Moving to a new home can be an exciting transition, but it’s also a major change that can take a significant toll on everyone involved, including your dog. Fortunately, there are steps you can take before the move to help make the move easier for your four-legged friend. Read on for important tips from the Belmont County Animal Shelter.
1. Remain Calm and Connected
While the weeks and months leading up to a move can be stressful, try to keep your anxiety in check. Dogs are often highly attuned to their owners’ emotions; The Bark explains your dog can sense when you are fearful or nervous, and in turn, it will feel fearful or nervous as well. Going for a short walk together or playing a quick game of fetch can help both of you release some tension.
2. Visit the New Area Together
If you’re moving across a substantial distance — to a new state, for example — plan to spend some time in the new location before the actual move. You’ll want to tour potential homes and get a feel for the new area, and you may also need to explore your employment options.
Don’t worry if a hotel stay and pet boarding aren’t within your budget. Instead, consider staying with nearby friends or family members if possible (make sure they’re OK with your dog coming along). Making this trip together has several important benefits for your dog.
- Conquer the Car Trip: If the trip involves a long car ride, a “practice run” will make the actual moving day much easier for you and your dog. You’ll get a sense of how your dog will handle the trip and have an opportunity to adjust things like seating arrangements. You are also showing your dog that a long car ride doesn’t necessarily mean something scary and that you will be right there with your pet the whole time. Your dog will be much less likely to panic when moving day arrives.
- Stay in Sight: During stressful times, one of the most traumatic things you can do to your dog is to leave it in a strange place without you overnight. Your dog doesn’t understand what is happening and may believe that it is being abandoned. Consequently, the animal may begin to exhibit overly anxious behavior each subsequent time you leave the house.
3. Explore the New Neighborhood
If possible, walk your dog in your future neighborhood before the move and let it get acquainted with the sights, sounds, and, as Nova points out, especially smells. Make your walk fun and playful, with some petting and treats. Your dog will associate these stimuli with a positive experience, and the area will seem much less frightening on moving day.
4. Skip the Scrubbing
Avoid the temptation to toss out or wash your dog’s bed, dishes, and toys. As undesirable as it may seem to move your dog’s smelly, hairy old bed into your sparkling new space, your dog is deeply attached to the scent of his or her belongings. For your dog, the days after a move can be just as strange and frightening as the first days you brought it home. The presence of some familiar items — and, yes, its familiar smells — will be enormously comforting to your dog.
5. Take the Edge Off
If your dog displays excessive fearfulness or anxiety during the trial run, or if it appears that moving day is likely to cause your dog extreme distress, consider asking your vet to prescribe some anti-anxiety medication to help your dog relax during the trip. While you’re there, pick up a copy of your dog’s medical records for its new vet.
Moving is always a challenging event, especially for your dog. With a little bit of preparation, however, you can make the experience much easier on your furry friend.
Turn to Belmont County Animal Shelter for tips and information to help you and your pet thrive, and to adopt your next furry family member!