Moving to a new home can be an emotional rollercoaster: excitement, uncertainty, and stress all wrapped up into one experience. And if you’re moving with a dog, you can bet they’re feeling all the same things, only with much more uncertainty. The worst part is that you can’t even tell your pup what’s going on! Unfortunately, they don’t understand that your taxes are too high or you’re expecting a baby and need more space. All they know is they got accustomed to a home that is no longer. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the fear of the unknown for your furry friend before, during, and after the moving vans arrive.
The stress of a move starts long before you start packing boxes for your dog. Open houses and meetings with realtors mean lots of strange people coming and going, and less attention for them. More time in their kennel and closed rooms means less exercise and irregular meal times. Here are some ways to avoid neglecting your pet during this tumultuous time.
While cats could care less if you bailed on play time with them for the past week to sign contracts, dogs need a little more reassurance that you didn’t forget about them. Make sure you’re still making time to play with your dog despite your hectic schedule. During open houses, avoid subjecting your dog to all of the unfamiliar faces in their space by bringing them with you when you leave or to a friend’s house.
Take a pre-move tour
If you’re moving somewhere nearby, get your dog used to their new home by taking them on a few walks around the neighborhood in the days leading up to the move. It’s also a great way for you and your pup to scope out potential dog friends in the neighborhood. This will work out well if you’re doing your move over the course of a few days, but might not be an option if you’re moving very long distance or in one day.
Ease your dog into new surroundings more smoothly by getting familiar scents into the space before they get there. Having a favorite toy, blanket, or bed waiting there will be a big comfort to your pooch.
Even the chillest dog is going to be stressed during the actual move from point A to B. When everyone finally hits the road, the following tips will help everything go as smoothly as possible.
Keep them close
While it might seem like you’re minimizing stress by dropping your dog off at a boarding facility during the actual move, it will only add another layer of stress to all of the pre-move chaos. While keeping your dog with you might be more of a nuisance, it will ultimately minimize their stress.
Attention, attention, and more attention
Much like a little kid in the back seat asking “are we there yet?” your dog is likely to be anxious en route to your new home. Unfortunately, you can’t hand a restless puppy an iPad. Keep them occupied by continuing to play and pay attention to them during your trip.
This is not a time to let your dog go collarless. Make sure that your dog can be properly identified with tags that include your contact information. Even better if your dog has a microchip for backup.
This might seem obvious until you see your pet booking it down your new street in hopes of finding their old bed. Make sure to keep traveling dogs secured at all times, whether that be in a carrier or on a leash. No trunk or open truck bed trips.
While you’re busy unpacking boxes, your dog isn’t going to suddenly occupy themselves with figuring out the couch arrangement or chatting with the new neighbors. This is as important a time to keep an eye on them as ever.
Do not make the common mistake of letting a dog loose into a new house. Stressed dog + new house = vomit, and diarrhea. It will be wise to go back to treating them like a puppy for a while. Keep them on a leash or in a kennel when leaving them alone so you can contain any messy accidents.
Keep your routine
Sticking with your usual routine despite being in a new environment brings a sense of normalcy amidst moving madness. Minimize as much mayhem as possible for your dog by keeping their routine the same after the move. Get up with them at the same time, go for walks at the same time, and eat meals at the same time. If there are any new ground rules or expectation that go along with the new space, implement them on the first day. While settling into a regular routine might not be possible during the first few days post-move, it will be easier after getting settled.
Avoid extra stress
While you might be eager to throw a housewarming party or show off your gorgeous crown molding to visitors, your dog probably won’t be as keen to entertain. It’s best to avoid any unnecessary activity for the first few days after a move.
Even the most careful owner might find themselves with a sick dog at some point during their move. If your dog loses its appetite, is vomiting, or has diarrhea, get them proper medical attention stat. Finding a veterinarian in your new neighborhood before an urgent situation will also ensure that you’re properly prepared if you do find yourself with a sickly pup on your hands.
How your dog responds to a move depends a lot on your lifestyle. If your dog is often your travel buddy, they will be accustomed to being in new environments and less likely to freak out about moving to a new home. If you and your dog are homebodies, have a strict routine, or have never experienced a move together, be prepared for a higher level of stress. With the proper preparation and supervision, your traveling pup will be put at ease and get things feeling like home for everyone sooner than later.