6 Helpful Tips in Moving with a Dog
There is always excitement whenever you set up a new home and explore the neighborhood. However, little things that need to be done before the transfer seem to be your priority. The packing, carrying, and unpacking of stuff, account cancellations, and utility transfers can really be stressful. And moving in with a dog can be an additional burden if your furry buddy isn’t that cooperative.
If you are moving into your new home, make it as smooth as possible. Go ahead and learn some tips and tricks to help your dog adjust to your new house.
1. Moving with a Dog Preparation
Preparing your dog for an upcoming change in his environment is vital. Yes, this statement is easier said than when done. You have to get him ready before moving in. Here are some suggestions or recommendations for you then:
Let Your Dog Get Used to Moving Supplies
Desensitize your best friend to moving boxes and other supplies a few weeks prior to moving in. dogs are quick to predict any change in routine. He knows you are leaving when he sees you pulling out your suitcase. This can trigger his anxiousness especially if he suffers separation anxiety in the past.
Gather moving boxes and stuff then put them in a corner or against a wall. Allow your pooch to explore them on his own. Establish a positive connection with these things give your dog a delicious treat whenever he approaches the boxes.
Start opening the boxes and move them around your house as he gets used to their presence. You are making these supplies a positive or a neutral thing in his mind. This will actually help you find and pack the boxes before or on a moving day.
Take Your Pet for Neighborhood Walks
Introduce your pet to the neighborhood of his new home. This would be possible if you are transferring to a place nearby. Take him to jaunts around on a regular basis.
Let him tour around and take in the sounds, smells, and sights. This would be a great help in making him feel more comfortable and acclimated during the daily walks in the new neighborhood. Also, this will make him feel as already living in the area.
Keep the Regular Routine of Your Dog
Try to stick with their regular feeding and walking times. Use their usual evening playtime or potty breaks. With consistency, he will feel safer and more relaxed as he knows his expectation. He may only get anxious for abrupt changes for the lack of day-to-day structure.
Learn how his daily structure can benefit him, especially in life events such as moving into a new house.
Enrich Your Dog’s Mental Health
Keep his brain entertained to mitigate stress. Let him get mental exercises to practice appropriate behaviors. Feed him his favorite food or treat and provide his interactive toys while packing up. This activity will tire him up and keep your dog busy helping you out as well.
Other than that, you can go outdoors with him to keep him confident and calm as well as make you sane. Coping with the whole process can be stressful.
Make Sure Your Dog Remains Physically Fit
Exercise helps relieve stress for you and your pet. See to it that he still receives enough physical activity or exercise even when you are busy. Off-leash time in a safe and enclosed space for play will keep him less stressed and in great shape. You can let him go swimming to burn off his excess energy.
Set Up the New Safe Space of Your Dog
Before bringing your dog to the new home, set up his safe space first. You may do it with him around as well just see to it that he knows where it is located. Try feeding him in this area to establish a positive association with his new space. Also, make him relaxed by plugging in a calming pheromone diffuser.
2. Moving with Your Dog
Upon moving in, introduce him to the new house by showing him around. Do this with happy trips, play, and a happy voice. The comfort of any familiar thing for him such as a crate or bed would be of great help.
Spend time with him for few days to get used to his new environment. Accompanying him around encourages and reenforces favorable behaviors. Moreover, it deters and interrupts undesirable behaviors on a moving day.
Take note that some dogs are fond of chewing parts as they explore. Meanwhile, there are those marking their territory by peeing on it. Another thing to consider is the ability of canines to read body language.
They can sense if you are anxious, and this might add up to their anxiety. This will likely reduce if you are happy and in an upbeat mood.
3. Help Your Dog Adjust to Any Potential Transition Anxiety
Although not all, many dogs normally exhibit separation anxiety symptoms after moving in. You need to be compassionate and patient when your dog feels anxious about the changes in this stressful period. Acknowledge the adjustment he has to undergo. Here are some tips to limit his anxiety:
Previous Anxiety Treatment Re-Implementation
Before the transport day, make sure to restart his previous treatment for anxiety for the upcoming change’s preparation. Give your dog this treatment course from 4-6 weeks along with desensitization exercises and practicing counter conditioning. This reduces the stressful effects of the transfer and settling easily.
Keeping a Routine
A predictable routine eases anxiety and encourages faster acclimation. Keep his regular walks as well as his other activities as usual throughout the transition and create a daily routine when you got home. This makes him navigate and make his day sensible. While variations happen, he can still depend on a set schedule.
Keep his routine going as this is part of the adjustment. Do your very best to stay on the schedule. He will slowly adjust to the changes if you stick to his usual routine.
