dog a small amount of water then. Our dog was stressed out the entire drive but I think being with us helped. My gut says driving is better, you can comfort him. If you have the room crate him in the car then if he has an accident it will be easier to clean and less stressful on you guys.

  67. I SWEAR YOU HAVE ASKED THIS QUESTION BEFORE AND I SWEAR I HAD RECOMMENDED CERENIA. CERENIA IS A PRESCRIPTION MOTION SICKNESS MEDICATION FOR DOGS. YOU GET IT FROM YOUR VET. IT ALSO RELIEVES STOMACH DISCOMFORT. I was writing in all caps in hopes that you actually read my comment this time? Gabapentin is a mild sedative and pain killer. Does nothing for motion sickness and stomach discomfort. Trazadone is a strong sedative. Also does not do anything for motion sickness or stomach discomfort. There are no veterinary guidelines for CBD so you would be best guess dosing. Not ideal. If your dog has anxiety treat them with anxiety medication like fluoxetine (Prozac) every day. If your dog has motion sickness treat them with Cerenia situationally (usually a 3 day cycle). My dog takes both!

    1. They did ask this question before and the answers were car sickness meds and acclimatizing….but….well, they don’t gave time for that now. Oops!

  68. Driving is 100% the way to go. There are very effective anti-nausea medications for dogs that help with motion sickness. I’ve been part of a rescue that transports dogs sometimes thousands of miles away from Dallas to Minnesota and other states. We transport all kinds of dogs. The drugs works very well.

    The simple advantage to you doing it yourself is you. If something goes wrong or if they get anxious in the car, you’re there. If something goes wrong in the hold of an airplane, there’s no one. No one to help, no one to comfort. Imagine a child in that situation. With no one to comfort them as they’re possibly dying. That’s your dog if something goes wrong in the hold of that airplane. Just something to think about.

  69. My dad is a retired major carrier airline pilot. They called the area where they transported animals “the doggy killer.” That’s all I’ll say about that.

    1. Gah! 😖 The handlers must be very different in the USA. In Australia pets are NOT allowed on planes. So maybe the handlers here are more used to living things.
      Hones, that’s horrible and sad.

  70. Please, please, please, if you choose to drive the pups, make sure there is a second adult in the car. Not only the dogs will need potty breaks; but you will too. It is absolutely not safe to leave your dogs alone in the car when you head to the restroom. It will be too hot to leave them in a car without the air on and it’s not safe to leave the car on to provide AC when no adult is in the car.

  71. Just drive. Flying is a last resort. Coat the back of your car in blankets. Layers of blankets. Or towels. Maybe peel off and throw away layers as you drive up, if they were cheap/ratty anyway. Accept that there will be puke. Maybe drive during a time of day when he’s usually asleep, and/or take him for a long, long, long walk beforehand. Maybe also halve his food that day if he’s not going to keep it down anyway.

  72. Definitely fly the kids up and then drive the dogs up. Dealing with young kids and a dog that has motion sickness sounds like literal hell. Either that or sedate the puppers and put them on the plane for the quickest route through tummy hell. What an unfortunate situation!

  73. From what I’ve heard from animal rescues, the area of planes that pets ride in is typically not air conditioned/heated, so can actually be quite dangerous for them in the summer/winter. Maybe you can do some short rides around the block and build up over time? Or just get a hotel/air bnb and do the drive over several days with your dog taking some form of Benadryl or something? I wouldn’t take a dog on a flight if it couldn’t ride under my seat. But not an easy decision! Good luck!!

  74. I would definitely drive the dogs over the 3 days. My family dog used to get motion sickness too (drooling, vomiting, shaking etc.) which we quelled by letting him sit shotgun with the AC on full blast. He’d put his snout up to the vent for the entire trip and seemed better than if he was in the backseat. If the dogs are in cargo, they’ll probably experience motion sickness/anxiety anyway, but you won’t be there to see it or give them comfort. Plus if they have to relieve themselves (whether they can’t hold it, or just because they’re nervous), they’re stuck in the crate in their own feces and/or urine for the entire trip. Plus it’s very hot in the summertime.

    I flew 1200 miles twice with 2 cats in the cabin and it was hell both times. The first time the cats went undrugged and they howled the entire trip. The second time we drugged them with anxiety meds from their vet, which was better for my partner and I, but it took the cats months to recover from it, hiding for most of the day, and they temporarily became skittish/untrusting of us.

  75. I tried several methods: treats, road stops, successively longer trips, etc. The thing that worked was taking them to nearby parks for walks. Once they got into their minds that they would be going in the car to go for a walk and see other dogs (especially a free reign dog park), they were hooked. I still have to manually put them in the car, but they are ok. Getting french fries at the fast food joint works a little bit also, but it was the parks. Did it for a couple months. We just came back from a cross country road trip and they had no problems.

  76. Long time lurker, first time poster:

    As I’m sure some people have researched or heard of, there are professional pet transportation services with qualified people who drive your pets (and only YOUR pets) from point A to point B. It is not cheap. However, the best ones are heavily VETTED and are masters at making the animals feel comfortable and confident. They make a ton of road stops for walks/potty/etc and for the nervous animals, a second person will sit in the backseat (usually a roomy SUV) and hold or comfort the animal/animals. This is a great option if you have kids (balancing the animal to kid to adult ratio in a road trip is hard, as we all know) or animals that don’t do well with crowds/loud noises of a plane.

    I used one once for a particularly difficult cross country move, and they sent me photos and videos during the drive, and my anxious dog was happy as a clam. With the research and the budget, it might be a worthwhile option- ideally more care than an airline can reasonably provide and less anxiety than a packed car.

    Definitely not the option for everyone and every pet, but might be worth looking into!

  77. I’m a vet as well as a dog owner, and I am heartened by how many comments recommend talking to your vet and by the fact that you’re already planning to! I would STRONGLY recommend the car rather than a flight, and meds for nausea and anxiety – in general I’d personally recommend Cerenia for the former and Trazodone +/- Gabapentin for the latter, but as many other lovely readers have said, listen to your vet 🙂

  78. I’m from Los angeles and now live up in Seattle as of the past almost 2 years and have done the drive with my 2 dogs a few times. There is a site BringFido which has things all travel with your dog related for along the route. I also googled Dog Parks along the way and would stop a couple of times a day for them to play (in addition to potty breaks)

    There is this frozen raw bone by Primal which I get at the local pet store which, one my dogs is a husky, and it took her multiple hours to get through. And that may distract your furries.

