Moving is stressful. Ugh, boy do I know moving is stressful. I’ve written a few other posts about managing your stress on moving day and if you were with us earlier this week, you’ll see I wrote about moving with our finicky feline friends. Moving with dogs tends to be easier as they are generally more adaptable to changing environments. But properly prepping you and your canine friends can make your moving day less ruff.
I have a golden retriever who hates seeing a suitcase or box. She does love grocery day when a bunch of bags are being brought into the house but hates trash takeout day because she assumes all bags, boxes and containers leaving the house means somebody is leaving her. Her sweet little face gets me every time and I have to remind myself each move with her is for the best.
For dogs like this, you’ll want to introduce the moving kit a few weeks in advance for them to get used to the idea. Packing slowly and keeping a routine is important. Maintain your evening walks even if you have to shorten them a little so you have more time to pack.
You’ll also want to get your dog used to the car if they aren’t comfortable with it already. Take them with you to fill the car up with gas so they get used to short rides and doors opening and closing, all with you being nearby.
Making sure they have an id tag on their collar that is up to date with your contact information is important. At this time you’ll also want to let your vet know about the move and if your dog is microchipped, alert the company of your new address.
Is your dog crate trained? They usually feel super safe in their crates if so, so choose to utilize that on moving day in a quiet room away from the hustle of the loading. Otherwise keep your dog in a secure location, like a bedroom or potentially the backyard with access to food and water.
Another really great option is to drop your dog off with a friend or family member for the day. This gets them out of the way and you don’t have to worry about them escaping or getting underfoot. Placing them in a secure environment with somebody they know can also reduce their stress levels of seeing/hearing all those moving boxes being loaded up.
If you’re bringing your dog in the car, obviously never leave them unattended as cars get really hot really quickly, even on moderately temperature days. Please don’t do something dumb like putting them in the back of the moving truck. That’s a bad idea.
So you’re in your new house. Like with a cat, I would choose one room that is the room you’ll want to introduce your dog to first. Set that room up first and let your dog out of the crate or off the leash, give them some reassuring attention and let them explore one room. Make sure they have access to food, water and their favorite bed or toys. Let them explore the house in its entirety but I would watch to make sure they don’t mark anything for territory.
Since you probably haven’t even started unpacking, you’re going to want to make sure all dangerous items over the next few weeks are always out of your dog’s reach. Dogs are dumb sometimes and will pick irrational items as toys. My golden like to pick unripe oranges off our tree and play with them like a ball even though I can see how much she dislikes the bitter taste. But still, she lumbers on with the intelligence of, well, a dog. Maybe for your dog it’s the rocks in the backyard or that poisonous plant you intend to hang in the front window.
Take your dog for walks around the new neighborhood and give them a new toy or two to let them associate your new house with a place of fun. Walking your dog is also a great way to meet your new neighbors and start some friendly conversations. Ask them where the best dog park is or if there are any brunch places in the neighborhood with dog-friendly patios. Keep a regular schedule as much as possible and make sure they’re not overeating in this transition time. Your dog should transition much quicker than the cats but still I would advise with all the unpacking, you may notice signs of stress for about two weeks. Give your dog a little extra assurance that entire world revolves around them and you’ll be together furrrever.
With all pets, you’ll want to have recent, clear photos of them in case they do happen to slip out and go missing. Keep those photos in an easy to access place if this happens while you’re moving or still unpacking. You don’t want to waste any time getting the word out because you cannot locate those photos. And routine is really important, not just for them but for you too in helping to control stress manage time.