Our home is the centre point of our lives and our family’s lives, but most especially – its the centre of your dog’s entire life! They spend more time in our homes than we do!
So if you have to move your home, your pets will naturally become deeply affected, too. They will feel like being uprooted from the familiar environment in which they’ve spent most of their life.
So what can you do to ensure your dog is okay on moving day?
Train Your Pet
A well-trained dog can survive any adventure, including travelling long distances.
Once you take on a pet, it would be preferable to immediately crate train him so you can take him along on trips anytime you like – such as moving house. Doing this will ensure that his temporary living space during your future travels is always safe and familiar.
You would be forgiven for deciding the entire process will be just a little bit easier if your dog was ‘out of the way’ during the packing, moving and unpacking. Many people choose to temporarily re-house their dog at either a boarding kennel or a friend’s house for this transition period.
Look for a boarding kennel near you and see if you can pack your pet’s bags and send him off on his own adventure.
You’ll be free to get on with your moving tasks without having to worry about your pet. At the same time, you’ll be handing your best buddy off to experts.
Before Moving Day
In the same way that your dog seems to know when he is about to go for a walk or how he somehow just knows that you are about to leave, he will also be able to detect that something is up.
As you start to pack everything into boxes and the mood changes to one of getting ready to leave, he will sense that something strange is going on.
It’s always best to prepare before doing any major task, and that includes preparing your furry friend for the travel of his life.
Old Habits Die Hard
Dogs are creatures of habit, and whilst you are getting ready to completely change the environment that he lives in, the last thing he needs is for part of his regular routine to get switched on him, especially when it’s the BEST part!
Try to make sure that his routine doesn’t get completely re-written. If you would typically walk him every night, don’t fall into the trap of skipping the walk so that you can get more packing done! Treat him with the same attention you would normally give had you not been in the process of moving your home.
Get Them Ready for New Territory
When dogs are taken out for walks in the neighbourhood, they will think they’re walking through their ‘territory’. They know the surroundings and are familiar with the neighbours’ pets.
If you pull your dog out from that kind of environment, he will naturally experience anxiety and stress. These can manifest in many ways, like excessive barking, hiding, running away, or in destructive behaviour such as digging or chewing things up.
You can try to prevent this stress by taking him for walks in the new neighborhood during the build up to the big move. Getting your dog familiar with the new area will make it just that little less jarring for when the move takes place and their regular walkies area swaps.
Update Their Registration Details
Part of responsible pet ownership is getting your dog collared and ensuring it is updated with your new address and your contact number.
Some pet owners go as far as having their dog implanted with a microchip under their skin. If your dog is microchipped as well, don’t forget to request the microchip registry to have your contact details changed.
Make sure to update your dog’s registration details with the local council of your new home. Make certain you comply with the local rules regarding pet ownership also.
Nobody plans for their dog to suddenly escape during moving day, but it can still happen. In this unfortunate event, you want to make sure that if and when your dog gets picked up, all the registration details will lead them straight back to you.
Pack Their Things Last
Keep all of his bedding, toys, food bowls, and other personal stuff out and readily available to him right up until the last items that get moved. It will only add to his stress levels if his favourite blanket is suddenly folded up, boxed up and taken away.
It may be tempting to treat moving home as an opportunity to replace the old bedding or the worn out toy, but you should avoid doing this. The familiar scent of the items will help keep him calm and make the new place feel like home sooner.
Also, be sure not to wash his favourite blanket or bedding a week prior and after the move. This is so he can have a safe and familiar shelter during the move and after arriving in your new home.
Usher In a New Adventure
Treat moving as an opportunity to play with your dog and introduce a new experience.
Some experts suggest giving your dog a new toy a few weeks before moving. If possible, play with that same toy with your dog in your new house and the surrounding outdoor areas. This will create familiarity for your dog despite being in a new environment.
Take Your Pet To Visit the New House
Take him for a visit to the new house and the neighbourhood. Depending on how far you are moving, this may not be the easiest option. There is a definite benefit, however, in letting your dog get comfortable with the new house and suburb, the lay of the streets and the new area that he will be moving into. Try reinforcing old habits during the visit, like feeding him inside the house or playing in the yard and giving treats when he is obedient.
