Whether you are moving down the street or around the world, moving your home involves challenges for you and your four-legged family members. Here are some ways to help you through these challenges of moving with dogs to ensure a safe and effective transition to your new home.
Remain Calm: Dogs feed off your emotions. If you are stressed, it will increase anxiety for your dog during the moving process. Reduce your dog’s fear and anxiety about the major changes happening by remaining calm and by maintaining his routine as much as possible.
Increase Activity: With all of the commotion surrounding moving it is important to not neglect your dog’s needs. Exercise keeps energy levels down which equates to less chances of: disruptive and destructive behavior. By increasing walks and/or play time you will help manage their (and your) stress levels.
Know the Laws: The majority of states have enacted pet control and licensing ordinances. Local laws may limit the number of dogs per household; make sure you know all the local laws before you set off on your move with Fido.
Prepare: Like you would do for yourself, pack an overnight/weekend bag for your dog for the first few days you will be in your new home that includes: bedding, towels, dishes, leashes, kennel/crate, medications, first-aid items and favorite toys.
Skip the Cleaning: your instinct may be to get everything fresh and new for your dog for the new home but avoid doing this with your pet’s items. Keep them smelling the same. That familiar scent can make them feel more at home in a new location.
Safety First: Ensure that your dog is micro-chipped and wearing proper identification and licenses. Contact your old vet with your new information and (if possible) have the new vet’s information on hand as well. Keep all pet documentation and a recent picture of our pet in a pet binder that is not packed away and is easily accessible.
Transporting: whether you are moving locally or long-distance, any distance of a move can seem a great distance to your dog. Emotions can run high with the commotion and change brought on by moving so always put to use a kennel, crate or doggie-seat belt when transporting your pets to keep them calm and contained. Do not transport them in the back of a pickup truck, allow them to ride in the front of the car, hang out the window or romp around with excitement. For long distance drives always have ample water on hand and plan for numerous rest stops.
Moving Day: On moving day consider hiring a babysitter or asking a trusted family member to babysit your dog in a place that is away from the moving commotion. It will cut down on the stress for both you and your dog and keep them out from under-foot and potential danger.
Familiar Ground: Once in the new place, pick up your pet from the babysitter and explore the new home together allowing them to sniff out the new digs. Have your dog’s favorite blankets/bedding and toys ready so they have some familiar items around them on their first night in the new home. Try to set up their ‘space’ as similar as possible to your old home. If their bed was by your bed in the old home, place it in the same place in the new home. If they eat in the kitchen, have the food and water set up for them in the same location at the new home.
Be Observant: Many times dogs are resistant to the change of moving to a new home which can cause them to act-out or even try to return to their old home. Keep a close eye on your dog the first few weeks after you are in your new home. Don’t allow them free-reign of the place until they start feeling more at home. We recommend that you pay close attention to potential escape routes such as screen doors, spaces between fences and other nooks and crannies that dogs have a knack of uncovering.