Moving With a Dog: 7 Tips to Keep Your Pooch Happy When You Move

Moving is exciting for everyone, but it is also stressful. Pets can also get stressed out throughout the entire moving process. Most pets love routine and predictability, so a move can throw them into a tailspin. Follow these tips to make a move smooth for everyone – including Fido.

dog under he covers
make your move as smooth for your dog as possible

Tip #1: Stick to Your Normal Routine as Much as Possible

Dogs are creatures of habit. Changes are confusing and stressful for them. Even dog experts can only make educated guesses why that is because dogs can’t communicate to us with words. Everyone knows that dogs get nervous when they see a suitcase come out because they know that means you’ll be gone for a while. Imagine how scared they feel when they see numerous boxes! Leave out a few boxes or suitcases weeks before the move begins, so your best friend has time to get used to what changes may be in store.

It’s also important to keep things business as usual for your pup. Try to take your dog on a walk at the usual times of day. Feed them in the same dishes around the same time as usual. Don’t give them too much special treatment or allow them to get away with more bad behavior than usual. It may tempt you to do so to make them feel better about the move. However, with dogs, giving them more leeway does not give them the feeling of being safe and secure. Just keep things the same as much as possible.

puppy in a box
leave some boxes out so your dog can get used to them

Tip #2: Prepare With Doggy Anxiety Help

It’s inevitable that your dog will experience some anxiety around a big move whether it is across town or across the country. Getting too stressed is not good for a dog’s health. Keeping a dog relaxed is not just about making your own life easier. It’s also about keeping your dog happy and healthy for a long time. So, it is a good idea to prepare with some proven doggy anxiety tools.

Herbal Remedies

There are plenty of herbal anxiety relief products for dogs. Most of them use remedies that humans love too, like lavender or chamomile. Some are in pill form, some are scented collars, some are aromatic oil diffusers and other tools.

Calming Sounds

A simple search on a popular video site like YouTube will give you many soundscapes and pieces of music tailored to quell a dog’s anxiety. However, there are also special products like speakers that come preloaded with dog-friendly tunes to calm your best pal.

Pharmaceuticals

If your dog is extra anxious, it may be a good idea to talk to your vet about a prescription for anti-anxiety medicines. Some meds vets prescribe are doggy doses of the same ones people take like Trazodone or Fluoxetine (more commonly known as Prozac). Others are specifically for our furry friends. You should only use these under the care of a veterinarian. Never give your dog a bite of your own anxiety prescription because the doses are very different! Plus, some prescriptions that work for humans don’t work the same way for animals.

Weighted Shirts & Blankets

Weighted shirts and blankets have a calming effect on many humans, and the same is true for our dog friends. There are special dog shirts that, when worn, can help reduce a dog’s anxiety. They can wear it all day long and feel more secure. Get the proper size so your furry friend feels safe and anxiety-free throughout your moving process.

dog in a shirt
you may not need the shades, but the shirt can calm a dog

Tip #3: Have Someone Watch Spot on Moving Day

Moving day is no place for a dog. Doors are open, things are all in flux, and it would be easy for a spooked dog to run out and get away in the confusion. Plus, an anxious dog may get in the way of movers, making things more dangerous for everyone. Most pet owners have a trusted friend or family member who can take the dog for a day or two while the move is underway. If you don’t know anyone, boarding a dog at a well-reviewed local facility could be a great alternative. When moving long distances, you need to take your dog with you for the actual move, but consider boarding during the packing and unpacking process.

Tip #4: Inspect Your New Home for Dog Hazards & Make it Safe Prior to Move-In

Dog owners care about their charges and want them to stay safe. That’s why you need to consider your dog from the start of the moving process, even when you are simply browsing new places to live.

Making a Safe Space For Your Dog

When you are looking for a new place to live, evaluate how the new space will affect your dog pal. Does it have a fenced-in yard? Do any modifications need to be made to make it perfect for a canine companion? Before moving in, inspect any barriers to make sure there is no space where your dog could slip out. You should also ask previous owners or property managers if they used any poison recently that could make your pet sick. Be on the lookout for small bug traps that may contain poison, or spots where rat poison may have been used and clean them up if you find anything.

When moving, be careful about leaving out any human food that could be bad for your furry friend, like onions, garlic, or raw or fried shrimp. Even a typically harmless food like celery could be a harmful choking hazard to a dog if eaten in large pieces.

The Introduction

When you first introduce a dog to your space, keep them on a leash. A new space is a scary thing for a dog. They may be excited about all the activity going on, but there may be new rules the dog has to learn. That will take some time, so keep them on a leash while you’re still moving in, especially if you have any supplies out that could be toxic to your dog.

Tip #5: Create a Comfy Dog Space With Familiar Objects in Your New Home

You can’t keep your dog on a leash 24/7. They would probably get annoyed with that. So, how can you keep Fido happy while they are still getting familiar with your new home? One way is to create a safe doggy space with all of their favorite toys and familiar objects. Use a pet gate to create a safe, off-leash area where your mutt can relax with their dog bed, food and water, favorite stuffy and other toys. This will make it feel comfortable and convey the idea that this new home is a safe place to relax.

Tip #6: Bring Medical Records & Set Up a New Vet Before Arriving in a New Town

Before you even get to your new destination, do your research. Find a well-reviewed vet and find out what you need to do to become a patient there. Schedule a “get to know you” type of visit with your chosen vet to see if they are a good fit for you and your dog once you arrive. Bring your dog’s records with you including any registration or vaccination records. Research the ordinances and laws about dog ownership, vaccination and registration in your new town. That way, you’ll be prepared to take care of your dog 100% in your new destination straight from the start.

dog at the vet
get your pooch comfy with a new vet

Tip #7: Patience is a Virtue!

It will definitely take some time for your dog to get used to the new space. There may be some accidents or regressive behavior in the first few days, weeks or even months. Dogs take time to learn new rules and to feel like a new home is really their home. In the first few months be especially vigilant about open doors and holes in fences because your dog may try to run away and go back to your previous location. However, be patient because eventually, your dog will learn that this is their new home, especially if you provide them with a lot of love, strong routine and comfortable space with familiar objects.

Now that you know what to do to make moving great for you and your dog, sit back, relax and let the movers take care of everything! Good luck to you and your dog in your new home.

About the Author

Dayva S

Dayva Segal is a freelance writer and ghostwriter based in the SF Bay Area. She primarily writes about technology, digital marketing, fitness, health, and wellness. As a true dog lover, it’s always a good day when she gets to write about dogs!

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