Moving with a Dog

Moving to a new place is almost always stressful – and if you have a dog who is least interested in sitting still at one place, moving can be downright traumatic. Whether your move is long-distance or just a block away. If you’re moving with your dog, there’s a lot to accomplish 

Dogs are typically content as long as their social group remains consistent, but losing their familiar home and routine can be upsetting for some. The thing is that dogs actually don’t understand what is happening, and they try to figure it out by roaming and barking around. 

So, it’s up to you to make this process less painful for your furry friend and make them feel comfortable before, during, and after your move. If you are still puzzled over how to make this experience easier for both of you, we know exactly how to pull that off. We have shared a few steps below to help you and your pups with the transition.

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Before You Move with Your Dog

  • Okay, now that you have decided to move to a new place, you must prepare your dog for it. You will have to create a positive association with your dog and familiarize them with all moving supplies.
  • Buy new household materials at least two weeks before your moving day. This will allow your dog to examine those new materials and get familiar with them. You can make this happen by playing with your dog near these boxes so that the dog can sniff them out. When they investigate these materials, they will slowly get familiar with them. 
  • Consider today as your moving day. How are you going to get there with your dog? If you plan to go road trip with your dog, you will need to invest in a well-fitted car harness. Buying this will help your dog to have a safe and comfortable journey. And if you are moving internationally and going to fly in a plane. You can take your dog to the car wash with you. Taking your dog through the car wash will stimulate the feeling of the sounds and motion of flight.

Plan Ahead to Avoid Surprises

  • First and foremost, not everyone is a dog lover. Please make sure whether there are any breed bans in the new place. Your new landlord may be fine with a Rottweiler, but certain breeds are prohibited by local governments, neighborhood associations, and insurance agencies. 
  • The second thing, make sure you have a vet nearby your new place. Don’t wait until the dog gets sick or injured. Conduct some research to determine whether your pet will require any new vaccinations or preventative medications. Ensure your new neighborhood is not infested with ticks, heartworm, or leptospirosis. Read our article on Ways to find a good neighborhood to get more idea on this.
  • Everyone has heard the wonderful stories about dogs getting separated during a household move and eventually finding their way back home across the country. Sorry to say, but that does not happen every day! If your dog does not stay still when unleashed, make sure your dog gets microchipped. Or at least you can print its name and your phone number on its collar.

Prepare Your Dog for Change

  • This is easier said than done because dogs usually do not like sudden changes. To help your dog adjust to changes in their daily routine, start making changes (e.g., in schedules or how family members interact) before the move.
  • Experts advise clients to discuss the upcoming move with their pets, explaining where they’re going and what life will be like there. No, Rex will definitely not fathom the actual words. But your calm voice and actions will project calmness to your pet. You may read our guide on Moving with Pets to know more about this.
  • It will be easy for a dog to adapt if you carry its bed, favorite bowl, toy with you to the new place.

What to do on Moving Day?

  • It can be chaotic for your dog to see strangers carting away their favorite furniture and familiar surroundings on moving day. So, it’s better to arrange a dog playdate with a friend or relative who can keep your dog out of any harm on the moving day.
  • Take your dog for a walk or play in a park before moving. Remember, exercise exhausts their energy. This will make them less likely to engage in messy, destructive behaviors at home. It will also make them more likely to cooperate if you have to leave the house quickly for a showing or leave them in their crates.
  • When it’s time to leave for your new home, make sure your dog is the last one in the car, so he doesn’t overheat. Cover the dog crate with a light blanket at first to keep your dog from seeing the passing scenery, which can be frightening for them. Also see our blog on Moving Blankets.
  • In addition to the necessities of food and water, we recommend that you bring a few favorite toys, extra towels, and bedding with you on your trip.
  • Ensure they always have ventilation and feed them lightly if they have a sensitive stomach.

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Also See: Tips for Moving Day

Introducing Dogs to Their New Home

  • Before allowing Tommy to explore his new home, inspect it to ensure that no health hazards, such as cleaning products and rat poisons that he can ingest, or holes in cabinets or walls where he can hide, have been left behind. Then open the crate and let your dog explore at his leisure.
  • It’s better to keep your dog leashed few days. Your dogs will need time to learn where they can and cannot go inside and outside your new home. 
  • Dogs are curious creatures, and most will dart out and sniff around their new surroundings. On the other hand, Cats are more reticent and take their time getting to know this new place you’ve dragged them to. So be patient, give them time, and don’t rush them.
  • Some things will most likely change in your new house, but try to maintain as much of your previous routine as possible. If you’ve changed time zones, go right into the new schedule as if nothing happened. Continue to take your 9 a.m. walk in your new location, even if it feels like 11 a.m., to your dog.
  • A dog’s senses can be overwhelmed by so many new experiences. Remember that they hear a lot more than you do. Meet your neighbors, so your pet understands who is welcome on their block and who is a “stranger danger.”

