Moving House With a Dog: An Easy Guide To A Stress-Free Transition

Moving House With a Dog: An Easy Guide To A Stress-Free Transition Featured Image

There is no doubt that moving is a stressful event for everyone involved. This also includes our pets who are highly susceptible to the negative impacts of change. Transitioning to a new home can be an upsetting and anxiety-ridden experience for some dogs. However, by doing some easy preparations and taking a few precautions, you can ensure that the move goes smoothly for both you and your dog. 

How Moving Affects Dogs

Highly territorial animals, dogs can find the experience of moving to a new home difficult and occasionally distressing. With a brand new environment comes unfamiliar smells and sounds which dogs are incredibly sensitive to. Much like humans, it can take some time for the new place to truly feel like home to your dog. You may notice some changes in your dog’s behaviour after a move. This can include increased separation anxiety; they may want to follow you around and become upset if left alone in the new house. Your dog may also be more prone to barking or growling, withdrawn behaviour or changes in appetite. If these symptoms persist after a week of moving, ensure to consult with a vet. 

Before The Move

As you prepare to relocate to your new home, you will need to carefully plan the logistics required for the move. Whether it be making a list of items to pack, booking your Allied removalists, or setting up your new utilities, there’s a lot to think about. You should also be preparing your pet to make the move. So, how do you make sure you and your dog are prepped and ready?

Research The New Local or International Laws

Whether you are moving a few neighbourhoods away or making the transition to an entirely new country, it’s important to check your new dog-related rules and regulations. If you are moving internationally, you need to be aware of any vaccination, veterinary documentation and quarantine requirements and prepare accordingly. In the case of moving more locally, it’s wise to have an understanding of the council leash policies and any rules relating to specific breeds before making the move. 

Introduce Them To Idea Of Moving

It can be tempting to hide the boxes and the dreaded travel crate until moving day, but this will likely make the day more stressful for your dog. Instead, let your pet become familiar with the packing materials and their appearance, smells and sounds. Many dogs find the travel crate a reminder of unpleasant trips to the vet and they will likely attempt to avoid it at all costs. Try to change their attitude towards the crate by placing favourite toys, familiar bedding and a few treats within it. Making the crate a more enjoyable space for your dog should result in less reluctance on the day of the big move.

Check In With Your Vet

In the weeks leading up to the move, you’ll need to schedule a trip to the vet. After getting a basic checkup, ensure that your dog is microchipped and your contact information is up to date. You should also update the relevant information on their collar. If the worst case scenario does occur and your dog is separated from you during the move, the microchip and collar will enable them to be successfully reunited with you.

Before you relocate, having the details of a reliable vet clinic near your new home is highly recommended. By knowing your new local vet, you’ll feel assured that your pet can easily seek help during an emergency or be attended to if there are complications during the move. If you’re moving locally, have a chat with your current vet on where they’d recommend. Otherwise, do some research online to find a new suitable clinic.

Pack Their Belongings

When it comes to packing your dog’s belongings, make sure some of their favourite toys and bedding are easily accessible leading up to and during the move. These familiar items will help them feel comfortable throughout the move. You’ll also need to ensure that you’ve got the essentials; water, food, treats, leashes, and plastic bags. Having a roll of paper towel is handy in the case of any messes or accidents. 

During The Move

The long awaited day has finally arrived! As the removalists arrive and you say your final goodbyes, it’s now time to hop into the car or board your flight to your destination. Make sure your pet is ready for the journey by following these suggestions. 

Reduce Food Intake

Dogs can become motion sick during the travel to your new house so it's recommended that you reduce their food intake before the trip. Preferably they shouldn’t eat at least eight hours before the journey. This should prevent any unfortunate sickness or toilet accidents during the trip. You can also discuss suitable medications to prevent motion sickness with your vet. Once settling into the new house, slowly increase their food intake and be vigilant about any changes in their eating habits over the first few weeks. 

Arrange Dog Sitting 

Moving is crazy enough so why not leave your dog in doggy daycare during the move? By putting your pup in a boarding kennel for the day, you won’t have to worry about them potentially running outside and getting lost in the new neighbourhood. You’ll also have peace of mind that they are playing with other dogs and enjoying themselves. Not worrying about them can enable you to focus on the tasks at hand. Leaving your dog with a friend is also a cost effective way to prevent them from getting underfoot.

If your dog needs to stay with you during the move, set up a separate room for them to hang out in. You’ll need to provide water, food, bedding with their familiar smells and some fun toys to keep them occupied. Select a room which will have minimal foot traffic and ask the movers to limit their access to it as a constant flow of people can cause additional stress. 

Stay Calm

Dogs are known to pick up their owners feelings and mimic their behaviours. If you are feeling uptight and stressed about your move, there’s a good chance your dog is feeling the same way. It’s difficult enough to handle these emotions by yourself, but limiting any outbursts of stress and adopting a ‘fake it till you make it’ approach can benefit you both. 

There are plenty of stress prevention products on the market. From anti-anxiety drops to calming collars, you’ll find many options to help your dog stay relaxed during the move. However, keep in mind that these products don’t always work as expected and you may need to consider other strategies to reduce their anxiety. 

Settling In

There is no exact science on how long it takes for a dog to get used to their new home as every dog is different. The following tips can help you and your dog adjust to the change as you settle into life in your new neighbourhood. 

Introduce Them To The New Space

When introducing your dog to their new home, it’s recommended that you take it slowly. Going room by room will enable them to become more comfortable with the unknown environment and prevent overstimulation. Placing their belongings in each room can aid in the transition and hopefully reduce their need to mark territory through biting or urinating. You’ll also need to make sure they are familiar with their new toilet area and the location of their food and water.

Keep Their Regular Routine

Maintaining your pet’s routine during and after the move is important, especially if you’ve moved overseas. Regular mealtimes and walks can help your dog feel more at ease and make the transition smoother. This can be tricky after a long journey and a new time zone or climate can also add a layer of confusion. You should give them a few weeks to get used to the change before they will settle into their routine. 

Familiarise Yourselves With The Neighbourhood

Taking your dog for a walk is a great way to become familiar with the neighbourhood and see more of your new surroundings. Establishing a regular route is recommended. Not only will it add an element of familiarity, but it can provide your dog with a way home if they ever become lost.

Still Unsure About Making The Move With Your Dog?

If you’d like to further discuss the process of moving with your dog, then get in touch with the team at Allied. Experts in moving, we can make the transition to your new home stress free and streamlined.