Moving with dogs: Helping your pooch adjust to a new home

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There are many reasons you might need or want to move to a new home, but moving can be chaotic for pets since they can’t understand what is happening or why. How can you ensure that moving with dogs will be a stress-free time for both you and your furry friends?

A white dog lying on the floor of a new home with unpacked boxes and a couple in the background.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Imagine picking up your anchor of where your life began and bringing it to a brand new space. It can be a hard adjustment for humans, and likewise, it will be a significant change for pets, especially if your dog was a puppy when they joined your family.

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

Your dog is highly unlikely to understand a drawn-out conversation about the reasons behind the move and why it makes financial sense or why they are slowly seeing their home be stripped of its belongings, with strange people coming and going. 

Even if they are friendly with movers or people they know, it can still be traumatic and confusing for dogs. With that in mind, read on for tips for how to move to a new house with as little disturbance to your dog as possible.

Maintain regular routines

It can be very helpful to keep your dog’s routine the same as it has always been when moving to a new environment. If dogs have separation anxiety or are unsure why you are coming and going at all 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. 

You can also slowly introduce them to the new house before you move in. Walking around the yard, letting them sniff and getting them used to the space can be vital in aiding their sense of familiarity and comfort before settling in. 

Make sure to give them their favorite dog treats the first time in the new home so they will have a positive association. Give them some bone broth, and they are likely to have a great impression of the new place.

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Use familiar items for comfort

When moving with dogs, bringing along a doggy bed if you are 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 or relative they know or a dog sitter or kennel that 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 won’t change 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.

“Our dogs Oscar and Sadie have moved with us four times. We’ve always made sure that the blankets they were used to sleeping on and the toys they played with stayed in the car with us versus the moving truck. That way, as soon as we got to the new place, we could put all of those things out so it smelled to them like home.”

— Leah Ingram, Your Home Dog

Schedule extra play and exercise time

When you are trying to move to a new house and bring everyone along with you, it is quite easy to forget about little aspects of your daily life that you might take for granted otherwise. 

For example, exercise time, scheduling a morning walk on a leash or potty breaks for your dog may go out of the window. Sometimes, the best approach to moving with dogs is to give them a safe space with a trusted friend while you deal with the chaos of the move. 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 to your final trip to the new space. After a while, you probably feel the need to stretch your legs, and considering that dogs have two additional limbs, allowing them to move around holds double the importance. 

Update identification and microchip information

Of course, getting your dog adjusted to a new place is important, but do not forget that the ID tag or microchip information you have on them needs to be updated. If your dog runs off in a new neighborhood, someone who finds them will know where to return the pooch and also understand its medical history.

It’s unlikely that this will happen, but it’s always best to be safe than sorry. Planning for this outcome in advance will give you peace of mind, knowing that no matter how much chaotic movement surrounds you right now, your dog will be safe in the long run, and you will be quickly reunited if separated.

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 reduce your dog’s stress 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 it lots of extra love and snuggles to reassure them that the new situation will be ok. Make sure to keep the same daily routine for the first week or so and watch for signs of stress.

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

With this advice, you’ll be sure to settle into your new house without disrupting your dog’s life too much, helping them adjust to the new address quickly. The good news is that moving with dogs is usually easy with a little planning to make this a positive experience for everyone.

Gena Lazcano is the creator, writer and recipe creator at Ginger Casa. She loves her air fryer and pressure cooker and loves creating new recipes to share. She is also a self-proclaimed houseplant expert and a lover of all things garden related. She and her husband live with their three sons in East Texas.

This article originally appeared on Ginger Casa

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