    Also, regarding places to stay that are located everywhere, La Quinta allows pets to stay free and no breed restrictions (at least at the ones I’ve been to), and I recently found out Motel 6 started doing the same deal.

    A friend of mine who goes with her husband and their dog multiple times a year from Los Angeles to Carmel, (nor cal) told me about a sound machine for their anxiety.

  79. My husband and I had two dogs with similar attitudes. One enjoyed rides as if they were the adventures of a lifetime and the other one threw up all over the seat and had to be dehydrated from slobbering so much. One summer we borrowed a friend’s RV (32 ft.) for a vacation with the two (large) dogs. We thought with the extra room the sensitive dog might feel like she was more at home. The one with the anxiety did great and seemed to enjoy the trip (no anxiety-no slobber, even slept!) The bigger dog was up front scouting the route and enjoyed each moment of the adventure.

  80. Have you tried a car crate? It has been a game changer for our anxious pup. She used to be super anxious in the car to the point of jumping on us while driving. The crate in the car has made her a totally different dog. She now naps while we drive!

  81. We have a small rescue dog with intense anxiety and have flown with him (in a underseat crate in the cabin) and driven with him for 12+ hour trips and overall prefer driving. Our vet prescribed medication (trazadone) for travel that has greatly helped with both his comfort and our sanity (and highly recommend talking to your vet about your options, both for travel and general anxiety)

    He hates being crated (even after several months of acclimation) so even on medication and with us within eyesight, was very agitated for the entirety of the 2.5 hr direct flights. In the car, he hasn’t gotten sick but even if he did, not having to crate is a huge benefit for us so I think we would still prefer it. We make sure he’s well exercised, give his meds 30 mins before, bring his blankets in the car, give him special treats as we start, and stop every 3-4 hrs for water/potty breaks. He used to whine for the first hourish of a drive and get agitated any time we slowed down, but now he usually settles down and sleeps for the majority of any long drive.

    It’s a tough situation because you can’t explain that everything will be okay and it’s heartbreaking to watch them be distressed. If you choose to fly, many airlines require the animals to have a health check certificate, especially if they will be in the cargo hold, so making an appointment with your vet soon is important.

  82. Absolutely follow your vet’s advice. They will know your pups the best.

    I’ve made three long distance moves. First from WA state across country to the state of Maine. Dead of winter. Nor’Easters in full force. My large goldendoodle flew crated in a climate controlled section of cargo in the plane. Sedation was NOT allowed by the airline for safety of the animal. Alaska Air was the only airline with such a section and only allowed two dogs to be in the cargo space at a time. It was a very long trip (13 hours) and there was a plane change. No time to potty between plane changes. I was terrified something would happen, but I received a paper that she was safely on board each time snd I could see her crate being loaded onboard. She was nervous but did ok. No accidents. Long wait at airport with shuttle to where my car was to be delivered, but I found a place I could let her out safely on leash.

    Returning from ME to CA by car in the spring a couple of years later. Virtually non stop driving with my son along to help. I gave her a Benadryl for the curvy parts of the trip do she would sleep and we were careful where we stopped briefly for relief and food.

    Last summer, during extreme CA heat (119) and forest fires thick with smoke, dropping ash everywhere, I retired and drove non stop back to WA state with another adult child to help me. This time with TWO large dogs. One rescue dog requires Prozac daily. She mostly slept the whole way. My faithful 10 year old doodle was a seasoned long car ride champ by this time and didn’t need anything except a window cracked open in the back for air to circulate along with the AC. She just wanted to sniff out the territory along the way.

    Remember that if you are nervous they will sense it. If you are calm about everything, they will be as well.

    Good luck snd happy traveling however you choose to go!

  83. Definitely the car. As a rescue he probably has abandonment issues – and even though the flight is shorter, the dog won’t be with the family or his sibling – very traumatic for a dog with anxiety. I would suggest that Emily or Brian sit with the dog while the other is driving, that way you can continue to soothe the dog with petting and words. Plenty of potty breaks help also. Speak to your vet and get their counsel as next to y’all they should know your dog best.

  84. Don’t try to say they are emotional support animals. It’s a shitty thing to do and taking advantage of the system for people who need it. You should be ashamed of yourself for even considering it.

  85. We have a rescue dog who rode in a car across the country with us seven years ago, and is about to go back with us in a few days. He doesn’t usually get sick, but in the Midwest, during a stop, he swallowed a peach pit which made him very sick. We had to go to a vet and get antinausea medication. It made him sleepy but didn’t stop him throwing up. Although I think it may have made him calm enough to finally throw up the pit which fixed everything. So in addition to the medication your Vet prescribes, make sure you have washable seat covers on your back seats where the dogs ride, an extra cover in case you need to switch it out, and a restraint to keep your dogs safely in the back seat. Take breaks and walks as much as possible. Good luck!

  86. Absolutely do not fly a dog during the summer — do a quick Google search about dogs dying on the tarmac/airline negligence and you will realize it’s not remotely worth the risk! I have a dog who gets super sick in the car who we had to drive cross country: we got anti-nausea meds from the vet and they worked like a charm. He was totally fine. Driving ftw!

  87. Have you considered a “Thunder Shirt” for Oscar? It’s a jacket that “swaddles” a dog’s body and resolves anxiety issues for many dogs.

  88. My french bulldog didn’t like car trips at all. The only thing that would calm her down was the ability to travel in her usual bed in the back seat. She had her pad, her pillows, her familiar odors and that would make travelling less stressful. She still could be fastened. Also, I heard that certain plants help dogs (they’re called “fleurs de Bach” in French so that would be Bach Flowers in English). Good luck !