Helping Your Dog in Transition Period

  • It is natural for many dogs to exhibit anxiety after moving to a new place. They may feel constant fear of separation after seeing the new place and new faces. To make them comfortable, you will have to give them time by staying close to them. 
  • Try to keep things related to your dog as same as possible. For instance, if your dog loves to sit on your living room sofa, try to keep that sofa for a few days or create the same scenario at your new place. Place all the rugs, blankets, and toys that smell like your dog in their comfy place, so they don’t feel they are away from their home. 
  • Always allow your dog to decide whether it wants to be associated with the world around them. Don’t force them to do it if they don’t want to go to a certain corner in the house. 
  • You may be excited to how your new house to your friends and relatives, but this can be a big stress-inducer for your dog. So, try to keep fewer visitors as possible. Familiar faces will be fine but try not to invite new people into your house yet. The chaos while moving and struggle to adjust to a new place can change your dog’s behavior even if your dog normally loves greeting new people.
  • After moving to a new place, your dog might not eat or play normally, and they may also showcase a different personality. This can be a sign that your dog is experiencing a lot of stress. Get an appointment with a certified positive reinforcement-based trainer or canine behavior consultant as soon as you notice this behavior. 

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See Also: Top Interstate Moving Company in the America | Renting an Apartment with Pets | Dog Proofing your Home

FAQs

How long will it take for my dog to settle in?

When it’s time for your dog to settle in, set up, or re-establish good habits, focus on rules, boundaries, and limitations. Toys, playtime, and treats can make the transition for your dog to your new home more enjoyable, especially if they are used to reinforce good behavior. It is difficult to predict how long it will take for a dog to settle in as every dog is different. Most dogs settle down within a few days; some will enjoy the adventure of exploring their new home right away, while others might take weeks to adjust. But remember that it may take longer to settle in if your new home’s routines differ from your previous one. 

How can I prepare my dog to live with new people?

Firstly, be present to participate in these activities and interactions between your dog and the new family members. Your new friends and family members must understand every habit of your dog and that any form of punishment is unacceptable. Also, make sure your dog has a quiet, secure area where he can get away from everyone when it becomes overwhelmed by the people and activities of the house. Sometimes it isn’t easy to settle in and set up a routine, even for us. Then it’s just a dog!

How can I introduce my dog to new dogs?

When introducing your dog to one or more new dogs, it may be best to have the dogs interact on neutral territory on one or more occasions before the move. This will help to determine whether or not there are any interaction problems. Take the dogs for a walk and playtime together on the day of the move before returning home. Food, toys, and treats, which may cause competition (and contention), should be avoided from the start unless the dogs are completely supervised or separated from one another. To prevent competition for these resources, it may be necessary to provide separate feeding and sleeping areas for each dog at first.

Will my dog be sad if we move?

Yes. Dogs to have feelings as we do. It might be exciting because you have been planning this for a long time. But for your dog, it will be all sudden, and it most likely feels insecure or feel stress. If your dog could talk, they would most likely tell you that your house is a safe haven for them. New places frighten them at first and, in some cases, it may also cause them to misbehave. However, if you calm your dog right away, you may be able to avoid a panic situation. Playing in the yard with your dog and spending time in the areas of the house where he will spend the most time will do the trick. 

How do you know if your dog is sad?

Symptoms of depression in canines are very similar to those experienced by humans. Low activity, a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, and a change in eating and sleeping habits are all common symptoms. When dogs feel sad, they may exhibit aggressive behavior, such as unusual howling or whining. During this time, if you can have some relaxed time together, like reading a book or taking a nap as well, it will definitely lift up the dog’s mood. If he notices you are relaxed, and at ease in your new surroundings, your dog will relax as well.

Written by


Rostislav Shetman is the founder of 9Kilo Moving. He has been in the moving and relocation industry for more than 25 years, making him an expert in his field. Rostislav started as a helper, dispatcher and driver and has worked his way up to owning his own company. He takes great pride in his work and enjoys helping people relocate across the United States of America. When he's not working, Rostislav enjoys spending time with his family and friends. They are the light of his life and bring him happiness every day.