Are you Moving House with a Dog?
Are you moving house with a dog or thinking about moving and are concerned how it will impact them? We are a nation of dog lovers and if you own a dog then you will know that you think about their needs just as much as you do for your family. We have put together the main things you should think about and do when you are moving house with your dog and our article should really put your mind at ease.
Let’s face it moving home can be a really stressful event for us and it’s easy to forget that it can also be stressful for your dog. It’s normal to forget about the logistics and plans for your dog when life is much busier than normal and you are organising everyone and everything to prepare for your move. As a dog owner, you may have moved before so you will have experienced how your dog will cope with the change, or you may not have done it before and want to make sure they are fully prepared for it.
Moving house with a dog can be stressful and cause them anxiety as things don’t look and sound familiar in their new home, their location is different, their walks are different and their routine gets changed.
Like you would with your children or other family members you can prepare them for your move by taking a few simple steps which will minimise stress for them and you.
We understand that you might not know where to begin when it comes to moving home with your dog, or any other pet for that matter so we have put a timeline together for you for the weeks and days leading up to your move.
There’s no way you can avoid all of the disruptions a move can cause for your dog, however, here are a few tips that will help to ease the changes and impact it may have on your dog:
- Keep as many routines the same as you possibly can
- Don’t buy anything new before or soon after you move. It’s sometimes tempting to buy new things for your dog when you first move into your new home, however, keep their bed, blankets, food bowls and food the same. It may seem mad but these small changes can make the change even more difficult for them to adjust to
- Give them lots of love, attention and walks in the days leading up to your move as they will sense and see that there is something going on
- Decide if you will keep them with you on the day of your move or if possible if there is a family member, friend or kennels they can go to that they know and have been to before then this is always a good idea
- Give them treats, stuffed Kongs and familiar things when you get to your new home
- Let them explore their new surroundings inside and out. A dogs smell is so important for them so they need to be able to smell their new home and garden and get used to their new environment
- Spend time with your dog and keep their routine the same, from walks to meal times to where they sleep
- Most of all, be patient and understand that this is a big change for them and they may or may not show signs of anxiety, however, they may still be feeling it
Here are some things that you can think about doing before you move:
A Week Before Your Move
During the build-up to your move, there will be so much going on around your house, with things being packed into boxes and routines changing. In the week or weeks leading up to your move, you can try a dog appeasing pheromone (DAP) plug-in diffuser or a collar. These can help to make your dog feel safe and secure amongst all the chaos going on.
The Weeks or Days Before Move
If you have decided to keep your dog with you on moving day then use a spare room and fill it with their food and drink bowls, treats and toys and encourage them to use it as a safe and secure place for them in the weeks and days leading up to your move. If your dog takes to their new room then they can stay in there when you are packing and on moving day. This safe place will minimise the confusion and distress they will feel when the chaos starts around them and allows them to be more relaxed on the day.
The Day Before Move
Once you have the keys to your new house, it will take a while for your dog to adjust to their new location and home and they might try to return to your old house if it is close by. It’s always a good idea to ask your neighbours and the new homeowners to keep an eye out for your dog in case it returns. If your dog does do this then ask them to secure it and give you a call. It’s also a good idea to ask them not to make too much of a fuss of them as they might see this as a reward and try the great escape again.
The Day of the Move
If your dog is staying with you on the day of your move then always ensure you know where they are at all times and either secure them in their safe room or with a long lead as doors will be left open as your belongings are being packed and loaded into the vans. Let the removal company know you have a dog and where they are so they don’t disturb it when things start to move. Ensure they travel with you to your new home and not in the removal van and that they are always in a place that they know and are comfortable in. It’s always best that animals aren’t with you on the day of moving as it can be extremely stressful for them and for you having them to look after and worry about.
When you have Moved
Keep them in one place until your belongings have all been unloaded and the doors are shut. When everything is in then you can introduce familiar smells in your new house with their toys and blankets. Check your garden is completely secure as you really don’t want the worry of your dog escaping on your first day. Let them explore and get used to their new surroundings. Take them out for a long walk so they start to get used to their new area. Be with your dog as much as possible, to begin with until their confidence is built up, explore the house and garden with them for the next few days and weeks. Dogs are like people and they are all different and less confident dogs may take some time to adapt to their new environment.
Don’t forget to update their microchip and collar with your new address details.
Give your dog time to adjust to their new home as it can take them at least a month, sometimes 3 to feel comfortable and for their personality to come back into play. Remember you are trying to get your dog to associate pleasurable experiences with new surroundings. This way, your dog is far less likely to escape or roam.
If by any chance your dog does go missing, notify the new owners of your old home and neighbours immediately and inform your local dog warden, police station, veterinary practices and any rescue or welfare facilities. It’s always a good idea to join any local or community facebook pages as these are always great for information when you are moving to a new area, or if you need to ask people to keep an eye out for your dog. Don’t worry, if your dog has proper identification (collar, tag and ideally a microchip), then you are normally reunited quickly.
Potential Signs of Anxiety when Moving House with a Dog
- Keep an eye on your dog and be aware of any changes in their temperament or routines, these will gradually get back to normal so you will need to be patient
- Watch for pacing and other repetitive behaviours
- Look out for panting or trembling
- Keep an eye on their eating and toilet
- Note their body language and behaviour when you are at home and out walking
- Watch out for any escape attempts and keep an eye on them when they are outside in the garden to check you have made all perimeters secure
If you have any concerns about your dog after you have moved house then its always a good idea to speak to your vet.
By planning and taking the time to prepare your dog and settling them in when you first get to your new home they will soon get familiar and comfortable in your new home, making moving house with a dog less stressful for you and them.
Martyn works for Ashington Removals as a marketing specialist. He takes great pride in creating quality content for people looking for a removal company.