Pets don’t deal well with any sort of change, and moving essentially means uprooting their whole life and disrupting the routine they rely on without warning of any kind. Calming a dog down during and after the move is tricky. It’s also not something you want to get into without a solid plan.
There is a lot to consider when you move from one house to another, especially if you’re changing cities. It’s easy to forget our furry friends during all of the chaos. That’s why we’re here to give you all the tips you need to move your pets – specifically dogs.
Before the Move
The most crucial step actually comes before you start moving or even packing. Your dogs have no idea that you’re about to spring this huge surprise on them, so preparing in advance is always a smart decision.
Prepare Them for the Change
There are a few ways to prepare your dogs for a change. First of all, you need to plan the entire packing and moving ordeal in advance. That will help you keep the chaos to the minimum. It will also stop you from freaking out. Don’t forget, our pets pick up on our moods and change their behavior accordingly. So, if you approach the move with as much calamity as you can, your dogs won’t be as affected as they would be were you in a frenzy.
Let Them Get Accustomed to the Novelties
Moving doesn’t just mean changing the dogs’ living space. Before and during the move, the current living space changes as well. So, it’s critical that you prepare them for that.
The best way to go about it is to get all the moving supplies — such as moving boxes, tape, bubble wrap, etc. — well in advance. That way, your dogs will get accustomed to them lying around the house. When they do, they’ll look at them as everyday objects instead of novelties that they need to inspect (or fear).
Of course, keep in mind that your dogs might easily damage your moving supplies. More importantly, they might do something that would hurt them (like ripping apart and swallowing bubble wrap or tape). So, make sure you don’t actually leave your dogs unattended with the supplies.
Take Them to the New Neighborhood
If you’re moving somewhere close, take advantage of what time you have before the move, and take your dogs on a stroll around the new neighborhood. That way, when you move, they won’t be in a completely foreign space.
During the Packing Stage
Most pet owners let their dogs move freely around the home. However, during packing, when everything is a mess and most of your earthly possessions are displaced, limiting your dogs’ movements around the house isn’t the worst idea.
Make a Safe Space
Ensure that your dogs always have somewhere they can go to to get away from the mess and the increased activity. The best course of action would be to pack up your house or apartment one room at a time. While you’re packing a room, don’t let your dogs wander around it.
Try to Stick to the Routine and Entertain Them
Packing takes time, but it’s vital that you don’t let it overrun your dogs’ routine. Try your best to stick to the walking and feeding times as best you can. Also, don’t let the move take over your entire schedule. If your dogs don’t get to see you the whole day, they’ll get antsy. So make frequent breaks to play with them for a few minutes or have a cuddle session in between packing.
On Moving Day
Once the moving day actually arrives, if you can, remove your dogs from the situation completely. Get a dog sitter or take the dog to doggy daycare. That will make moving less stressful for them.
If you’re moving to a different city and are traveling by car or plane, make sure to give your dogs less food that morning and take them for a walk before you start your journey.
Once you arrive, take the dogs for a walk that ends in your new home. That way, you’ll get rid of any excess energy, and you’ll enter the new space together.
After the Move
Just because all your stuff is moved and you’re sleeping in a new home doesn’t mean that your dogs will settle down immediately. Unpacking can be just as stressful as packing, at least when it comes to our furry brethren.
Let your dogs explore their new surroundings as much as they want, and follow them along, so they know they are safe. It’s essential that dogs feel safe in your new home, but know that won’t happen instantly. You need to be patient and give them time to adjust.
Two things that you can do to help them is to:
- create a safe space for them with their old toys and gear that’s familiar to them
- and not overwhelm them with new stuff.
Given that moving is a massive change, try to keep all other changes to a minimum. Like before the move, keep walking and feeding times the same and stick to the routine as much as possible.
If possible, try not to leave them alone during the first few days after the move. If your dogs are exhibiting signs of anxiety, be patient with them and show them kindness. Comfort them and show them you’re there for them without coddling them.
A Few Parting Words
Remember that there’s no standard period of adjustment to changes. Your dogs might take a while to recover and adapt to new surroundings. Accept that and do things at their pace. Don’t rush or expect too much of your dogs because they might end up with more anxiety in the long run.