A guide to moving with your dog | The Trupanion Blog
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Moving with your dog: A guide to preventing pet anxiety

Dog in a moving box

Dogs love consistency. They thrive in a routine and love familiar environments. If your family has to move to a new home, that change can stress out your dog. Stressed dogs show a variety of symptoms:

  • Destructive behaviors including biting, licking, or chewing objects, furniture, or his skin.
  • Increased barking or howling.
  • Soiling inside the house.
  • Sudden irritability displayed through growling, snarling, aloofness, or even biting.
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite.
  • Darting out the door, digging under fences, and generally trying to escape.
  • Skin reactions including itching or hot spots.

To help prevent these symptoms, plan ahead for the move, pet-proof your new home, and take the time to introduce and help him adjust to the new house.

Preparing Your Dog for the Move

Your dog’s health is your first priority here. Finding a veterinarian before you arrive means you’ll have someone to turn to if your dog’s reactions are out of the ordinary or more than you can handle. If you don’t have a vet in place, you can find an emergency pet hospital, but they tend to be more expensive than visiting a normal clinic.

As soon as you have your new address in line, update your dog’s microchip information and buy him new tags.  As mentioned above, stressed dogs in a new environment may try different tactics to escape. If he does, you want to be sure whoever finds your pup knows where to return him.

In addition to the logistics, you may need to emotionally prepare your dog for the transition. Many dogs exhibit signs of anxiety during a move. The signs include:

  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Excessive barking
  • Growling
  • Restlessness
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Soiling himself
  • Gnawing or licking himself

Treating dog anxiety takes training and time, but for the move you may need some extra help. Talk to your veterinarian about your options. Some dogs find comfort wearing weighted shirts or other anti-anxiety gear. Other dogs need the help of anti-anxiety medicine or herbal supplements. What’s right for your dog is determined by his size and temperament.

Pet-Proofing Your New Home

Before you transition your dog to the new house, ensure it’s the safest environment for him. Check the fence as well as the latches on any gates to make sure your dog is secure while playing in the yard. Close off any areas that are off-limits so they know immediately where they are allowed to go. Set up a safe space for them to escape to with their favorite bed, toys, and other things they love. Dogs are den animals and refer to these comfortable areas when they need to feel safe and comfortable.

Moving Day with Your Dog

The best thing to do on the actual day of boxing and moving things is separating him from the noise, strange people, and unfamiliar situation. Board him, put him in doggy daycare, or hire a pet sitter to watch him and keep him away from the chaos. You will be able to focus on the logistics of the day without having to worry about your dog’s wellbeing.

When you get to the new place, introduce your dog to his areas: where is food and water are, the backyard, and his comfort zone. Safe-proof your yard and remove any plants that could be poisonous. Spend time bonding and playing so your dog associates the new environment with fun. Finally, establish a routine immediately. Your dog will feel at home in no time.

Preparing your dog for a big move will help prevent destructive behaviors that result from anxiety. As his safety is your number one concern, find a vet, update his tags, and prepare any medications or anti-anxiety gear he may need. Pet-proof your new home and set up a space of comfort for him. On moving day, board your dog or have a friend or family member look after him so he is separated from the chaos of movers. Once you’re in the new home, give the dog positive associations with his surroundings and establish a routine for the smoothest transition.


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