Calming Music Helps
If your dog undergoes transition anxiety after the move-in, never leave him alone for a long time. Playing calming music eases anxiety and covers noise outside. Give your dog reassurance and love every time he asks for it.
Comfort him when he shows uncertainty. He may look for some cues from you. Don’t show him any sign of anxiousness as this may result in mirroring such behavior.
Use of a Pet Sitter on the Moving Day
A pet sitter or a trusted friend is considered the safest place for your pooch. This person will help him and prepare your dog for the transition. Your dog will be taken care of and be guided to live in your new home with comfort. This keeps him from his anxiousness out from his constant activity.
Comfortable New Space
Make his space in the new home comfortable bed having your smell. Try to plug-in pheromones that appeases him. You may also include interactive toys, blankets, and a bowl of water to keep him distracted and busy.
He has a nook with comforting and familiar items and smells he can retreat to. These things will make him think of home no matter where they may be. The corner you made for him will help ease his stress.
Letting Out Your Dog’s Energy
Exercise is essential to mitigate anxiety and keep your pooch calm as too much energy can heighten stress levels. You may add a new game or make the walk longer. The transition would be easier if more of his energy will be out.
Use of Anti-Anxiety Aid
Moving may exacerbate anxiety for those dogs prone to it. Consult his vet a month prior to the transfer for possible prescription medication for anxiety. Other options for stress relievers may include zen collars and calming aids. Focus on the state of mind of your best friend so will know if the anti-anxiety support benefits him.
Seek Help from Veterinarian
Find a veterinarian and ask for recommendations from your co-workers and neighbors. Get your best friend a check-up before a potential emergency situation. Look around for region-specific vaccines that may help him calm down especially if you go outdoors most of the time.
4. On the Day of Moving In
In most instances, moving day to your new home is definitely chaotic for pets. So, what do you do when moving day comes?
Dogs see a lot of people around like strangers who are there to cart off the furniture and everything around. Try to schedule a playdate for your pooch with a trusted relative or friend.
Make sure to keep him out of any harm during the move. An alternative for this is to place him in a quiet room or crate where he cannot see the movers.
Upon moving out, pack him into your car last. This will be a great way to keep him from overheating. Cover his crate with a light blanket so he will not be able to see the scenery you will be passing through.
Experts said that this could be frightening for dogs. You can remove the cover after hours or once he calms down.
You are then ready to get him out of the car and welcome him to your new home. Of course, do this slowly so as not to give him a shocking impression. He is a naturally curious animal likely to sniff around and dart out in this new environment.
Allow him some time to get to know the place. Just be patient on his adjustment period as he will find comfort in one way or another.
Try treating him out for the moving day. You can take him to a dog-friendly restaurant nearby until everything moving out and in is over.
Moreover, segregate him again in a safe room or his crate once the movers bring in your belongings. It would be a great idea to set up your furniture in a pattern similar to the previous setting. This will be less stressful on his part when moving around. Re-establish a familiar potty and feeding schedule.
5. Traveling to Your New House
Before moving in, plan and decide on the right transportation method for everyone and everything. While this can be fun for the whole family, it may not be the same case with your furry household member. You need to consider some factors for him. take note of the following:
Long Distance Transfer
Driving long hours before any stop is not good for him. He needs a bathroom break and some stretching every four-six hours. This will naturally add to the time of your travel. Plan where you are staying for a night. There are accommodations not allowing pets to stay with you so arrange this beforehand.
Dog’s Age and Stamina for Long Trips
Senior canines are likely at risk for health issues whether it is hours in unsupervised cargo or days on the road. Sit down with your pup’s veterinarian for the safest travel method for him. Sometimes, making a tough choice of re-homing him is better than letting him ensure the ordeal.
Difficulty for Larger Dogs to Travel In-Cabin
If moving in needs an air trip, larger dogs need to go with the cargo. They will be safe here than in a limited space underneath the plane’s seat. Another thing is the variations of greater temperature, which may greatly affect their health.
Use of Baggage Cart for Air Travel
You will appreciate the functionality of a cart if you are carrying wheeled suitcases along with your dog. You will have more hands to help you out with his needs through the airport.
6. Help Your Dog Adjust When Already Moved In
Be the guide for your dog’s process of settling in his new home. The adjustment period for dogs defers depending on their mood. While it may take some time for most dogs to calm down, there are some that would love to explore their new area. It may take them several weeks or months to finally settle down if the routines are different from their old home.
Re-Establish Good Habits with Your Dog
When settling in, make sure to re-establish those habits good for you and your pooch. Concentrate on boundaries, limitations, and rules. Stay with your previous routine as quickly and as closely as possible. Update his tag’s contact information and stat.
