Moving Stress: How to Take Care of Your Dog

Between the stress of planning and packing, it can be easy to forget our dogs are susceptible to experiencing stress during a move.

Between the stress of planning and packing, it can be easy to forget our furriest family members are also highly susceptible to experiencing stress during a move. After all, they are immersed in a slew of new smells, sights, and sounds without understanding why.

Luckily, there are multiple ways you can take care of your dog during the moving process and make moving with dogs a positive experience for everyone.

Moving to a new home may be stressful for your pet. So be patient and understanding and provide lots of affection. Don’t let man’s best friend get lost in the shuffle of a move. Relocating your dog to a new home can be a smooth transition for everyone involved if you follow these simple steps.

Before the Move:

  1. Obtain a copy of your dog’s veterinary records to give to the vet in the new area.
  2. Call the state veterinarian in the capital of the state you’re moving to. Find out if you need to provide any paperwork to bring your dog into the state.
  3. Call the town or village hall in the new locale. Ask about licensing requirements.
  4. Make arrangements for your dog to travel with you in a car or by air. Dogs usually aren’t permitted on trains or buses.
  5. Create a unique ID tag – Be sure your dog has an ID tag on at all times – and be sure it has a phone number where someone can be reached. If your dog gets separated from you during the move, it won’t help if it has your old, disconnected phone number.
  6. If you’re moving locally and your dog enjoys a ride, bring your dog to the new home once before moving day.

Tips & Warnings

Get a health certificate from your vet. Some states require this at the border before entering the state, even if you’re only passing through.

If your dog will travel by air, purchase a kennel for her to travel in.

When you Move:

  1. Feed your dog five to six hours before traveling. Give them water two hours before traveling. Medicate the dog if it becomes overexcited while traveling.
  2. Bring food and water along. Make frequent stops to walk your dog and let them drink.
  3. Keep your dog confined when you get to the new home. A dog can quickly escape during the moving process. Let your dog out once all doors and windows are closed, and allow her to become familiar with the house.
  4. Moving day can be hectic and scary to a confused pet. Treat your dog to a special treat at the new home on your visit.
  5. Ideally, your dog’s introduction to his new home will be with familiar furniture already in place. Use your dog’s regular bowls, bedding, and toys. Put them in a location similar to where they used to be.
  6. Accompany your dog outside on a leash until she’s familiar with the area.
  7. Try to stick to your dog’s regular schedule in the first days after the move.
  8. Locate a vet in your area. Make an appointment and take your dog’s records in.
  9. If your dog has a microchip ID tag, update your information with the company to notify you if your dog is found.

Know Your Laws

Pick a home that there is no question on whether or not your dog is welcome.

The bottom line is if you are stressed, your dog is stressed. So constantly fretting that your dog is somewhere they are not supposed to be won’t benefit anyone.

Check out local zoning regulations and animal control laws in the area you are moving as some places may ban certain breeds or limit the number of dogs per household. Then keep in mind that locations like residential co-ops have their own sets of rules on top of local laws and may further dictate the number of pets allowed and enforce size restrictions.

Book a Vet Appointment

Pet vaccination and licensing laws can vary from across cities and states, so you want to double-check that your pup has everything they need before the move.

During this appointment:

Make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccines
Stock up on any medications
Get a health certificate (Required to cross into some states)
Anxious dog? See if options like CBD oil, a mild sedative, or other calming methods are recommended for use during the move
Request a copy of your pet’s records (if moving to a new vet)

Update Their Information

You want to be prepared for a worst-case scenario during the move—AKA Fido gets lost or runs away.

Be sure to update your contact information so you can easily be reached. A few key spots to do this:  ID Tag: On the day of the move, fit your dog with a new ID tag with your updated contact information.  Microchip: Go to the website of your pet’s microchip manufacturer and update the contact info. Not sure where to go? Your vet may be able to help you with this.

Walk the New Neighborhood

A new environment can be anxietyinducing, so get them used to it as soon as possible.

Take a bit of time and bring your dog to explore their new neighborhood. Much change is about to happen, so introducing them to their new digs while maintaining their daily routine can be a significant step. This may not be possible for long-distance moves, but a quick car trip is always a good idea when the new area is in reach.

Start Slow & Steady

Introduce your dog to the idea of being around boxes and packing early on to ease them into the picture.

If your dog has a tendency to get anxious amid change or has separation anxiety, watching you pack your bags may be enough to send them into a panic attack. If this is the case, start by packing inconspicuous areas first. Great initial places to tackle may include closets, storage areas, or rooms that get minimal use.

Relocate Your Dog

The flood of boxes, the noise, and new faces can make moving day overwhelming, so consider finding your dog a quiet space.

A few options to keep your dog both calm and safe on moving day:

Crate: If your dog is already crate trained, a well-suited crate can feel like a nice and cozy, safe spot for them amidst the chaos of moving—and even after. Plus, it will help keep them out of harm’s way while the move occurs.

Room: Confine your pup in a familiar and quiet room that will be packed up last. Ensure that they have plenty of food and water and are taken out for any necessary bathroom breaks. You’ll also want to let the movers know that this space is off-limits until you are ready to relocate the dog.

Friends or Kennel: A great option to keep your dog out of the chaos. They’ll get a lot more attention than if they were home during the move, and you will find yourself less stressed since walks and bathroom breaks won’t be in the back of your mind.

Do The Car Ride Right

Long-distance moves can be extra stressful for our furry friends.

A long-distance moving trip can be a little different than a quick car trip, so even if your dog loves car rides, they may react differently to this one. Here is how you can minimize the stress of the car trip:

Secure them in their kennel or with a doggie seatbelt (restraining harness).
Have a first aid kit on hand.
Make frequent stops for bathroom breaks and to stretch their legs
Consider medication for car sickness and anxiety

Set Up A Safe Space

A new environment can be overwhelming for anyone. Imagine how it feels with heightened senses?

Ease your dog into its new home and start by setting up a room just for them. Include their favorite toys, bed, food, water, and treats. This will help keep them calm, but it helps assure they don’t get in the way of the move and they aren’t a run risk. If they are crate trained, their crate may also be an immense comfort here.

Stick to a Schedule

A schedule is key to helping your dog start to feel normal in the new home.

Try to stick to your dog’s feeding and walk schedule as much as possible. Now isn’t a good time to introduce a new food or routine. You want them to know that their surroundings have changed, but it doesn’t mean that everything has. Also, keep in mind that walks may be slow to start—there are a lot of new squirrels to bark at and fire hydrants to sniff.

Don’t Stress

The #1 rule of moving with dogs? Don’t stress. The move will be over before you know it, so take a deep breath, relax, and throw an extra treat or two Fido’s way! Dogs are notorious for picking up on emotions and emulating them, so if you are feeling wound up, they will also feel stressed.

 After all, they are being immersed in a slew of new smells, sights, and sounds— all without understanding exactly why.

Luckily, there are multiple ways you can take care of your dog during the moving process and make moving with dogs a positive experience for everyone.

Let’s talk canines, or even better, let’s learn about dogs.  Gain more canine knowledge through Acme Canine’s social media:  websiteFacebookYouTubeInstagram
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