Moving with dogs can be quite a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re moving across the country or across town, the sense of upheaval is the same. So no matter where you’re moving, the move can be quite challenging for your dog.
With all of the change and upheaval, the moving process is stressful for all of us, so it only stands to reason that it is going to be very stressful for your dog. Animals are very territorial – and they feel the same stress that humans do (if not more). They can read body language and pick up cues from you both verbally and non-verbally. Your dog won’t understand the sudden change in the normal routine. He won’t understand what’s happening, which will make him anxious.
In time, your dog will adapt to the change and all will be well. But the actual process of moving can be chaotic to your pet, which is why it’s so important to do everything you can to ease his anxiety and make the transition as easy as possible. Careful planning before, during and after the move is necessary to make the move less traumatic for your dog.
Before the move:
- Get your dog used to the boxes and packing supplies by leaving them around the house a few days before you begin packing.
- Make sure that your dog has a collar and an ID tag. Microchipping is also highly recommended.
- If your dog is prone to car sickness, see your veterinarian before the move to prescribe any medications.
- Prepare for anxiety. See your vet to prescribe anxiety medications like Alprazolam or Diazepam. You may also consider CBD treats, calming collars or a ThunderShirt.
- Find a new veterinarian before you move. Get copies of your dog’s health records to give to your new vet.
- To avoid complications, find someone to watch your dog on moving day. If this is not possible, make sure that your dog is secured in a crate in a quiet room of the house.
- If you’ll be crating your dog for the move, begin using a crate early so your dog will get used to it. Put your dog’s favorite blanket or toy in the crate.
- Never wash your dog’s blanket or toys before moving. His familiar scent will help him to adjust during and after the move.
- If you will be traveling a long distance with your dog, find out about dog-friendly hotels and make reservations beforehand.
- If you are moving internationally, work with your veterinarian ahead of time to find out what vaccinations or paperwork are necessary. In some countries, you’ll have to wait several months after the paperwork is filed before the pet is allowed into the country.
During the move:
- Stick to your normal routine as much as possible. A recognizable routine is even more important during a time of chaos.
- Be patient and speak to your dog in a calm voice. Use positive reinforcement techniques.
- Give your dog as much exercise as possible to help keep him calm.
- Keep your dog entertained with a good puzzle toy.
- Set up a quiet spot for your dog to retreat from the chaos.
- During the move, keep your dog secured in a crate or carrier.
After the move:
- Before you allow your dog to check out his new home, inspect it first to make sure there are no health hazards like cleaning products or rat poison left behind.
- Show your dog around his new home inside and out, using a happy voice and treats. (Check fences and make sure outdoor areas are secure before allowing your dog to go outside alone.)
- Show your dog where his food bowls and sleeping area are, and lay his toys out for him.
- When movers arrive with your furniture and belongings, crate your dog and keep him in a quiet room while things are moved in.
- While you are unpacking, make sure that your dog has sufficient exercise and playtime to help keep him calm.
- Establish your new routine as quickly as possible. Stick to your previous feeding and walking schedules for continuity.
- Once you’ve settled in, spend more time together and reinforce positive behaviors.
- Update all information on your dog’s tags and microchip as soon as possible.
Are You Acclimating a Dog to a New Home? Here Are Some Tips
Dogs don’t like change. But when you move you are uprooting your dog’s whole world and changing his surroundings. The move itself can be difficult and it is made even more challenging with the loss of routines and increased stress in the home. Your dog will be confused and scared by the “chaos” around him.
Acclimating a dog to a new home can be easier when you take the right steps to make your dog feel safe and secure. Here are a few tips to help acclimate your dog to a new home.
- To give your dog continuity, stick to your old routines as much as possible. Walk and feed your dog at the same time that you used to do it in your old house.
- Keep your dog’s dishes, bed, blankets, and toys. This is not the time to buy new things for your dog. He will need the familiarity and the scent of his things around him as he settles into a new home.
- Establish new feeding and sleeping areas in the new home as quickly as possible and stick to them. Try to establish these spots in the same areas where they were located in your previous home.
- Spend as much quality time with your dog as possible. You’ll be stressed and busy but always find the time to show your dog as much love as possible. Your dog will need you more than ever during this transition.