  89. It’s a 2-day road trip with our dogs every summer to get to our summer home. Our roster of pups changes ever few years, unfortunately, because we rescue older dogs and usually their average time with us is less than a puppy’s. Their car compatibility varies. I can tell you that if you prioritize their comfort, you will have an easier time. Think of your dog’s regular behaviour and prepare to accommodate in the car: are they a clingy lap dog? If so, one of you needs to sit beside them the whole time. Does the dog run hot all the time? If so, your vehicle’s windows needs shades or tinting and you need to make sure the A/C is going; if the dog is uncomfortable, he will be awake. Make the seats comfortable by having sheets and/or blankets down, especially if your dog likes to dig and “nest”. If your dog prefers being on pillows in the house, bring a pillow in the car. Have water available to your dog; offer him water; I’ve had several dogs who, when they got in the car, got particularly thirsty, especially dogs on heart medications. I recommend a Gulpie and keep filling it with bottled spring water so you don’t get bad hotel water. Ask your vet about Cerenia Green, it’s for nausea & vomiting – very useful and inexpensive. Bring his favorite treat as a reward whenever he hops back in after stopping along the way. Bring disposable pee pads for vomiting in the car; line your seats under the sheets / blankets with them, and the floor, too, until you know how it’s going to go. Bring a roll of paper towels, a garbage bag, and moist towelettes. Do your best to make it as positive for him as possible.

  90. We had to fly out dog from Asia to Canada so didn’t have the driving option. He was traumatized and never has been the same since. I feel so bad about it and it made the entire flight hell wondering how he was doing. I will never fly a dog again. If you do go that route, they typically don’t allow meds as it can be unsafe. Also remind remind remind the flight attendant that there is a dog on board in cargo – sometimes the pilots don’t get that message and they need to depressurize that area. It’s also extremely loud and often hot or cold down there depending where you fly. It’s a big no for me for animals.

  91. Just took my 1-year-old Maltese mix by train from DC to NYC for vacation. I would recommend walking them to tire them out, don’t feed them too close to leaving, and sedate them (my vet recommended 1/2 tablet of Benadryl). Make sure they walk after the day and make their space really calming. My dog did great for the trip.

  92. My daughter had to move her 2yr old Old English Sheepdog from Korea to the US. Harry hated being kenneled so she was extremely apprehensive about hoe he would fare. Airlines don’t allow sedation anymore. When she picked him up she was amazed at how well he did. Just like people sometimes dogs have to adjust for a period of time.

  93. We regularly (every few weeks) travel 800 miles via car with our 2 dogs – one is highly anxious (however, thanks to our veterinarian she has medication that helps her relax/sleep for the entire 14 hour drive in her cozy little crate. She is able to wake up and get out for potty stops). We have friends who have a horror story about flying their dog via cargo where they watched their golden retriever running around the tarmac while they were boarding the plane – true story!). I would personally never put my dogs through such an ordeal. I would rather be the person caring for my dogs on a stressful journey than relying on strangers who work for the airline industry. We also adopted our previous dog through a rescue org and he was flown to us – the poor guy never recovered from that experience and we ended up with a super anxious dog for his entire 14-year life. Putting an already anxious dog on an airplane alone… not the way I would go. Talk with your veterinarian, ask about medication options and try it out before the move. It was a game changer for us.

  94. I’ve got a great idea here why don’t you take a flight in a crate in the bottom of the plane which is unpressurised and has no heat and tell me how you feel. Put the dogs in the car and just drive and deal with it. I want thank God you’re moving to Portland because once you’re there you can think you’re cool only to turn around and realize you’ve missed the boat by 10 years and you’re now part of the problem

  95. I would opt for taking Oscar with you in the car. Light medication per the advice of your vet and these experienced pet owners. He’d be traumatized by being in the cargo hold, I fear. Best of luck and please let us know how it goes.

  96. In today’s travel environment, there is no way I’d fly any animal anywhere — and especially not in the hold area of the plane. Flights being delayed, canceled, etc. is a recipe for disaster your animal. If your animal is stressed about travel, don’t make it worse by abandoning him in a scary situation. At least in the car he knows you’re with him. Sedating an animal for travel is usually not advised. The medication can often have the opposite effect, especially in animals who are stressed to begin with. As far as nausea and vomiting go, we give our cats Cerenia and you can give it to dogs as well. The animal will absolutely not vomit on this medication, but it does nothing for stress. There is no easy way here for your animal or for you, but at least with you in the car you know he’s safe.

  97. I have been making regular 1200 mile trips with my dog, who is terribly prone to motion sickness. I only take him via car. He travels in the back seat in his crate (his “safe place”). The vet gave him a prescription which does a great job eliminating his motion sickness (so many mountain passes!). We take frequent breaks at rest stops and stay overnight at pet friendly motels. He’s done great. I think it helps having objects that are familiar to him- his teddy, blanket, and crate. The prescription is definitely the key, though, to a no-vomit trip. Good luck!

  98. Renting a full-sized van or large SUV with an open unseated area in the back might make a driving trip easier for the dogs AND the humans. It would give the dogs a less confined feeling and prevent a panting, drooling dog hanging its head over the back of someone’s seat if they don’t settle down. Definitely need two adults in the car regardless, based on experience…

  99. Our dog has severe anxiety about the groomer. Like he freaks out pants runs tot he back of the car and shakes uncontrollably. We have started giving him CBD bones about 30-45 min before the vet and the vet says he falls asleep during the grooming now and is relaxed the entire time. They are all natural and should be easy to pick up.
    Dogs should be relaxed. Id do a car trip my dog would not make it through a plane ride in the cargo. Just would be very traumatic for them.

  100. Agree with everyone who’s recommending car vs plane. Our little dog flies as a carry-on and takes trazodone and still hates it. We just moved our family (two kids and the dog) from CA to PA so we had to fly, but if I was doing your move I’d drive for sure. Trazodone really helps and at least you’ll be able to keep an eye on them. If you can figure out how to do it in two days, I would, just to minimize the stress for everyone. LA to Bay Area in a day isn’t too bad, even with little kids. And the same for Bay Area to Portland. We do let our kids watch movies & play games the whole time though, so if that’s not your parenting style I could see that you might need to break it into three!

