Dogs are creatures of routine, and few things mess up a routine like moving. You may be inclined to ignore the effect it’s having on your four-legged friend, but with some simple steps, you can put your dog at ease and limit the stress on yourself.
Before the Move
While packing and preparing for the move, maintain a normal routine for your dog. Keep to your regular feeding times, walks and playtime. Make a point to do the following, beginning two to three weeks before the big day:
- Acclimate your dog to his transportation crate or carrier. If your pet has never traveled in the container before, have him spend time in it each day. To create a positive association, give him a treat or toy every time he goes in. For a pet that has used the carrier before, keeping it around during the packing phase may be enough.
- If the move will involve a long drive, take your dog for rides in the car, increasing the duration of the trip each time. Your dog should be in his crate or carrier during these rides for comfort, safety and acclimation.
- If taking your dog with you by plane or car isn’t a viable option, consider hiring a pet transport company. These companies specialize in relocating precious canine cargo. Try to book this at the same time you book movers for your furniture and personal belongings—if your things won’t take up an entire truckload, you may find a company that does pet shipping that can offer you a good deal when booking the two at the same time.
- If your dog is around while packing, toss a treat his way every once in a while, or throw a ball for an impromptu game of fetch. Keeping him mentally occupied with something fun will alleviate some of the anxiety the boxes and disorder may cause.
If you’ve heeded the recommendations above, your dog’s stress level (and, hopefully, yours), should be under control on moving day. The following can help keep it that way:
- Keep your dog in a secure location while loading the moving truck, whether you or hired professionals are doing it. Ideally, your dog will be somewhere out of sight of the commotion with food, water and toys to keep him occupied.
- If you are flying with your dog, get to the airport an hour earlier than if you were flying alone. This will give you plenty of time to walk your dog and go through the process of checking him in, if he is too small to fly in the passenger cabin with you.
- If your dog is going in an automobile, bring his leash and enough water, food and treats for the time you will be on the road. A favorite toy and blanket can keep your dog comfortable.
- Stop for potty breaks along the way and never leave your dog alone in the vehicle.
At Your New Home
Once you’ve made it to the new place, follow some tips on how to help your dog settle into a new home. For the first few months, make sure you keep him leashed when outside of the house or yard—a dog who hasn’t adjusted to a new location may try to find his way back to his old stomping grounds.