Is Moving Stressful for Dogs?
Packing up your whole life, deep cleaning your old home, and all the other necessary moving tasks make moving a stressful hassle. Though, you’re not the only one getting overwhelmed by the process.
If you are moving with dogs to a new home, your furry friend is just as apprehensive to see their familiar environment changing. From the nervousness of seeing belongings going into boxes to being uprooted from their living space and dropped into a new one, dogs face the same anxiety you do when it comes to moving.
However, with proper preparation, coping strategies, and a lot of love, you can help your dog stay calm during the move.
How to Move With a Dog: 6 Helpful Tips
When it comes to permanently changing what your dog has known to be home, having some preparation in mind can be extremely helpful in the long run. We’ve outlined some helpful tips to ensure your move will run smoothly for both you and your fuzzy companion.
1. Make Sure Your Dog Has Identification
Moving can quickly become overwhelming, especially during the chaos of moving day. It’s easy to lose track of time, items, and valuable belongings when the moving havoc hits, so make certain your dog has proper identification. This can be in the form of a dog’s collar ID tag, labeled collar, a microchip, or some combination of the three.
Moving involves a lot of outside distractions, new environments, and propped-open doors, so in case your dog slips out of sight, it’s important to make sure you have a way your dog can be identified and returned to you.
2. Ensure Your Dog Is Crate Trained
Loading and unloading tons of belongings is hard on its own and can be even harder when you have a dog running around causing distractions and looking for attention. Crates aren’t always necessary for a move, but it may be worthwhile to crate train your dog in preparation for one.
If you’re moving states with a dog, your dog will need to be crate trained to fly on a plane, and if you’re traveling by car, it’s safest to have your dog commute in a crate that is strapped in with a seat belt. Additionally, if commuting is none of your concern, it still helps to have a crate-trained dog when house training in your new home.
3. Get Your Dog Used to Moving Supplies
Dogs are very keen animals and can pick up on certain behavioral cues you exhibit. For example, you may notice your dog can sense you’re leaving the house when you grab a jacket or put your shoes on.
Similarly, they often show anxious or sad behavior when they see you grab a suitcase because they know that means you’re going to leave for a prolonged period. Knowing your dog already gets anxious at the sight of a suitcase, imagine how stressful it is for them to suddenly see dozens of boxes alongside suitcases being stuffed with all of your household goods.
It helps to slowly get them accustomed to the idea of moving supplies by steadily introducing boxes and suitcases to their environment before overwhelming them with the commotion of the real moving day.
4. Pack a Bag of Your Dog’s Essentials
Putting together a travel kit filled with doggy essentials will ease the stress on moving day for both you and your pup. Packing everything from everyday necessities to familiar items to help with acclimation will prove greatly beneficial on moving day as all your pet’s necessities will be within reach.
According to Updater, this “go-bag” should include:
- Collar and leash
- A few servings of their normal food
- Bottles of water
- Food and water bowls
- Pillows and blankets
- Treats and toys
- Medication for motion sickness
- Daily medication (if applicable)
- Puppy pads and wet wipes
- Medical records
- Grooming supplies
This list may seem obvious and filled with “no-brainer” items, however, it’s easy to accidentally slip one of your pet’s essentials into a moving box. Make sure these items, at the very least, are packed up in a bag that’s easily accessible to you to make transitioning your dog to a new home easier.
5. Maintain Your Dog’s Routine
Dogs are animals of routine, and according to Karen B. London (Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist), sticking to your old routine when moving helps with your animal’s stress as everything else around them is changing.
Routines help with training, anxiety, and overall health, so when you’re going through the stressful process of moving, maintaining a routine becomes all the more important. Sticking to a routine includes establishing and maintaining set eating times, walking times, and walking routes, as well as sleeping and wake-up times.
6. Research Pet-Friendly Moving Companies
For starters, never pack your pet in the cargo section of a moving vehicle. As stated by U-Haul, the ventilation and airflow are not suitable for your animal in the cargo area of a moving vehicle. Additionally, large bulky items such as furniture can shift in the cargo area of your moving vehicle which poses a huge risk if your animal is loaded in the same area.
Your pet should always ride with you in the sitting area. Though, make sure your animal is strapped up either using a dog car seat, car harness, or crate that is strapped up properly.
Some moving companies won’t specifically state that they are pet friendly, however, they will not have anything written in their contracts about not allowing pets. It’s best to set up a consultation or quick chat with customer service to make sure everything runs smoothly with no extra expenses.
It may also be worth it to do some research on local moving companies in your area to see if you have secondary pet-friendly options. However, make sure to read up on local laws in your area, as some might prohibit you from placing an animal in the cab of your moving truck.