  101. 100% Car. No, 150% car. Please don’t put them on a plane.
    I have moved across country twice with my dog. (NY to CA and then back again).
    I did once via plane and once via car.
    My dog is 25lbs so she is right on the borderline of being allowed under an airplane seat. Due to this, I called multiple airlines asking about their pet policies, where the pets are, what happens if there is a delay etc etc.
    As we know airlines are responsible for lost / damaged baggage & that is what your dog is treated as – baggage. One airline literally said “If your dog dies, you may be able to get $1,000 compensation”, um… WHAT?? I yelled at that airline quite loudly for a while.
    If the plane is delayed, going out or coming in, your pups will be in a loud, dark container. Even if they are sedated they are alone. Temperature control is not guaranteed. Gentle handling of their carrier is not guaranteed. Their safety is not guaranteed. The ONLY reason I traveled with my pup by plane is because I found a soft carrier that was under seat size and she JUST fit in it. If they had tried to take her away for being too large – I would have walked away with her and lost the plane ticket. Luckily I was seated next to a dog lover and my dog was able to ride on my lap with no one complaining and had to go in the carrier for takeoff/ landing.
    I know they have car anxiety, but at least they are with their people the entire time which will make them feel so much safer than being alone in a loud dark room. Also – Benadryl makes dogs groggy without heavy sedation and will probably calm them enough to make a car bearable.
    Please don’t put them on a plane!! Too many horror stories to put fur babies at risk.

  102. I know pets get flown in the cargo hold of planes. I flew my doodle once. Just once. He was very well traveled and very well trained. He went every where with me and always did anything I asked. When I got him out of the crate at LAX he was so distraught I knew I would take him home by plane and never fly him again. Putting him back in that crate for the return trip home broke me. He was terrified in a way I had never seen him. After that we drove everywhere we went. Ohio to Cali twice, Ohio to NYC, NJ, Mi, Chicago, Colorado was a rough one we all had a round of dramamine. In my opinion if they are skittish flying them is cruel. Probably dark, loud, away from you. Even medicated I just couldn’t. Even if it takes a few days to go a short distance. They are worth the effort.

  103. Road trip is the only way. Planes are a terrible way for pets to go. Go to the vet and get some kind of medication for your one dog that gets sick and antsy.

  104. I would not trust any of my pets to the airlines, especially not with all the heat we are having. I would get crates for both dogs and get them used to them weeks ahead of time. We travel cross country (Georgia to Idaho) twice a year. The cats travel in crates with comfy beds, the dogs in the back of our Sequoia with one large dog bed (they weigh 75 and 90 pounds). Your vet should be able to prescribe something that will help with the anxiety and nausea. We have had a big dog that could travel for 40 minutes in a car before she got sick. We cleaned up a lot of barf but she died before we starting traveling cross country. Good luck!

  105. If you think 35 is middle-aged, I would love to be there to see you react to being 50. 😆😆😆

  106. If you think 35 is middle-aged, Brian, I would love to be there to see you react to being 50. 😆😆😆

  107. Please, please, please crate train your dogs. If they’re comfortable in their crates, they won’t care if they’re in a car or an airplane. And you and your children, and the dogs, will be much safer when in the car when the dogs are crated.

    Yes, there have been tragic incidents when animals are shipped in cargo but there are many, many more times when everything went well and the animal arrived safely at its destination. Over the past 40 years, my family has moved many times for my husband’s career, including a move to Newfoundland, Canada, with a very elderly cat and 2 dogs. We’ve never had a problem and never sedated our animals. Granted the cat was not happy (she was in the cabin with us) but quieted once on the plane.

    Do talk to your veterinarian way before your actual move about motion sickness remedies. And get those dogs crate trained. 🙂

  108. Why not rent an RV for the trip? Then the pups can ride in back with shades down and relaxing on couches/their familiar cozy dog beds? A lot of rental places like cruise america let you do one way trips!

  109. I flew with my husky in the cargo hold from Buffalo to Long Island. Every time I spoke she could hear me and would howl pages and pages of sorrow. So we drove back to Buffalo and the first trip was horrible with all the horrible perks. We started driving to the park every day and she turned into a great passenger, and being a husky, eventually figured out how to use car windows and open car doors. Speak with a behaviorist about turning cars into joy machines and your vet about motion sickness.

  110. My two dogs both prefer being in car crates (soft sided) when traveling in a car. It’s safer for them, and I feel that they like the security of having their own spaces within the vehicle. Ours like the tops open so they can pop up and look out the window every so often, but that’s up to you. We’ve got two of these:

    As much as possible, make sure they can’t slide around (rubber mats in the cargo area or restraints on the seat/crates is ideal). My pups are really loving their new memory foam pads that fit inside the crates – it has actually been a game changer for their comfort:

    Aside from that, something fun/time consuming to chew on and distract them is good, like a chew toy or filled Kong or something. And just make sure to take them out every 2-3 hours or so just to stretch their legs or pee or whatever. If they’re used to face time with their humans, that might be all they need.

    Don’t sweat it too much, though…luckily dogs have pretty short memories. As long as they get loving from their humans at the end of the road, they’ll be fine. Our first pup (and forever love), Bernard, did super well on a 7-day 3,000 mile trip from Seattle to Vermont, and he still doesn’t mind being in the car. Google Maps gives good options for dog parks along the way between most destinations, so if they like that kind of thing, they’ll be excited about it even for 15 minutes.

  111. Is your dog crate trained and can you fit that crate in your car. If yes, try training your dog to go into the crate placed near the car (treats help). Eventually, with your dog in the crate, lift it into your car. Then remove the crate and let your dog out. After practicing these steps, you “may” try placing the crate in the car and have your dog jump into the crate. Most dogs see their crates as protection. By training your dog this way, he might see the crate as a safe place within the car. Otherwise, your vet may need to provide sedatives.

  112. These two rescue babies will -hopefully- be in your lives as beloved members of your family for years and years to come. They’ll need to go to the vet (in your car) and hopefully will also be able to join you on lots of fun road trips throughout the scenic Pacific NW once you live here. Hopefully you can get Oscar the care he needs after you arrive so that he will thrive. In the short term, I’m guessing you’ll be making the trip soon. It’ll be hot during that drive in August – but much less worrisome when the dogs are with you. I did the same trip with my rescue dog. It is a 2-day/1-overnight trip, unless you decide to extend it into a road trip with an extra overnight. Your vet will help you make the best decision for now.