Refrain from Purchasing New Gear
It is likely for you to buy new things when moving to a new place. It would be better to keep this urge to your own stuff but not his. Leave his things alone for a few days or weeks until such time that he is already used to his corner.
Do not wash them and keep them smell just like him. Although his old stuff may be nasty for your house, they give comfort to him. Do not take them away from him. the familiar scent of these items helps him feel at home in your new place.
However, if the urge in purchasing these things overwhelms you, try indulging it with new things to chew on or toys. Resist the temptation of replacing his regular gear.
Leave the treats and familiar things whenever you are departing. Some canines are very sensitive, and they have to learn how to be okay when their owners are away. Wait before leaving your dog alone, which may sometimes mean taking him with you everywhere.
You may take turns with the other family members in accompanying him to your new home. Begin with short departures in times leaving him is necessary. Leaving your dog with something that is new or he loves to chew on is helpful. His usual crate, blanket, or bed might give him comfort as well.
Patience is Vital
As mentioned earlier, be patient and let your dog adjust at his own speed. Weeks or months, it does not really matter how long will it take for him to adjust. Patience likely helps speed up his adjustment process than when you are letting in your impatience.
More Love and Compassion
Your furry buddy needs lots of your spending time and attention in walking, playing, or simply being with you. The tendency of becoming overwhelmed with details in attending to and doing tasks poses a problem during the transfer.
It is an unrealistic thought of your ability to do more for him only if you were not moving into a new home. However, committing yourself to spend quality time with him daily would be a great help.
Yes, literally spend precious time with him on the floor. Familiar smells help him feel at home even when he is in a new place. Add familiar smells to the house as fast as you can through quality floor time with him. also, this gives him that love he needs during this trying, stressful time for him.
FAQs About Moving with Dogs
Here are some of the frequently asked questions from fur parents and owners:
Is moving stressful for dogs?
As much as moving into a new home is stressful for humans, it is for dogs too. You, as a parent or owner, can make its impact easier though. Note that their life is dependent on familiarity and routines. Also, they feed much of your emotions. Be very careful in showing off your reactions upon moving in.
Moving may develop confusion and fear for your pet. When taken lightly, this can result in severe problems like separation anxiety. Accompany him and never leave him alone in the first few weeks in his new home.
How long does it take for a dog to adjust to a new home?
The time frame as to when your dog becomes comfortable at your new home depends on his adjustment process. While some dogs may take a longer time to adapt to the changes in moving, others may be able to cope up with the adjustment overnight.
Most dogs likely behave or settle after three weeks. However, it takes months for them to feel really fit into your routine. Much more, it may take longer for an adult dog to feel at home with you. Follow the tips above on how to handle this situation.
Just be patient enough and guide him in his journey of acceptance and comfort in the new environment. Settling in with convenience will then come naturally in time.
How do you help a dog cope with moving?
You are a big aid in your dog’s journey to moving in adjustment. Some effective ways for him to cope up include keeping up with regular schedules and routines, setting up a comfortable space for him, and being understanding and patient on the process. Keeping familiar furniture and not accepting visitors at home yet are also helpful. Know more about these factors above.
Just trust how he may be able to cope up with all the changes happening. Stay at home with him as much as possible to comfort him.
In circumstances when things are beyond your capability already, get your dog a professional assistance. Consult a certified pet behavior expert or veterinarian when he does not adjust after weeks.
Health ailments may be the reason when he acts unusually. Call a vet once you notice an extraordinary in is behavior or health. It is better to be proactive than reactive especially when health is at stake.
How does moving affect a dog?
Moving greatly affects your dog as much as you, and even more. This is tough for him especially the changes that come with it. The strain and anxiety are usual during this moving process. He may experience motion sickness during the transfer.
It is then important that you notice the signs or symptoms of potential anxiety in him. These include drooling, pacing, aggression, excessive barking, and depression. Defecating or urinating inside the house or any other destructive behavior may also be the cause of the transfer.
However, there are also times moving does not have much effect on dogs. Although the new environment tends to disarm some of them, they do not have a negative response to moving.
Make sure that their social groups and routines stay the same. The adjustment process will be less painful for your pup if he has the same routine and familiar people and pets around him.
Moving to a new home can be a challenge for every member of the family including your dog. Consider the possibilities to arise before, during, and after the movement. It is better to prepare for the potential effects and the adjustments needed.
Take note of the tips above to live a better life in your new home. In the long run, lifestyle adjustment for him would be easy and less hurtful.
How about you? Have you tried moving in with a dog? We would be glad to hear your story in the comments below then.
Feature image source: Erda Estremera on Unsplash