The extra time and preparation that goes into making the new location seem a little more familiar will undoubtedly pay off when it comes time for your dog to feel settled in the new home.
Ensure the New Place is Pet Secure
Inspect the new place and make sure it is safe. You will know just how great an escape artist your furry friend can be; so don’t take a previous owner’s or real estate agent’s word for it when they say that the yard is pet secure. If you know for a fact that your dog could pass as a relative of Houdini, then you will need to thoroughly inspect the entire area for potential escape points.
Also, try and spot any possible sources of danger, such as chemicals or poisons that have been left in a reachable place.
Talk With Your Vet
Bring your dog to the vet and ask for a copy of your dog’s medical history and a vaccination certificate. While you’re there, make sure your dog is up to date with his shots.
If you suspect he will have a particularly stressful time, talk with your vet. Your vet will be able to supply you with what is known as a calming pheromone dispenser. This is something you can use to synthetically help your dog feel comfortable. You expose him to it just before moving day, and then bring it with you to the new house. The additional scent and pheromones this provides will keep your dog feeling calm and relaxed.
Make sure you have prepared the following before moving day arrives.
- Veterinary records, prescriptions and certificates
- Your pet’s usual food
- Food and water bowls
- Your pet’s toys and treats
- Leashes or harnesses
- Beds, pillows, towels or other crate liners
- Plastic bags and scoops
- Paper towels for messes
- Provisions for the first day at the new home
On Moving Day
If your dog is staying with you during moving day, make sure not to expose him to all the activity going on. Find a room in the house where he can be comfortable while unsupervised to ensure that he doesn’t get in the way.
Place him, early in the day, in a room where all the doors and windows are closed so you know your dog is secure and you’ll be able to come back to get him when it’s time to go.
Don’t forget to inform your removalists where you’ve put your dog so they know which room to avoid. Feed him during his usual hours but not right before leaving just in case he develops a bad stomach or an illness which may be caused by anxiety.
Hire A Dog Nanny
If possible, designate one person to take sole responsibility of your dog on the day. Having a friend or family member who always has the lead ready and is making sure that the dog is coping, with regular pats and attention; can be a great way to make the transition for your furry friend a comfortable one.
Things to Remember During the Move
Whether the move takes a few good hours or several days, it’s important to remember these tips while travelling to your new home.
- Keep him feeling safe and calm by having all of his ‘comfort’ items close by inside the secure room. Make sure he has all of his favourite toys and bedding with him, as well as adequate food and water. Some extra treats can be an excellent option for keeping him relaxed and calm on moving day.
- When people come into your dog’s territory, it is essential that the dog knows they are welcome intruders into the home. Take some time to introduce your dog to the removalists. Have your dog smell their hands and get used to the new scents of the workers who will be helping you. Please note, if your dog has a history of snapping, consider that in a stressful environment he may be more susceptible to snapping at your friendly furniture removalist.
- During your travel, make sure your dog is properly secured in his designated seat.
- Don’t leave your dog unattended inside your parked car for too long. Remember, the temperature in a parked car can rise easily.
- Just like the rest of the family, make sure your pet gets his regular water and toilet breaks, too.
In Your New Home
Stay with them when you show them around the new home. During the hustle and bustle of moving day, it can be tempting to just put the dog in the new back yard and get on with it.
Whilst most dogs may cope well with this and just naturally start exploring, it is beneficial if this initial exploration is done with a family member who they know well. Take them for a walk around the perimeter of the yard and show them that this is a place for them AND their family.
When They Arrive From The Boarding Kennel
If your dog was sent to a boarding kennel instead of travelling with you, it would do wonders for his transition into your new home if he arrives by the time you’ve already unpacked your belongings and set all the furniture from the old house in place. This will provide him with instant familiarity and lessen his anxiety from being ‘thrown’ into new surroundings.
Mind Your Dog
Every dog reacts a little differently to moving house. The most important thing you can do is to make sure that their routine is adjusted as little as possible, keeping this consistent for them. Make sure that they feel comfortable, trying to not make too many large changes, such as the scent of their bedding or the furniture in the new house.
Above all, make sure that they know that the whole family has moved and that they are not being sent somewhere new all on their own!
Check out another article you may find helpful, our Complete Moving Home Checklist that if followed, will guide you to a successful stress-free move.