  113. Your dogs and my Olivia are related look exactly alike also a rescue with a few hang-ups.
    First trip Alaska Airlines to Seattle I needed a tranquilizer she clawed her way out of her
    travel bed and ran up the isle looking for me as I left the rest room. $150.00 bag with a hole in it
    no use in putting her back trip I drove to Wa. bought her a bed and doggy seat belt
    Stayed at Best Western Plus they take pets.
    Driving much easier with Vet. telling me to give her benadryl. And I didn’t need to have a drink or take a tranquilizer..LOL

  114. Either travel option will be stressful for your dogs, but I suspect being srparated from you during the flight will be terrifying for them. I’d drive.

  115. We got a covid puppy, too, and have since learned (thru hours of classes) that much of our dog’s behavior is anxiety. Ours happens to fear bite and be aggressive, all because he thinks the world is spiraling into a chaotic abyss when people come over or another dog is in his presence.
    We’ve been taught that establishing a relationship where they understand that “you’ve got this” and are handling the situation (alpha) and giving a queue word ( we say “good”) when things are chill at home and in the yard, helps them understand to be chill and calm when in a stressful situation.
    Just like with kids, exposure to the situation in tiny bites, but ramping up as their comfortable is how to tackle fears and newness. Start with car doors open and he and his sis explore the car. Throw treats into it and if he wants to get in the get one, great. Step up to getting in and closing the doors, but not going places. Then drive around the block.
    I’d also have meds on board and just get through these crazy three days. It’ll be a memory and you will not kill him. Or make it a 5 day trip with time to recover every day and calm down? Or rip off the band aid, I get it.

  116. Hi Brian! I have mentioned before on this blog that I have two Belgian Sheepdogs. We compete in dog sports all over California so I know a thing or two about traveling with dogs! First and foremost get two dog crates that are big enough for your pups to stand in but not so big that they can move around a lot. Once you have them get the pups used to going in them on their own. I start by taking the door off completely so they don’t feel trapped and give them their dinner and treats in them. Tell the kids to leave them alone when they are in the crate so the dogs feel it is their refuge. It will take a bit of time and effort. Once the dogs are loving their crate put the crates in your car and secure them so they don’t wobble around. Put a soft pad in and use a favorite treat to load the dogs in. Go for a short fun drive somewhere and play with them. Take them home and give them lots of praise. Repeat as often as possible before the move. when you do the big drive prepare ahead of time for timely dog safe stops for water and potty stops. Good luck! I hoping it goes well for you. My dogs love going for rides and this is exactly how I did it!

  117. I got my rescue pup in January, and he’s 3 and gets terrible car sickness. I haven’t yet (and possibly won’t ever) had to travel far enough with him to justify a plane ride, but he was rescued from South Korea and brought to NYC, so I know he’s certainly survived an airplane ride! For long car trips with him (most recently a 4 hour drive turned into a 6 hour one), I give him CBD, use a harness that has a loop to wrap around the seatbelt (his trainer recommended this one, which was ultimately too big but would likely be fine for your pups! and we use this one instead, and a medication prescribed by the vet called Cerenia. The Cerenia keeps him from vomiting, the CBD helps with his anxiety, and the harness I think also helps, by making him feel more stable in the car. He used to vomit multiple times just on a 45 min-1 hour car ride, and was perfectly fine in the car for 6 hours with this combo. He does drool a lot still, and I just stick a pee pad under him for that. I haven’t tried taking him to a hotel yet, but I know growing up, my family dog was very confused by the concept of hotels and barked whenever someone walked down the hallway!

  118. Hi! I work in the aviation industry, so I have one tip if you choose to fly: Tell EVERY SINGLE PERSON YOU INTERACT WITH that you have a pet in the cargo (gate agents, flight attendants, pilots if you can get in to see them, ramp agent you pass walking down the jetbridge – everyone).

    All that said, I would personally choose to sedate the pups and drive. Flying in August is not great for a pet and may not even be allowed, though they are good candidates.

  119. I assume you guys are moving before the house is ready, and staying in a rental, because you want the kids settled and in school come September? I’d be interested in a post on how homeschooling went. Just curious 🤔

  120. Your dogs should be in crates in your vehicle no matter the length of a trip.

  121. My sister and I live 600 miles from our family, and routinely travel (by car) with the dogs on those road trips. Mine are fine, but she has one that has a really bad carsickness problem. She just gives her pukey dog dramamine an hour before leaving and he does great. Really really helped with the misery of barf-in-a-car.

  122. Along with the suggestions below, I would also try a Thundershirt for the car ride. They are anxiety “shirts” for dogs. You don’t really have time for desensitization. But my friends golden retriever barfed and drooled the minute the car was put in drive. The first step he vet suggested, was to just make them comfortable in the car. Make it feel like a “safe” space. He suggested putting her dog in the car, parked. Get him in, and give him a treat and lots of praise. She did this a few times a day for a week. Then you do the same with the treat, and a short 5 minute ride. You slowly make the rides longer. Of course a LOT of praise and good boys to go along. It took a while, but the barfing did stop. He still drools, but his anxiety has decreased. He will even lie down in the back seat. Before, he just paced. She did medicate him at first as well. But she no longer needs to do this. Good luck!

  123. Please do not have your adorable dogs travel by plane. I worked for an airline for many years and while they try to keep the dogs safe, there have been hundreds of horror stories of dogs that die. The airlines do not want the public to know this. The dogs are subjected to horrible heat in the summer months and many die. Please figure out a way to safely transport them in a car or rent a small RV so they have more room to be comfortable.

  124. Oscar and Buttercup are two lucky dogs! I too have rescues. They come with baggage, good or bad. We, as doggie parents love them and only want what’s best for them. We travel up north numerous times during the year. It’s about a 5 hour drive and luckily for us, and the dogs, they curl up together on the back seat of the truck and sleep. That being said, my latest rescue absolutely hates a crate. He was in a shelter for 5 months until he joined us. Putting him into a crate is pure trauma. For that reason alone I would not transport via a plane. I would choose keeping my dogs with me if at all possible. They trust us and know that we will keep them safe.
    I agree that talking with your vet, you will find the best solution for you and your fur babies. I’m sure that the vet can help with some calming meds for the car ride. You and Emily can be with your fur babies and have control over all of your travel situations. You will what’s best for your whole family. Safe travels!

