Moving With a Dog
So you’re planning on moving. Fun! But you’re moving with a dog — extra stress! No worries, moving with a dog only adds a little bit of extra preparation to the project. Because your pup is part of the family, you want to make sure you consider him every step of the way, from planning, to moving, to settling. We’ve outlined several tips ahead that’ll help keep the moving process efficient and also hopefully ease some of your dog’s anxiety after moving.
Preparing your dog for Moving Day
Your dog is smart and will quickly catch on that something is awry in your house as you prepare for your move. This makes moving with a dog a little easier because they pick up on these clues and won’t be quite as surprised. Here’s what you need to do to prepare your dog for moving day.
Psych your dog up
This one should be pretty easy because your home will probably be littered with boxes for at least a few days before the move. This is a good thing for your dog because it will signify to them that a change is coming. Dogs are smarter than you think, and when they see you packing up the house and putting everything into boxes, they’ll most likely at least have some idea that something is about to change.
Keep a schedule
If your dog already has a strict daily routine, keep to it. If you always get up at the same time, go for walks at the same time, feed the dog at the same time, do your best to stay with that schedule in the days leading up to the move. Because your home is already in disarray with moving boxes, keeping to a routine will keep your dog calm amid the chaos.
Introduce your dog to the new neighborhood
If your move isn’t too far away, take your dog over to “meet” the new neighborhood before you fully move in. Let him sniff around and explore a little bit so he can get the lay of the land. It’s not a bad idea to do this a couple of times in the days or weeks before the move. This way it’s not a total shock when you arrive.
Handling Moving Day with an anxious dog
Moving day is already stressful without considering a nervous pup. In the midst of preparing for your move and the big day, you really should figure your dog into the entire plan. Moving with a dog is another item to add to the moving checklist, and here’s how you should handle moving day.
Keep your dog with you
As much as you can, try to keep your dog close to you throughout the move. This will help ease your dog’s anxiety of moving to a new home. That means keeping him within sight while you and your movers are packing up, keeping him by your side on the way to the new house, and keeping him nearby as you unpack in the new place.
Or have him stay with a friend
Conversely, if you have someone who is able to take your dog for the day, that’s another option. If you have a friend or family member who knows and likes your dog (and who your dog is comfortable with), see if they can dog sit for the day and bring the dog over after the big move is done. This way your dog doesn’t have to deal with the stress of the move happening around him, and you don’t have to worry about him misbehaving.
Devote some time to playtime
If you have time on the morning of moving day, take your dog for a run or for some rigorous playtime. This will wear him out a little bit so he’s more tired and relaxed as the moving kicks off. He’ll already be anxious enough, but if he has too much energy on top of that, he could end up really uncomfortable and really uncooperative.
Keep treats handy
You already know that reinforcing positive behavior is a great way to encourage your dog. Make sure you have treats handy on moving day so you can guide your dog to behave how you want him to. The treats will also help you keep him where you want him, especially amid the madness of movers coming in and out and things being in flux for the day. Toss him a treat when he listens to what you tell him to do and give him a couple more to keep him busy. You’ll appreciate the good behavior, and he’ll appreciate the treats!
Helping ease dog anxiety after moving
If your dog is freaking out in a new home, that’s kinda normal. It’s a new space that they’re not used to, but hopefully they’ll settle in in no time. However, there are things you can do to make it a little easier for him. Let us help you figure out how to help a dog adjust to a new home.
Give them a safe space
Your dog is bound to be overwhelmed at your new home. Give them a safe space that’s full of familiar things. This should include their bed, toys, food and water, and maybe some of your own things that smell like you. Give them a pillow from the couch or one of your shirts or, one of your child’s stuffed animals. These will all be signifiers to your dog that he is safe and this is home.
Show him around
Rather than set your dog loose in the new space, put him on a leash and guide him around. Show him where everything is, just like you would a houseguest. This can also ease some of the stress he might feel at exploring a new home. Once you’ve shown him around, take him back to his safe space and keep him contained. Gradually let him have the run of the whole house.
Get back to your routine
Just like you had a routine at your old place, you want to quickly establish a routine at the new place. If you can keep the same schedule as before, that’s even better. Try to feed and walk your dog at the same times he’s used to, even though he’s walking in a new neighborhood. This little bit of structure and normalcy will help him adjust to the environment more easily.
The bottom line
Moving with a dog doesn’t have to add extra stress to your moving day, as long as you plan ahead. Just like you prepare your family for their role in the move, you’ve got to prepare your dog as well. They can get stressed out with a change like this, but by following these tips, you can make it a little easier on him.
Frequently asked questions
Is moving stressful for dogs?
Yes, moving is absolutely stressful for dogs. Any kind of change and disturbance in routine can stress them out.
What should I do with my dog on Moving Day?
Expend some energy in the morning so your dog is relaxed, and then keep them near you during the move so they’re reassured that everything is okay.
Can dogs get depressed after moving?
Yes, your dog can become depressed after a move. If you notice your dog’s behavior is abnormal after you’ve moved, and it’s not getting any better, call your vet.
Can dogs get homesick when you move?
They can! Just like humans, dogs grow attached to where they live, and sometimes that even means they’ll run away and try to return to an old home.