Moving can be stressful and hectic. With all of the items on your to-do list, you may overlook the stress moving will put on your pet. Have you ever noticed how your dog reacts when you are unexpectedly away from your home for a long period of time? They are creatures of habit and thrive on schedules and knowing what to expect. When moving, it’s best to make incremental changes instead of all at once to minimize anxiety for your pets and help them adjust faster. We’ve complied some helpful advice for you to follow that will help you both with the move.
1. A few months before your move, begin to introduce or reintroduce a crate or pet carrier. You can begin by putting bedding and treats inside the crate to get them comfortable with it. This will be very helpful when you need to keep your pet safe and out of the way when you’re moving furniture, traveling, or prevent them from trying to make an escape.
2. If your dog is not leash-trained begin to start using the leash and going for walks. Your dog will need to be on a leash during the move and when introducing him to your new home.
3. When packing and moving furniture keep your pet in another room with his food, water, favorite toy or bone and bed. Not only will it help you get things packed quicker, moving furniture confuses pets and makes them nervous as it changes their structure. If your pup is a “shredder” and thinks boxes are their toys, you may want to keep him in his crate when your packing!
4. Try to keep walking and meals at the same times. Again, they are creatures of habit and structure makes them feel safe.
5. Make sure vaccinations and dog tags, are up-to-date. If you’re moving long distance and your pet has extreme anxiety or is scared of being in the car, visit the veterinarian who may prescribe a mild sedative. This should only be a last resort because it can have negative side effects. Make sure you discuss this with the veterinarian and only give under the vets direction.
6. Check for dog-friendly hotels and book them ahead of time. The last thing you want to be doing on your journey is trying to find a pet-friendly hotel at 12 a.m.
7. If you’re not moving very far away, try to take your dog on walks in your new neighborhood to get familiar with the scent. If possible and the owners approve, it is a great idea to bring your dog inside the new home for a visit. This will help him acclimate faster when you move in.
Moving Day and Post Move
8. Bring snacks and water for the ride if you’re moving long distance. Don’t forget a bowl for the water. Make sure to walk your dog each time you stop for your bathroom break! You may want to keep your pet’s favorite toy or blanket with them in the car. Yes, they are a lot like children in this regard!
9. It’s a great idea to find dog parks along the way if you’re traveling long distance so he can work off some energy and have a more relaxed ride.
10. Upon arriving at your new home, make sure your dog is on a leash before exiting the car. Start by walking your dog on the leash around the outside of the home and yard and let him sniff and get familiar with the property and its scent.
11. When introducing him to the inside of the house, you may be tempted to just let him loose and explore! Instead, keep him on the leash and walk him to a quiet room where you set up his crate, bed, toys, water and food bowls. The familiar items will make him feel more secure and give him a sense of his “home base” while you are moving in. Spend a little time with him in the room before the movers arrive and the unpacking process begins.
12. Make sure your pets are safely locked up when the movers arrive and start going in and out of the house. Put a sign on the door of the room your pet is in so that movers don’t let him out while furniture is being moved. The best option is to have your pet in a crate with the door closed until the moving crew leaves.
13. It’s important to implement routines as soon as possible. Dogs especially are creatures of habit and are happiest when they know what to expect. Try to keep the same routines and times for walking, eating, etc. as they were before the move. This will help him settle in faster and feel safe.
14. The first few times you go for a walk with your dog, make sure he’s on a leash and go block by block to see who lives in the neighborhood and if there are any aggressive dogs along the way. If there are, you may want to adjust the route of your walk.
15. If you have the option of not immediately going back to work, it will help your pet with the transition if you stay home during the first week in your new home. If not, perhaps hire a pet sitter or have a familiar family member stay with them when you’re at work.
Keep in mind that our pets pick up on our emotions. If you’re stressing out your pet will soon be also. Moving is a stressful event for everyone – pets included. You both need time to adjust. If you follow these helpful tips, your pet will have a much easier transition!