  125. 3 days to drive 900 miles? What are you doing, taking the scenic route?
    With a dog who get motion sickness that bad, id probably get a crate and some dramanine then bee line it only making potty stops.

  126. If you take by car, just be super careful getting out of the car. I would have for one of the kids to open the door and Oscar bound out and run away. Trauma for so many.

  127. Hi, I’m a professional rescue transporter, specializing in moving doggies around the country. As you can imagine, most of them are terrified.
    My suggestions :
    1) please train your babies, if you have time, to be happy in a travel kennel. These are plastic and wire, and will protect them if there’s an accident;
    2) get a 2nd or even 3rd driver, and get the miles out of the way. Pit stops for people and pets, but not overnight and nothing more than an hour, and;
    3) your vet can give you tips and prescribe suitable meds for your anxious baby.
    If you can fly with your pup in the cabin, say first class, as a passenger…go for it!
    Otherwise, I would strongly suggest an efficient road trip, with as many comforts as possible, and close to the AC! Even if not kennel trained, I think you might be surprised at the level of calm your pups will achieve once they start moving. I find soft music and cool temperatures to be ideal for pupmobile moving. If it’s on your route, a stop at a dog park might also be beneficial.
    Good luck and happy trails.
    Carmen Delgado
    Road Runner Texas Transports

  128. Have you tried Thunderjackets? They are like these snug vests for anxiety that help a lot. I would drive, with sedatives, a thunder jacket and if he can be in a crate so he is cozy/safe in his own space would be ideal. Plus if he vomits at least it’s contained in the crate.

    Good luck!

  129. Rent a Cabana Van! Put him in a crate on the floor so he can’t see out the windows, sedate him according to vet recommendations and you can sleep in the van at campgrounds ( has a queen size bed) along the way so they can get out and exercise! My son owns one and travels ALL over the PNW with a German Shorthair Pointer and a Golden Retriever. Dogs love it!

  130. Oscar may never recover from a flight in the cargo area of a plane. Yes, it’s shorter, but it’s more dangerous for him physically & mentally. Bite the bullet & drive, get him on vet approved sedatives, stop frequently, & be sure to keep him in a harness & seat-belted in the car, on a leash out of the car. He can bolt & get hit by a car in his fright despite sedatives. Or be forever lost. It’ll be worth the extra time for all of you.

    1. Flight delays are at an all-time high, due to shortages of flight crews, weather delays, etc. Your dogs may bake for hours during a flight delay – before the flight even starts. Drive the dogs, they may not love it, but you will know they are safe. I drove our dog from FL to DC. 16 hours total driving, 2 nights in a dog friendly hotel. My husband flew home. If you love your dogs, it’s the right thing to do.

  131. I read 90 percent of the comments, sorry if this repetitious. We play spa music at home and the dogs always lie down and usually sleep( we are doing a massage so it’s happy time).My anxious dog listens to the spa music in the car and it helps. Also we have dog harnesses that clip into the seat belt, the 2 dogs can move around but it keeps them out of the front seats. The anxious dog gets children’s liquid Benadryl too, and it helps. Seems that the noise cancelling feature in my SUV bothers her, she seems fine in other cars.
    Bon voyage!

  132. 8 years ago we moved from Washington state to Wisconsin with two boys (under 7) and two dogs (one was a mastiff. 170 lb). We drove. Did people think we were crazy? Yes. Did it feel crazy? Not at all.
    Just plan well. We looked at how long it would realistically take us (4 days). Booked pet friendly hotels for every stop ahead of time, and stopped every 3 hours or so for breaks. We split the dogs between the two cars–I had all of the stuff (even after the movers had packed what we thought was everything, there was still a remarkable amount of little stuff left over that filled up my SUV) and the smaller dog. My husband had our two boys and then the Mastiff in the back of his SUV. Kids had iPads and we were good to go. They watched 8 hours of movies a day and I didn’t care.
    I would ask your vet for advice about your one dog. May need a little medicine to conk him out.
    Overall, would recommend driving. Oh, and find a great album, just for you, to listen to on repeat. Mine became the soundtrack to that whole time of life, and now every time I hear a song from it, it takes me back in the best way:)
    Good luck!!

  133. Go by car and give poor Oscar whatever the vet suggests. Talk to the vet about CBD for dogs. I have heard many dog owners swear by it.

  134. The plane, if safe, would be easiest on dogs I’m afraid because of the time. I’ve never sent a dog on a plane so I would be nervous. The drive should not take more than 2 days. A rich acquaintance who summers in Aspen pays someone to drive HER dog there (good two- or three-day trip).

    1. P.S.: I have two small dogs, one of which is my first ever to really have trouble in car. Even as a 9-week-old pup he slobbered and vomited. H learned to do a bit better when I took him OUT of the crate. So he does better in a seat with a harness so he can see and get more air. After three years, I can’t say he loves the car, but doesn’t slobber or vomit. Also, I’ve given him dramamine in the past on one longish trip.

  135. One more suggestion: Get rid of that partially-eaten tennis ball!
    Replace it asap with a heavy-duty dog toy made for dogs who want to chew, like the XL Chuck-It Ball my dog adores. (Hint: a determined dog can chew up Kong toys. Chuck-It balls seem nearly indestructible.) They’ll fall in love with it now – and that’ll help relieve stress and pent-up energy during the trip.

  136. Find a way to beam them there!! To get to the point, I suggest you drive with them. They will be sooooo stressed being in a crate away from you. It’s more of a pain for the people than the dogs in the car, and they know exactly where you are. The rest of the post is detailed – tldr beware. I did want you to know some of the issues you’ll be facing. You will only have two nights, though, so much more do-able.

