Planning a Move With Your Dog? (Here’s 11 Tips)

Moving houses is stressful at the best of times, but with a dog in tow you should plan ahead to ease them gently into their new surroundings. Taking them out of their comfort zone may result in stress and dog anxiety after moving, so you’ll need to be aware this may happen.

The following tips for moving with a dog are designed to help to make things easier for your furry friend at each stage of the process: before you leave, during the move, and when you arrive at your new location.

Eleven Tips for Moving With a Dog

Dog In Kitchen Before Moving Day

1. Before moving day

If you want to help your dog transition to their new surroundings quickly, spray an essential oil, such as lavender, around your old home a few weeks before you leave. Then when you move, spray it again in the new house. 

The familiar scent will help calm your dog, and lavender is good for soothing stress.

Dog Playing In Moving Boxes

2. Packing up 

Curious canines can get in the way when you’re packing up in the weeks leading up to your move. Keep your dog occupied with toys in his crate, and take him for regular walks when you’ve finished. 

Consider leaving him with friends or boarding him at a kennel on the actual moving day to keep him safe.

Dog Traveling In Car

3. Traveling by car 

If you plan to travel long distance by car, be sure to factor in rest stops and bathroom breaks for your dog every four to six hours. 

Will you need to make an overnight stop along the way? Book well in advance to make sure you can get a room at dog-friendly accommodation.

Airplane Seat With Bowl Of Dog Food

4. Traveling by plane 

Plane travel is quicker if you’re moving states, and a small dog may be able to sit with you in the cabin, but a larger dog will have to go in cargo. There are risks with this, especially if your dog is older, so talk to your vet about which travel mode is best.

5. On arrival 

Dog In His Dog House

You need to ensure your dog is kept safe when you arrive, either in his crate or confined in a room, as he may try to escape when you’re busy unpacking. 

Even if you have a fenced backyard, do a check of the perimeter to make sure there are no holes. Also do a general check of the surroundings for things that he might eat, such as, rat poison or dead animals.

6. Create familiarity  

As well as spraying a familiar scent, you can create familiarity in other ways to help your dog settle in. Place his bed, bowls and toys in the same area he’s used to. 

Don’t launder his dog blankets, as the familiar scent will make him feel more at home. Likewise, this isn’t a good time to change his bed, keep his old one until he settles in.

Two Dogs Laying On A Bed

7. Keep to your old routine  

Establish the routine you’re used to doing so your dog gets accustomed to this new setting quickly. If you normally take him for a walk at 6 am, continue to do so as if nothing’s changed.

Dog And Owners Unpacking After Move

8. The first few days  

If you can, spend the first few days after the move at home with your dog. This will alleviate his stress of being left alone in strange surroundings. Leave the house for a few short periods throughout the day to get him used to you not being there.

9. Update their identification  

Moving with a dog to a new house increases the chances that your furry friend might try to escape. You’ll want to update his ID tag asap, and ensure he is micro-chipped for permanent identification or if he already is, then the information is updated.

Dog With New Vet

10. Find a local vet  

Register your dog with a local vet soon after you arrive, and schedule him in for a check-up, as well as micro chipping if he hasn’t had it done.

You may also want to ask the vet about any region-specific vaccines that your dog might need if you’ve come from a different state.

Dog Being Patient Sitting On Chair

11. Be patient  

During moving time there will be a lot for your dog to take in, so you’ll need to be patient and give him lots of positive reinforcement.

Most dogs will be fine with the new situation, but others may need more care and attention to stop them from being anxious or stressed.

Final Thoughts  

You should expect it to take around three weeks for your dog to be fully accustomed to his new surroundings, but be aware it may take longer if they’re of a particularly sensitive nature.

We'ed love to hear from you, do you have any tips for moving with a dog? If so, be sure to leave them in the comments below!

About the Author: Angela Pearse is a blogger for Zumper who frequently combines travel with freelance writing. She’s passionate about Art Deco hotels, historical novels, Netflix, hiking and healthy living.

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