Moving can be stressful for just about anyone, and your furry friend is no exception! This can ring especially true for a rescue dog who may have increased anxiety, like my Pomeranian, Lucky. Here are some tips to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible for your four-legged friend.
Get your dog comfortable with being uncomfortable
As soon as your pup sees these large, brown boxes around the house, they know something is happening! It is possible that just having moving boxes around the house can trigger anxiety in your pet. Starting the packing process early may help desensitize your dog to the change in their environment and lower their anxiety regarding moving materials in the house. It can also help alleviate any stress that you are feeling by getting an early start!
Contact your vet
If you are moving out of town, contact your vet ahead of time to make sure you have your pet’s records on hand. If you’re driving, these can come in handy if you must take your dog to the vet on the way. Medical records will also be needed once you find a vet in your new town.
If you are flying, you may need a certification for your dog to be on the plane with you! The airline’s website is a great resource for finding out if this is a requirement for your dog to board. You can get their vaccination certificate to fly by calling your vet and requesting for it to be emailed to you.
Pack a bag
Moving can mean that your belongings are boxed up and out of reach for a few days to a few weeks. Make sure to separate your dog’s things into his own bag. This will make sure you are fully prepared to care for your dog while you are adjusting to your new place, or while on the road if your move requires a long distance trip. I like to use this Mobile Dog Gear bag from Overland Dog Gear. It is roomy enough for blankets, toys, and medication, and even comes with a small food container that has been extremely helpful during both travel and moving.
Some packing items should include:
Food & Treats -- many companies sell handy dog food travel containers that makes it very easy to take your dog’s food along on a trip! If you have wet food, make sure to pack a cooler that will keep your dog’s food cold while you are transporting to the new place.
Bed and blankets, toys – make sure to have some familiar items that will make your dog extra comfy while you move. Keep these with him while you are loading up your moving truck, on the road, and at the new place.
Medication – make sure to keep any medication you may need on hand at all times
Sound machine – leaving a sound machine on if leaving your dog alone in a new place can help provide white noise keep him calm while you are out.
Food and water bowls, water bottle for the car if taking a road trip
Crate – make sure to have a collapsible crate to take with you in case it is needed while you move into your new place, in the car, or in a hotel along the way
Towel or wipes for the car to wipe off wet or dirty paws
Vet records -- For both during the trip and afterwards
Keep your dog in a secluded area during the move It is best to keep your dog away from the action as much as possible to minimize stress and anxiety. This can also prevent them from getting into anything they shouldn’t be getting into. If possible, keep your dog in an exercise pen or in a room with his favorite bed and blanket while you are moving out of your house. Your door may be open for extended periods of time, so keeping them in their area also prevents them from escaping or getting hurt.
Plan your trip
If you are taking a road trip, make sure to plan out pet friendly places to stop including restaurants and sleeping accommodations. Many hotels have restrictions on pets so it will be important to schedule these ahead of time. Don’t forget to factor in potty breaks into your driving time!
Bloblo has a great dog car seat that is secured into your car with the seatbelt. There is also a restraint that latches onto your dog’s harness to make sure he is safe along your trip. The restraint is adjustable, to make sure he has enough room to get comfy while still being secure.
Also, make sure that he is leashed before getting him out of the car. Even the most relaxed dogs can get anxiety on the road and keeping him on a leash will ensure that he is safe in case he feels the need to run off!
Acclimating to the new house
It will take up to a few weeks for your dog to become adjusted to your new house. Once you are there, let him explore and sniff around each room. It may help to put some familiar items such as toys, blankets, or dog beds in each of the rooms so he knows he is welcome there!
Take him on a walk so that he can become acclimated with the new area. Let him sniff around so he gets used to the new smells. You may want to increase the length of your walks over a few days as well to get them familiar with the new smells and sounds of their home.
I have found that letting my dog explore while I unpack my things has helped, as it makes him know that we are there to stay. My dog definitely wanted to sniff everything. His little tail wags as he began to smell familiar items was so cute!
Don’t be alarmed if your dog loses his appetite for a day or two. Pets can often have a hard time adjusting to change and he may not be as excited to eat until he knows the area. Keep your vet’s info on hand in case this goes on for more than a day or two.
Keep a schedule
It is very important to make sure you stick to your dog’s feeding, walking, and potty schedule as much as possible both on the road and once you are in your new home. The more normal you can make the process seem, the less stressful it will be for your pet!
Our dogs often reflect our moods and behaviors. It will be important to make sure you are as calm as possible during the moving process. If you are stressed, it will likely stress him out too. If you are calm and act like this is just another normal day, he will be happier and less likely to notice that this is a big deal. It may take a few weeks for you and your pup to get acclimated to the new area and your new home, so don’t be afraid to go exploring! Walks, trips into town, or running errands, these are all ways that your pup can join you in meeting new people and finding new favorite spots.