    We moved from Southern California to Western Maryland last year; two adults, four dogs. (Barney is a 25-lb standard dachshund; Blueberry, 20-lb mini dachshund; Rosie, 20-lb mix, and Coco, an 18-year-old 10-lb mini dachshund) We went through the same thought process as you. Coco would have been allowed on the plane in a small crate; they let you take them if hey fit under the seat in front of you. The other three would have to go under. There were several newstories about dogs ending up on the wrong plane or somehow being left behind. Also, fairly recently at the time, there was a dog who escaped (was let out??) at LAX and was running around on the tarmac. So, we decided we couldn’t do that.

    There are services that will drive pets long distance, so then we wouldn’t have to take all four with us. We didn’t want to entrust someone we didn’t know with our precious dogs. We even were desperate and checked on the possibility of chartering a plane–$10,000+; was obviously out of the question. So, we rented the biggest vehicle we could–a Suburban. Unfortunately, the seats behind the driver were individual seats instead of a bench. We needed the third row to be folded because we had all of the stuff that you don’t send with the moving company, dog stuff to last the trip, etc.

    Barney loves everybody, takes whatever happens, but he gets car sick. We got him motion sickness medication from the vet. Blueberry is very skittish and barks voraciously at men (rescued from abusive home) and noises and unseen things, and . . . Rosie is as bouncy as Winnie the Pooh’s Tigger and barks at everything that moves or makes a sound. We also got some mild tranquilizers from the vet, just in case.

    We took three dogs to the vet for the day the movers came, and they were extremely stressed and upset when we picked them up. Blueberry had a bloody nose from him trying to get through the wire in the cage they had him in, even though he was used to his crate whenever we took him in the car. We were glad we hadn’t planned to fly them. We bought carriers for everybody except Blue, who already had one because he didn’t do well in the car without it.

    We put Rosie and Barney on pillows with dog blankets, harnessed, on the seats; they’ve never used crates or carriers; we had planned on Blueberry riding in his carrier between the seats on top of stuff so he’d be level with them. After the vet, he refused to get in the carrier and, when we did get him in there, he made his nose bloody again and chewed through the screen portion, so we took him out. There wasn’t anywhere to put him, so he rode on the passenger’s lap the whole way. Coco was in a small soft carrier on the very wide center console. I put my seatbelt through the strap to, hopefully, keep her from flying if we were in an accident.

    We had planned a 6-day trip, allowing plenty of time to rest. All meals had to be fast food eaten in the car, since we couldn’t leave them in the car and couldn’t take them inside anywhere. We, of course, stopped at rest areas for them to “go.”

    Luckily, there are many pet-friendly hotels, but call ahead. Some of them said they allowed pets on the internet, but when we got there, they didn’t. Be aware that if your dogs bark too much in the room, they will make you leave even though the rooms around you have dogs, too. (I had known that already–we didn’t experience it–we kept them as quiet as we could even though they wanted to bark at every noise they could hear in the hallway from people passing our door).

    We learned after the first night to put wee wee pads down over the entire floor when we got to the room. They were so stressed out and not used to being walked (we let them out in the back yard at home), so there were a couple “accidents.” It won’t be so hard on you because you can walk two at a time. My companion is partially disabled, so she couldn’t walk them, and I had to make two trips each time.

    On the morning after the second night, my companion did try to walk Rosie. As soon as Rosie was in the hallway, she pulled towards the door, wrapping her leash around Jen, causing her to fall down. (A trip to urgent care hadn’t been in the plans, either.) Because there wasn’t a bench seat and the back seats were taken, she couldn’t put her leg up with the basket-ball-sized knee. This meant that we couldn’t drive as long as we had planned because her leg would hurt so much with it not being stretched out. Our fairly easy 6-day drive turned into 13 days from hell.

    The oil change light on the Suburban went on in Oklahoma. We were afraid to drive that far without changing it since we were driving so far. The rental car company told us a dealership to go to. We had to put all the dogs in the carriers and carry them one at a time into the waiting area. Fun.

    I’ll spare you any more of the details. Here is my advice:

    As I said, driving is really the only way that’s fair to them, especially since one of yours is extra skittish. It’s not worth their stress to do it any other way, unless you can afford the charter plane. 🙂

    -Since everything is different, accidents may happen, so buy some wee wee pads.
    -Have old towels underneath and on the floor in front of the “barf-y” dog. Have plenty of paper towels in the car.
    -Have bottled water and a bowl handy in the car to let them drink when you stop.
    -It helped not to make hotel reservations, because sometimes you feel you need to stop NOW, and sometimes you can drive further than you thought you could.
    -Get meds from the vet, especially for the puke-y one.
    -Park in the shade
    -Plan a bag to take into the hotel each night so you can take only what you ABSOLUTELY need. Multiple trips to the car wasn’t fun. I had the dry dog food in a large container in the back, but put some in ziplocs to take some in each night.
    -Don’t leave them alone at the new house for at least a day, they’ll freak out.

    Try to have an enjoyable trip. A two-day trip with no surprises would have been wonderful. I wish you the best!

    1. What a trip, Janis! Hope you and your dogs are happy living in beautiful Western Maryland.

  137. I take my dog back and forth between Los Angeles and Portland area two or three times a year. It really depends on the dog because after the first hour she usually sleeps unless she needs to pee. I would definitely say harnesses or crates so in case something bad happens your puppies don’t go flying. Aside from that, pee breaks every gas stop, roughly every four hours or so for me.

    1. Just to reiterate, if your dogs are crate trained it will give them a sense of security and they’ll get over it pretty quickly

  138. I’ve moved my 2 dogs from central Texas to southern Arizona. It’s about 1000 mile trip.
    I recommend that you not even consider the flying route with your dogs. I used to pick up dogs from the airport for the pet store I worked for…sedated or not, it’s not a good experience for your dogs. Please take them in the car. Here’s what we did; we bought about 6 or 8 used sheets/blankets at Goodwill, washed them and cover the back seat completely. Be prepared with paper towels, cleaner, poop bags, rags. You will need new toys they haven’t seen, nylabones, balls, treats, dog food dishes. Large and small water dishes. Lots of water! Stop every 2.5 or 3 hours for at least half hour of walking, drinking, etc. Some melatonin treats (Quiet Moments calming treats are awesome) and most importantly a pheromone spray for the bedding in the car. It calms them like nothing else. I did have to use benadryl or melatonin, but you have those options. Pheromone spray, toys, treats, frequent stops.

