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Moving with Dogs: How to Help Pets Adjust to a New Home

Photo by Erda Estremera

Moving to a new house is usually necessary, but it can be chaotic for pets. Imagine taking your entire life and bringing it to a brand new space and you are a family pet who doesn’t understand. It can be a hard adjustment for humans, and likewise, it is going to be a significant change, especially if your dog was a puppy when they joined your family.

Planning and preparing your kids for the change is completely necessary. Informing them in terms they understand at every step of the process will help them adapt to a new chapter. But what about our pets?

Dogs are highly unlikely to understand a drawn-out conversation about why you are moving and why it makes financial sense, or why they are slowly seeing the stripping of their home and many strange people coming and going. Even if they are pet friendly removalists, it can still be traumatic for dogs.

With that in mind, let’s consider how to move forward without disturbing your pets during a move.

Check out this moving day checklist!

Maintain Regular Routines

It can be very helpful to keep their routine the same as it has always been when moving to a new environment. If dogs have separation anxiety or aren’t sure why you are coming and going at odd hours, they might feel a little confused. A routine such as a similar bedtime, going out to conduct their business and being fed at the same time can help them relax.

In addition, you can slowly introduce them to the new house before you move in. Walking around the yard, letting them sniff, getting them used to the space, can be vital in aiding their sense of familiarity and comfort before they have to move in. Make sure to give them their favorite dog treats the first time in the new home so they will have a positive association.

Use Familiar Items For Comfort

Bringing along a doggy bed if you’re traveling in the car or letting them have a comfort toy can be a good way to keep them relaxed amidst all of the movement and chaos. This is especially true if your car is packed to the brim. Give your furry family member a safe place in the car so he can feel secure.

Sometimes the familiarity can come in the form of staying with a friend they know, a relative they’ve seen many times before, or a kennel you use whenever you go away on vacation and need your dog to be dutifully cared for. If you simply cannot care for your furry friends during the big move, a normal routine and extra time with the pet sitter they love is a good idea.

This way, the routine hasn’t changed too much and you won’t have to worry about bringing your pet back and forth while you try to manage everything else. If they have a habit of jumping on people they don’t know, you can bet your movers will appreciate the forethought, as well.

Photo by Ivan Babydov

Schedule Extra Play & Exercise Time

When you are trying to move to a new house and bring everyone along with you, it’s quite easy to forget about little aspects of your daily life that you might take for granted otherwise. For example, exercise time or scheduling a morning walk or potty breaks for your dog may go out of the window. Sometimes the best way to prepare a pet for a new location is to give them a safe space with a trusted friend while you deal with the chaos of the move.

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Depending on your dog’s breed, a move might lead to an abundance of energy which could express itself in harmful ways, such as your dog running around the house, scratching furniture, and more. That’s why using a dog walking service could be ideal at this time, even if it is enlisting your child to walk them, or allowing them to run around in the yard or a dog park for a while before you head on your final driving trip to the new space.

We all need to stretch our legs after a while, and dogs have two more than we do, so this point is doubly important.

Update Identification & Microchip Information

Of course, getting your dog adjusted to a new place is important, and that goes for the id tag or microchip information you have on them. This means if you dog runs off in a new neighborhood, they know where to return the pooch and also understand its medical history as appropriate.

It’s unlikely that an outcome such as this will be necessary, but it’s always best to be safe than sorry. Planning such an outcome in advance will give you peace of mind, knowing that no matter how much chaotic movement surrounds you right now, in the long run your dog will be safe and learn to be happy in its new surroundings.

Other Tips

Remember to pack your dog’s favorite toys, comfort items with a familiar smell, food and water bowls, fresh water, and enough food in a bag that can be immediately unpacked once you get to the new place. This will make the dog’s stress lower and ensure a smooth move for the sweet family pet! Establish a new area of the home to dedicate to your pooch and make sure to give him lots of extra love and snuggles to reassure them that the new situation is going to be ok! Make sure to keep the same daily routine for the first week or so and watch for signs of stress in your dog.

Just remember to give them the comfort of their same bed in the new home, so they can finally rest their head and enjoy the predictability of stable home life once more, even if certain issues like new house sounds may take time to adapt to.

With this advice, you’re certain to be able to settle into your new house without disrupting your dog’s life too much and they will adjust to the new address quickly. The good news is that it is usually easy with a little planning to make this a positive experience for everyone!

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Family lifestyle blogger from
Tyler, TX
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