Tips for moving house with a dog
Whether moving cross country with a dog or just across town, these tips will help your dog to settle in quickly to their new home.
As you can see, the section on preparing your dog for a home move below is by far the largest section of this guide. That is deliberate and justified. Just like you need a robust plan to ensure your furniture is moved safely and efficiently, you need a plan to make the transition from old to new home as stress-free as possible for your dog. Preparation is the key to a successful home move for your household goods and your dog.
#1 What to do when moving home with a dog – Pre-Move Planning
- Welfare: If you are moving out of state with a dog, check whether there are any vaccination requirements in your new state for your dog. Have all their vaccinations up to date and get a copy of their vet records for when you register your pup at the new vet clinic. It is best to start this process early in case a course of vaccinations are required.
- Precautions: Before you move home, it is a good idea to get your dog micro-chipped or update the micro-chipping company records with your new address if your pet is already chipped. Have a new dog collar identity tag prepared with your new address or contact numbers just in case the unthinkable happens and your dog gets lost in your new neighborhood. Consider buying an extendable leash if you have concerns about your dog running off whilst it gets used to its new surroundings.
- Plan your move date: If your dog is easily spooked by fireworks or noise, avoid a moving date that is on or near a celebration date, such as New Year when there are likely to be fireworks going off. Unfamiliar surroundings, lots of noise, and fireworks are not a good mix for a dog that may already be very anxious or unsettled.
- Check out your new backyard: When looking at a prospective new home, make sure you visually check all the perimeter fences for any escape routes that your dog might find. This will give you time to purchase any materials to repair the fence or to arrange someone to do it for you prior to the arrival of your dog at their new home.
- Keep routines: There is so much for you to do when moving home that it is easy to disrupt the daily routine of your dog. But try to keep things as normal as possible, same times for walks or feeding, and especially for play. Don’t pack away any of the dog’s toys or blankets until the last moment as they need the familiarity of the smells of their home.
- Signs of dog anxiety: If your dog is starting to suffer from home moving anxiety, they may suffer a loss of appetite, begin to mess in the home, or whimper and whine a lot. Should you have any concerns, consult your vet who may be able to prescribe some calming drugs for your dog.
- Manage your dog’s anxiety: There is going to be so much happening in your home whilst preparing to move that your dog may become overwhelmed with all the activity. Plan on having your dog looked after away from the home on the days when you will be packing or when the packers are due. Strange people and lots of noise and activity will only stress your pup.
- Prepare a dog room for moving day: Have a room available where the dog will feel safe and secure away from the upheaval of moving day. Take time to allow the dog to become familiar with being in that room, and fill it with their favorite toys and bedding. Get them used to playing, being fed in that room, and having the door closed so that come moving day it will seem perfectly normal to the dog to be in there.
Although you will want everything clean and shiny for your new home, don’t wash the dog’s blankets. It will help keep your dog calm if they have the familiar smells of their old home still on their toys and blankets.
#2 Tips for moving with a dog – Moving Day
Moving day is going to be particularly stressful for your dog so plan to make their environment and routine as familiar as possible.
- Have a room set aside where your dog can be kept out of harm’s way whilst the movers empty your home.
- Keep that room locked or clearly signed that your dog is in there so that the movers do not enter it. This will prevent your dog being disturbed, or worse, escaping.
- Make sure there are familiar toys and blankets in the room with plenty of water.
- Small and regular feeds are better than a large meal for your dog, especially if you have to travel a long way to your new home.
- Assign one member of the family to look after your pet, to regularly check they are OK, and to spend some time with your dog to comfort and reassure them.
#3 Help your dog to adjust to its new surroundings
The stress for your dog does not end on moving day. Their new world will be filled with unfamiliar sounds and smells, their food and water will be in unfamiliar places and there will still be lots of activity going on whilst you unpack.
- Consider having a couple of days unpacking, with the dog staying with a relative or friend that they know, whilst you do so.
- It may help your dog to settle in if you take a few days off work to stay at home and reassure your dog whilst it gets used to its new home.
- Don’t forget to double check that the fences are still secure in your new backyard so that your dog cannot escape.