  139. Plane cargo would be my last resort. There are too many variables that can affect the safety of my dogs that are out of my control. Also, I would never during summer months.
    As some already mentioned, I’m pretty sure Alaska doesn’t allow sedated pets for travel. Additionally, if your dog hates car rides, the car ride to the airport will preload your dog with anxiety even before the plane ride.
    I’ve done over 2000 miles with 2 dogs in a week (~300mi/day max). One likes looking out the window. She was harnessed and made sure she could see out the window. The other is in similar situation as yours. He’s crate trained and I had to put his wire crate with the back seat folded down. Time to time, I covered the crate with a towel to calm him down. Make sure it’s still ventilated.

  140. I have what I term a ‘high needs’ cat, who despite by very best efforts was extremely traumatized during a horrible storm when she was a kitten and I wasn’t at home.
    Since then I have had to move her cross country twice, and she does noooot travel well!
    We were driving, 6+ hours each way, and spoke to the vet about sedating her, to which she agreed would be wise and best for our girl.
    It was a huge success! She basically just napped the whole time, waking up for a wee meow every 15 mins or so, but was soooo zen bless her.
    I cannot recommend this approach more, as long as it’s healthy for your pet. It just cuts all that trauma out of the picture and makes the experience positive for all involved.
    All the best! I understand this anxiety sooo deeply!

  141. I am #teamcar for many of the negative reasons listed in many posts below. I had to cargo board my cat once (who was the MELLOWEST cat ever!) and he was so traumatized afterwards (so likely during as well) that he peed and threw up when I got him. It was winter so I don’t even know if the temp was regulated down there enough and or waiting to be loaded on the plane. Non regulated heat or cold situations in a scary an unfamiliar place alone are a nightmare for animals. And I think you can’t sedate them if they go under the plane for reasons listed previously.
    I think to also be separated from you with no one there to comfort him verbally and with pats may also make being under the plane worse for him. At least in the car you all would be with him and can comfort him-plus obv give him meds for motion-sickness and anxiety. It sucks a bit for you all to have to drive but hopefully it’s only once in a while in his life that you and he will have to do so. Part of being a fur parent is not knowing what you are gonna get personality wise and if you love them you just have to deal with it and adjust. The dogs may just have to stay home sometimes and not come every where with you guys every time. Money wise it may even be cheaper than flying all of you all to Oregon, unless the hotels are crazy pricey right now. But these days I think they should be pretty affordable as they want business or just do an AirB&B! Maybe try and make the drive fun for you all with some fun stops along the way that might be fun for you guys.
    ***I think the people who boarded their animals under the plane and they bounced back are frankly just lucky and also may not have started with anxious animals.
    I hope you all make the best decision for him and for you all. 🙂

  142. Poor guy! I hope to see an update on what the vet recommends and what you decide to do.
    I have done a couple 2,000+ mile moves with dogs in the past, and we always drove but we also had dogs that absolutely loved car rides. I personally don’t think I could handle the anxiety of being separated from my dogs on a flight not knowing how they were doing in the cargo area.
    I have two rescue pups (2 yr old and 1 1/2 yr old) now that were absolutely terrified of anything or anyone new when we adopted them. I highly recommend finding a dog trainer to work on overcoming your pups’ fears once you get settled in. I cannot believe the difference the past year of training has made for my boys. We have done obedience, agility, and tracking classes and each class seems to help build their confidence and strengthen their bond with us. They are also doing much better meeting new people and going new places. Not sure what happened to them before we adopted them, but we are making every effort to make them comfortable and happy now!

  143. We recently moved our 2 dogs from North Carolina to Hawaii. This involved over 43 hours in the car (driving from NC to LA) and then a 6 hours plane ride. One of our dogs was super high anxiety and I stressed and stressed about this. And yes, as others have said, most airlines will not take a sedated dog on a plane. I think the car ride, while it was hard on her, was ultimately a lot easier because she was with us. If I could have driven her all the way to Hawaii I would have! So my suggestion is talk to your vet and get all the drugs. We got some ativan for her, which I think only helped mildly, but they have some drugs that will completely knock them out. Go with that and zofran to help with the puking. And then just keep telling yourself that this is temporary and the dogs WILL get through it and will love their new life!

  144. We have done some long drives with our two rescues (NY to FL). Our older smaller dog is also anxious and wants to sit up front on someone’s lap, but our younger larger one pukes every time she’s in a car. Doesn’t matter for how long. We took her to the vet and they gave us a prescription for anti-vomit (cerenia). To the vet’s disbelief Myrtle actually gets sick from the Cerenia too, so we give her up to 100mg of Dramamine depending on her weight and how long the drive is. We also try not to give her any food before and the pills are taken two hours before leaving the house. So far so good! She’s made it through a 17hr drive without puking! Takes the edge off of her car anxiety too 🙂
    Definitely worth asking the vet about both though to see what will work best!

  145. We just traveled cross country totalling about 7000 miles RT; we obtained a dog car hammock on the return trip home, made a big difference, our dog loved it! Slight motion sickness medication always can help too…. we used to do this, but our dog eventually got used to traveling without puking!!!

  146. At the time we moved from NC to CA, we had two dogs, one of which was a terrible passenger in the car (high anxiety). We made the trip by car over the course of about a week thanks to Trazodone, an anti-anxiety drug which is dog-safe. Our vet prescribed one pill/day, but we used only a half pill/day and it worked like a charm… made him sleepy and calm. No issues at all.

  147. Our dogs have flown no problem, but they are crate trained. And sedatives for pets are specifically banned by the airlines….but, by the time you get them to cargo two hours before the flight, yada, yada, yada, you might as well have driven to Oregon. Which I have done twice from SoCal, with kids….so I would choose doggy downers and the car. It would be easy enough to send the kids on the plane with a grandparent, so then you and Emily could drive with just the dogs. The problem with driving solo with the pooches, especially in the summer, is that you really can’t leave them for long in the car alone…like not at all.

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