Dogs are creatures of habit. They prefer to be on a schedule where their bedtime, meals, and walks occur at about the same time each day. So, you can imagine how confusing a move can be for your canine. The world has suddenly changed, and he or she has no idea why. Plus, because dogs are sensitive, they can also pick up on any stress you may be experiencing. If you notice any of the following changes in your dog's behavior, these could be signs that your pup is experiencing anxiety about your move:
Whining or excessive barking
Urinating or defecating indoors
Snapping at family members or the other pets in your home
Loss of appetite
Helping your dog cope with a move
Cleaning, packing, unpacking, discarding unwanted items — it's all emotionally and physically draining. With so much going on, it may be easy to forget about your dog's needs during a big move. Some canines, for example, may revert to old behaviors, such as having accidents around the house or being overly clingy. Be patient and refrain from getting angry with your furry best friend. She or he can't put feelings into words, and these odd behaviors may be the only way of coping with all the changes.
Tips for moving with a dog
Acclimate your dog to the moving supplies
If you have a dog that is prone to anxiety, spend a little time acclimating your pet to the upcoming move. For instance, bring in a few shipping boxes before you're ready to move, so your canine can get used to seeing them around your home.
Pack your dog's belongings in an "Open First" box
A new house is going to be intimidating for your pet. Your dog may appreciate having his or her bedding, toys, and other familiar items available as soon as possible in your new home. You'll also want to find your dog's leashes and food quickly, so place all these items in your car or pack them in a box marked "Open First."
Figure out where to keep your dog during the move
Moving, unfortunately, creates a slew of situations where a dog might escape. As people walk in and out of your house, it's easy for them to leave a door or a gate open. Confining your dog into a room might work, but a mover could accidentally open the door and let out your canine. Another issue? Your dog is probably going to be on edge with the unfamiliar movers stomping around the home. Even calm and ordinarily sweet dogs can turn nippy when there are strangers in their homes. The best solution is to place your pet with a dog sitter, with a trusted friend, or in a boarding facility.
Change your dog's tag/microchip information
Before you move, update the information on your pet's microchip and I.D. tags to reflect your new address, just in case your pet does happen to escape during the moving process.
Tips for moving cross country with a dog
If you're moving to a new house with a dog bycar
For your dog's safety, consider investing in a car restraint for your pup. In the event of an accident, these harnesses could possibly save your dog from a serious injury. Also, if you'll have a long drive and your canine tends to get car sick, you might want to ask your vet to prescribe car sickness pills.
Moving with dogs by airplane
Even in the best of times, flying can be stressful for a pet. If your canine is small enough, you may be able to fly with him or her in the cabin. Unfortunately, most larger dogs don't have that option. They typically have to make the journey in a pressurized cargo area. Even though this area is supposed to be temperature-controlled, many airline carriers won't transport pets if the weather is going to be above 85 degrees or below 45 degrees. Dogs also cannot be put on any sedative drugs while in the cargo area, as they can cause injury or even death when not monitored closely. So, you'll need a backup option, such as a private air or ground pet transport service.
To prepare your pet for a flight, make sure that your dog is comfortable being in a crate. You could try to take your pet through a drive-thru car wash (obviously inside the car) because the noise is similar to what they would experience during a flight. When in doubt, driving your pup personally - even cross-country - may be your best bet.
How to help a dog adjust to a new home
Exercise is important
To prevent your dog freaking out in your new home, you'll want to provide plenty of opportunities to exercise. Taking your dog on a long walk in your new neighborhood can serve two purposes: It can burn off your dog's excess anxiety, and it can also help familiarize your pet with the new surroundings.
Keep your dog confined to one area — at first
A move may confuse your dog. For example, if the previous owners had canines and they had accidents in the house, your dog might pick up the scent and want to mark in those areas. It's a good idea to keep your dog confined to a room where you can keep an eye on him or her in the beginning.
Set up a safe space
Find a spot in your home where you can set up a safe space for your dog. You might want to leave a TV or a radio on with soothing music to mask unfamiliar noises. This is especially important if you’re moving into a new home that has shared walls with another residence, such as an apartment or condo. If your dog hears noises coming from other units, he or she might become nervous or start barking, which could be annoying to your new neighbors.
Don't leave your dog outside alone for a long time
If your new home has a fenced-in yard, you might be tempted to leave your pet alone outdoors while you unpack. It's best to refrain from doing so until you've had a chance to carefully inspect the fencing and watch your pet explore your yard. There may be holes or loose boards in the enclosure, or your canine might leap over or squeeze through the fencing. In some areas, coyotes or snakes could be an issue.
Home sweet home
By following these tips, your pet should have an easier time getting accustomed to the new living quarters. It won't be long before you and your pet will feel right at home in your new house.
Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.