How to Help your Dog Prepare for Relocation

Settling into a new home often poses a challenge for dogs as well as their owners. Dogs read people’s body language and feel when their owners are stressed out. Unfortunately, relocation is one of those times when stress levels are higher than usual. This period will be at least a little upsetting, no matter what you do to help your dog prepare for relocation. On the bright side, dogs and very adaptable creatures. As long as they are with their family, they will get used to the change of location. Also, there are a few things you can do for them to help ease this transition.

Dogs are tied to their schedule

Whether you are moving long-distance or staying in the same town, your dog will feel the change. At a time of disruption, we are often forced to change our daily routine. While this may not be a problem for humans, changing a dog’s routine during the move should be avoided. When preparing for relocation, we often forget to eat, get up earlier or go to bed later than we usually do. Still, you should do your best to keep your dog on the same schedule. If the dog normally eats, goes for a walk and plays with you at a certain time every day, that shouldn’t change before (nor after) the move. In case there has never been a constant schedule, introduce it before the move and stick to it in your new place as well. Special diets and drugs may also help dogs prepare for relocation if they are older or suffer from a chronic illness.

A man and a woman holding a small dog wrapped in a blanket, spending time with their dog which is the best way to help your dog prepare for relocation
Your dog shouldn’t have trouble adapting to the new place as long as its social group doesn’t change.

Your dog’s health comes first

Seeking professional advice may be the best way to help your dog prepare for relocation. So, talk to your vet before the move and ask about their experiences. Also, pay attention to your dog’s behavior and overall health during this period. In case the dog refuses food, starts vomiting or has diarrhea, take him/her to the vet. If a well-behaved dog suddenly starts misbehaving, that may be a sign the move is really stressing them out. Products like anxiety shirts, hormone sprays and calming tablets that help with stress can be found at most pet stores. If nothing changes, take your dog to the vet because the problem could be more serious and stronger medication might be necessary.

Physical exercise will help your dog prepare for relocation

It is a well-known fact that a good workout helps people get rid of stress. Dogs are no different. Although you should not change their daily routine, a longer walk or a few extra minutes of fetch won’t hurt. On the contrary. Since you’ll probably have less free time to spend with your dog, not the opposite, ask a friend or a reliable dog walker to help your dog prepare for moving by helping them exercise. Just make sure it is someone your dog knows and trusts.

A short-haired yellow dog lying on an blanket
Try to stay calm around your dog in order to help your dog prepare for relocation.

Getting used to the moving supplies

Moving boxes and other supplies will eventually take over your home and your dog may not be ok with that. If your pet gets particularly nervous at the sight of large foreign objects, such as boxes, leave a few boxes lying around for a few days before you start packing. Your dog will have some time to sniff and examine these “intruders”, so they won’t seem so scary when you or the professional packers you hired to bring more.

What to do on moving day

When professional movers Los Angeles start packing and moving your household items, your dog might feel very uncomfortable, to say the least. To prevent your furry friend from barking, hiding, escaping or even attacking the strangers, keep them out of the house until everything is done. For example, ask a family member to take your pet to the park or to another familiar place. Also, if your dog doesn’t have a microchip and a collar with a name tag, now is the time to get those. A nervous dog is more likely to run away, especially with so many people going in and out of the house.

What to do with their belongings

Dogs pick up on moving anxiety. Everything that’s familiar can help soothe that anxiety. Therefore, pack your dog’s “personal belongings” (water bowl, toys, bed) last and unpack them first. Furthermore, avoid cleaning your dog’s stuff because you will wash away that familiar smell. Although some of the best moving companies Los Angeles is served by offer pet relocation, moving dogs separately is not the best solution. It is much better to move your dog with you and let it have its favorite toy or blanket during the trip.

A small white dog lying on an armchair
Make sure your new home is pet-friendly before moving in.

Help your dog adjust to the new home

  • Doing everything we’ve mentioned to help your dog prepare for relocation does not mean your job is done. It is equally important to make sure your dog keeps getting enough attention after the relocation.
  • Do not let your dog loose in your new place as soon as you arrive. If you do, a bathroom accident may occur (including vomit or diarrhea). Moreover, the dog could take the first opportunity to escape. If possible, introduce one new room per day to give your dog time to get familiar with it.
  • Avoid doing the things your dog hates immediately after the move. This may include grooming, nail trimming, bathing, etc. If your dog is scared of the vacuum cleaner, use it when he/she is not in the house.
  • Do not start planning a housewarming party just yet. Your dog has had enough stress already. Give the dog some time to adjust to the new home and get more comfortable before inviting a bunch of people over.
  • Other animals may add to your dog’s anxiety in the new home. So, avoid getting new pets for the time being. Even if they are just visiting, other animals may upset your dog after the move.
« »