Best way to get my pets across the country?
My husband and I are going to be moving from the east coast to the west coast within the next 3 to 4 months. We have 2 cats and 2 dogs (~60 pounds and ~75 pounds). I've been trying to think through the logistics of getting the beasts to the new house, but for the life of me, I can't figure out the best option.
Flying them out is one options. We usually fly via Alaska Air which claims to have a temperature controlled and pressure controlled cargo area for pets. It's a non-stop flight that takes about 5 1/2 hours. I'm sure they would all be scared and unhappy, but it would be over in a day. I worry about their health and safety in cargo. I've heard and read the horror stories. We'd also need to figure out how to get all of us from the house to the airport at the front end and from the airport to the house at our destination.
Another option is to drive them in the station wagon, stopping for walks and pee breaks and trying to find pet friendly hotels that would accept all 4 animals. I believe it will be about 40-45 hours of car travel broken up over about a week. I have no idea if this would go smoothly or be a complete nightmare. We'd probably have a barrier between the dogs in the back seat and the cats with a litter box in the very back. Our one dog shakes and trembles in the car so a week of travel just sounds like torture for her. We are going to experiment with Rescue Remedy over the next month or so and see if we can minimize her car fears. I also have fears of a cat making a mad dash and escaping the car or a hotel room.
A hybrid option is to fly the cats out (hopefully in the main cabin with us), then fly back and drive out with the dogs. That has its own set of complications, but at least we'd only have 2 animals in the car. I don't know that this option buys us much of an advantage though.
I also looked into services that drive your pets for you, with 2 drivers alternating driving and sleeping so they make the trip pretty much straight through with stops for potty breaks every 3 hours or so. It would take 2 to 2 1/2 days for them to make the trip. I put calls in to a couple of companies offering this type of service, but they didn't call me back. I don't think that's a very good sign.
So basically it feels like there are no good options. Does anybody have insight or suggestions for me? Is flying safer than I think? We're probably looking at an October timeframe, so not extreme weather temperature wise.
Thanks in advance for any help!!