Moving with a dog can be stressful – not only for you, but especially for your dog! Remember, whatever your reasons for moving may be, your pet cannot understand them. He only sees everything in his home – his territory – suddenly changing. Moving day means a lot of unusual activity and probably strange people coming in, walking out and taking the furniture away. All this can cause a lot of anxiety in your dog, which might even turn into aggression. The aggression is definitely something that you, as the owner, really need to avoid!
Reduce your pet’s stress when moving with a dog
- Allow your dog the opportunity to familiarize himself with his new home in advance. Prior to moving day, visit the place with your dog while keeping him on a leash. Show him the rooms and the backyard/garden (if applicable) and let him sniff around. You might also want to take him for a walk around the new neighborhood. Be sure to keep him on a leash to prevent unexpected behavior.
- Make sure to give your dog enough exercise before, possibly during, as well as after moving day. Going for walks on a regular basis helps to keep his stress level down and to release energy.
- Try to stick with his daily routine (times of exercise, feeding etc.) as much as possible.
- Once you have moved to the new place, make sure to unpack his bed, toys etc. as soon as possible. Re-establish his areas (sleeping place, food and water bowls etc.) in the same rooms and relative positions he is used to (i.e. next to the sofa or in the kitchen).
- When moving with a dog, you might feel tempted to wash his blankets and clean his belongings before arranging them in the new place; however, we advise you NOT to do that, so the familiar smell remains attached to them.
- Your dog looks to you as the pack leader. Demonstrate calmness and consistency with him, so he understands there is no reason for anxiety.
- Keep your dog out of the way during the moving of boxes and furniture. This will help to prevent accidents for the animal as well as for the people involved.
- If your dog is used to spending time at the house of a friend or family member, or a dog boarding facility you trust, consider letting him stay there during moving day.
- Make sure to keep your dog’s ID tags current and accessible. If possible, use a cell phone number, so in case your dog gets lost during the move, you will remain available, even when your landline is disconnected.
What are your best practices to reduce stress when moving with a dog? Let us know in the comments!
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