The grand takeaway: do some research on your local laws and moving companies and make sure to get the right supplies to ensure that your animal is legally and safely transported with you.
How to Settle a Dog Into a New House
Once the move is over and you’re finally in your new home, your pet might not be as in love with their new environment as you are. Below we’ve listed a few tips to help settle your furry friend into their new home.
1. Create Your Dog’s Space Right Away
One of the most pressing concerns you may have is how to acclimate your dog to a new home, and the best way to do so is to set up an area filled with familiar items with comforting smells.
Make sure you do this as soon as possible so your animal can resort to this area to feel more comfortable whenever they feel anxious about the move. This small comfort nook or corner can be set up anywhere and can be temporary, so you don’t have to worry about it becoming your pet’s permanent getaway.
2. Stay Home as Much as You Can in the First Few Days
After you’ve completed moving your dogs to a new house, keep in mind that even amongst all the toys and treats, you will be the most familiar and comforting thing to your pet. You are both their support and their security, and your dog shouldn’t be left alone for long periods during the first few days you’re in your new home.
Staying by their side for a few days, ideally, 3 to 4 days, will help them adjust to their new environment with their support system (you) right there with them. This may require you to make adjustments to social or work plans, so be prepared to do so.
After those first few days, it’s good to introduce leaving them alone in increments and doing so gradually. Moving.com also suggests that you tire them out with a long walk or some exercise before leaving them home alone for the first time, which is a good practice to maintain whenever preparing to leave your dog home alone.
3. Let Your Dog Explore the New Home
Be mindful that your animal has more sensitive senses than you, so a new location is all the more overwhelming. Introduce them to every area in the house to familiarize them with their new environment.
It may help to lead your dog through each room using treats as well as letting them wander around on their own. Be sure to introduce them to other locations that will become regular, such as their new walking route or backyard so they can become familiar with all the new scents and sounds.
4. Find a New Vet for Your Dog
Take the precautionary measure of finding a new vet in your area, and don’t wait until your dog is sick or injured. Many vets require different intake forms or applications, which could set back a visit during an urgent situation.
Additionally, per Rover, find out whether or not your pet will need new or additional vaccinations and preventative medications. This includes researching whether your new area is home to ticks, heartworms, or leptospirosis.
Frequently Asked Questions About Moving With Dogs
Do dogs get anxiety when you move?
Your home is just as much of a safe place for your dog as it is for you, and your dog could be more attached to your old home than you think. Packing everything up and moving to a brand new environment can create stress, anxiety, and fear in your pet because everything that they once knew has been completely flipped over.
Be mindful that moving is just as stressful to your animal as it is to you, take extra precautions, and be patient.
How long does it take for a dog to adjust to a new home?
The time it takes a dog to fully adjust to a new home will be completely dependent on your dog’s temperament. Fully adjusting could range from a few days to a few weeks, so pay attention to your dog's body language.
All dogs will react differently to a move, and sometimes the most relaxed dogs can become overwhelmed in a moving situation. If your pup is exhibiting signs of stress, adjust accordingly.
What can I do if my dog won’t sleep in my new house?
Your dog may start acting differently after moving as a result of fear or anxiety, and one of the most noticeable changes may be a reluctance to sleep. Lack of sleep for animals can be just as detrimental as it is for humans, and it is certainly something to pay attention to.
If you’ve just moved and your dog is sleeping noticeably less or not at all, your dog is most likely stressed from moving. Change can make animals anxious, and it’s important to help your furry friend acclimate to their new surroundings. Make sure you’re with your pet during your move-in process to reassure them of their safety.
What are some tips for moving with a senior dog?
Senior dogs require slightly more attention, assistance, and care compared to a younger pup, and this will apply even more so when you’re going through a stressful time such as moving.
The biggest tip for moving with a senior dog is to prepare the home beforehand. Make sure ramps are installed if necessary, a comfortable area is set, and any hazards have been eliminated before introducing the dog to the new home so that they can properly acclimate.
In addition to this tip, be sure to apply all other suggestions provided in the blog so that your senior dog feels comfortable and safe throughout the process.
Move With Ease With Your Four-Legged Family Member
Your pet is part of your family, and it is of the utmost importance to make sure that they are safe and comfortable.
When you’re moving, dogs can feel nervous and fearful about the situation, but by following our tips and tricks, you can make sure your dog feels secure every step of the way during your moving process. Preparation is key, and patience will be your greatest tool when moving with your four-legged friend.
Ensuring a low-stress move is no easy feat, and adding an animal to a move can make your to-do list overwhelming. You can check a few things off your list by hiring a professional cleaning service to handle your move-out cleaning. Moveout.com makes it easy to find a trusted and reliable cleaner in your area.