Attention Pet Parents: This Is How to Move With Dogs
We get it, moving day is stressful. It’s an especially harrowing task when you have one or more dogs to consider. However, with patience, a few helping hands, and a little preparation, you won’t have to sacrifice your sanity before you set sail.
- As soon as you make the decision to relocate, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Interstate moves require you to obtain a USDA Certificate of Health Examination for Small Animals.
- Update your pet’s identification, including his tags and microchip.
- Take a recent photo of your dog and paste it on a piece of paper with his name, any identifying marks, health conditions, favorite treats, and general temperament. If he gets lost during the move, having this info close-at-hand will help you quickly design a lost dog flyers, which you may be required to do within 24 hours if your pet was obtained from a rescue.
- If you plan to travel by car, acclimate your pet to the road by taking several long drives together before moving day.
- Pack slowly over time. Your dog will get nervous if things begin disappearing in rapid succession.
- One of the best things you can do for yourself and your dog is to hire a professional moving company to do the heavy lifting. This will allow you to focus at least some of your attention on your furry friend while he watches helplessly as his den is effectively destroyed. Also, be sure to choose a good time to move.
- When the movers arrive, remind them that you have a pet on the premises. Make quick introductions, keeping your dog leashed and allowing him to approach these strangers at his own pace. Allow the movers to offer a treat with an open hand and exposed palm. This will establish trust and make your dog less fearful.
- Move your dog into a fenced outdoor area or quiet room when you can’t be hands-on. Better yet, ask a friend or neighbor to keep Buster busy in case the movers need your time and attention.
- Take your dog for frequent walks throughout the day. Your dog needs to release his nervous energy and there is no better way to do this than through exercise.
- Feed and water your pet at least two hours prior to departure and make sure he “does his business” before he gets in the car. Put together a puppy moving pack with necessities such as food, water, leash, collar, toys, etc.
- Bring two gallons of water with you for each dog. One for the road and one to mix with your new home’s water the first few days. Since water quality can vary from city to city, a sudden change in your dog’s liquids may cause an upset stomach.
- Dog training specialist Nan Arthur recommends moving your dog’s personal items into the home first to indicate that it’s a safe place.
- Walk your leashed dog around the perimeter of his new house. It’s likely his senses will be overwhelmed and he will want to dart around the yard. Be patient. Dogs read the environment through their noses so this is his way of getting to know the neighborhood.
- Enter the home with your dog with treats in hand. Allow him to explore at his own pace. Again, this may take a while and will require patience and perseverance.
- Don’t shout or react negatively to your dog if he or she has an accident in the home. Even if he’s been housetrained for years, it is not uncommon for dogs to experience nervous urination or attempt to mark their new territory when entering an unknown domain.
- Despite your ever-mounting to-do list, give your dog a little extra loving the first few days after a move.
The good news is that dogs tend to acclimate very quickly – often quicker than their human counterparts. Know that soon things will go back to normal and your dog will learn to love his new home (even if the kids don’t!).