To learn more, read our article Are You Acclimating a Dog to a New Home? Here Are Some Tips.
Road Tripping with Dogs: How to Keep Them Safe and Healthy
Road tripping with dogs can be a lot of fun – if you plan ahead. You can’t just get into a car with a dog and drive cross country. You’ve got to plan ahead and take along all the things you’ll need to have with you. There are also safety concerns to consider when road tripping with dogs so that you and your pet will be safe along the way.
Think about where you will stay when you stop driving for the day. Many hotels do not accept pets or they may have size, breed or weight restrictions. Some hotels also limit the number of pets you may have in your room. Plan ahead and find a hotel that accepts dogs. Check out websites like Bring Fido or Dog-Friendly. Both of these websites are great resources for finding pet-friendly hotels, shops, and restaurants.
Make sure that your dog is microchipped before leaving town. Microchipping provides an extra layer of protection should your dog happen to escape, or in case his collar slips off.
Before taking a long road trip with your dog, practice with some short trips first. See how your dog does with the ride and whether he becomes anxious. If your dog becomes anxious when riding in the car, see your vet before going on your trip. Your vet may prescribe some medications to help ease your dog’s anxiety.
When road tripping with dogs, always put safety first. Never allow your dog to stick his head out an open window. You will risk him jumping out of the car or getting something in his eyes or ears. Never put the car window down unless your dog is restrained in a crate or by a doggy seat belt. Your dog should not be in the car unrestrained. It is a safety hazard. If you don’t have room for a crate or a kennel, get a doggy seat belt or restraint. Practice using the seat belt before leaving for your trip so that your dog can get used to the feeling of being restrained.
Find out more about road tripping with dogs in our article Road Tripping with Dogs: How to Keep Them Safe and Healthy.
Dog Separation Anxiety Training Tips for When You’re Moving
Moving to a new home is a big change and the new atmosphere can cause anxiety. It’s likely that your dog will feel separation anxiety in a new home because the environment isn’t the same anymore.
Here are some dog separation anxiety training tips to help when you move into a new home.
Keep your old routines. Being in a new environment is enough of a change, so try to keep everything else as it was in the old home. Experiencing routines will give your dog a sense of normalcy in a world that is no longer normal, and this will be a big help.
Keep your dog’s things. Your dog will be comforted by his old toys, his blanket or bed, and his same water bowl. Keep the things he has ties to and things that have his scent.
Don’t leave your dog alone. When you move, try not to leave your dog alone for long periods of time. Try to wait as long as you can before leaving your dog alone in the house.
Keep familiar scents around the house. Dogs have a very strong sense of smell and it is comforting to have familiar scents around in the new house. Don’t wash your dog’s bedding right away. Spend some time sitting and playing with your dog on the floor (where he spends most of his time) and spread your scent around the house. If you wear a particular cologne, continue to wear it and spray it around the home. These familiar smells will help your dog feel more at home and less anxious.
Be patient while your dog gets used to his new surroundings. It may take some time for your dog to adjust and you need to be patient. He may forget about his potty training for a while, or he may forget the old house rules. Be patient and help him to readjust.
To learn more, read our article Dog Separation Anxiety Training Tips for When You’re Moving.
Tips on How to Help a Stressed Dog When Moving
Stress can sometimes be overwhelming and even debilitating. Here are a few tips on how to help a stressed dog.
- Play and exercise regularly – Physical activity is a great stress reducer.
- Create a safe zone – Set up an area in your home where your dog can escape from the stress. Provide a favorite blanket or toy in the area and check on your dog to help reassure him.
- Choose a high-quality dog food – Your dog’s diet is an important part of his overall health and wellbeing. If your dog’s diet is not properly balanced for his life stage and lifestyle it may lead to stress and anxiety.
- Stick to routines for feeding and walking.
- Give your dog plenty of attention and playtime.
- Get regular daily exercise.
- Provide plenty of mental stimulation for your dog.
- Crate training can help your dog to feel more comfortable.
- Dogs pick up on our emotions, so be patient and try to remain calm.
For more information, check out our article Tips on How to Help a Stressed Dog When Moving.
To learn more about moving with dogs, read our article Moving with Your Dog.