Moving houses is always stressful, and not just for us, but for our pets, too. Dogs are relatively adaptable to our lifestyles, but like their wolf ancestors, they thrive on consistency and are naturally suspicious of change. When we alter the setting and the environment entirely by moving house with a dog, we must do what we can to help them adjust.

Read on for our tips on how to make moving house with a dog as easy and stress-free as possible for you and your furbaby.

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Preparing For Moving House With a Dog

When moving house with a dog it is best to plan ahead

Get your dog microchipped. If you haven’t already, get your dog microchipped. A microchip is a tiny computer chip — about the size of a grain of rice— housed in a unique glass that is compatible with living tissue. Veterinarians implant the chip under the skin between your dog’s shoulder blades with a syringe and needle. This process is similar to getting a shot and causes little to no pain to your pet.

A microchip allows people to identify your dog if they become lost or separated from you. Dogs are much more likely to get lost or confused in a new home and neighborhood after a move. Even if you don’t plan on moving, getting your dog microchipped is a best practice for pet owners. 

Give your dog identification. Along with a microchip, make sure your dog has your current phone number and new address on a collar. As stated above, your dog is most likely to become lost during a move and when in a new place. Keeping all their identifying information and your contact information up-to-date is the best way to make sure your dog comes back quickly and safely if they become lost.

dog playing on lawn

Find a new vet. If you are moving a significant distance from your old house to your new home, you may need a new veterinarian. You can ask for recommendations from your old veterinarian if they are familiar with your new area. Don’t wait until your dog gets injured or sick to find a new vet — research available vets in your area and take your dog in to introduce them. Your new vet will be able to give you advice on vaccines recommended for the area, such as whether or not they need leptospirosis, heartworm, or tick preventatives. 

Check local laws. When you’re moving house with a dog, make sure to familiarize yourself with the local laws concerning dogs. Does your new town require pet licenses? What are the leash laws? Is there breed-specific legislation in place? 

How to Prepare Your Dog To Move house

Crate train your dog. There are so many good reasons to crate train your dog. It’s easiest to crate train when your dog is a puppy, but they can learn at any age. For moving, crates are great to give your dog a quiet space where they can feel safe during the trip. It also keeps them from climbing into the front seat of your vehicle and potentially causing an accident. 

brown dog in window car

Condition your dog to packing. Many dogs get anxious when they see us pack a suitcase; they associate this action with us leaving them. Now imagine how your dog might react to you packing up the entire house. To condition our dogs to packing, have a few boxes and suitcases out ahead of time, so they don’t associate those items with your leaving. 

Calming medication. If your dog does not cope well with change or traveling, it isn’t a terrible idea to consider calming medication. Ask your veterinarian if they think these supplements might be beneficial for your dog. You can also consider using anti-anxiety gear such as a thunder shirt. 

fawn pug with black and white dog leash

Start training. If your dog will be expected to alter their behavior in your new home, start training them before you move. Maybe your neighbors will be closer to your new home, so you want to teach a ‘quiet’ behavior to stop your dog barking. Perhaps your dog won’t have a yard anymore and will need to take potty breaks on a leash. Whatever potential changes your dog will face, start training them towards these goals before your move so that they are somewhat familiar with what is expected ahead of time.

Prepare them for the future. Most dogs don’t love change. To help ease your dog’s transition during this upheaval, try introducing them to their new environment ahead of the move. Introduce them to the kinds of sights, smells, and sounds you expect to encounter when moving house with a dog. For example, if you are moving to a louder, busier place, condition your dog to the sounds of cars, people, etc. 

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Tips For the New Home

Once you are in your new home, here are quick tips to help your dog adjust.

  • Unpack a few of your dog’s belongings early — food bowl, water bowl and toys — to help them feel at home.
  • Bring a few items that smell like their old home out to comfort them. 
  • Keep medical records, microchip information, and a current photo handy in case your dog gets lost.
  • If your dog has a sensitive stomach, feed them lightly the first couple of days and watch for any digestive distress.
  • Pet-proof your new home by checking for any hazards. If the yard is fenced, check every inch to make sure your yard is secure. Observe your dog in their new yard carefully the first few days.
  • Maintain your dog’s previous walking and feeding schedules much as possible.
  • Explore the neighborhood slowly. Allow your dog to take in all the new sights, sounds, and smells — not all at once — as this will stop your dog feeling overwhelmed. 
  • Make your dog feel like your new home is fun — keep plenty of toys, puzzle feeders around, so your dog doesn’t have time to stress about the newness. 
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Moving House With a Dog Successfully

Most dogs adapt to their new homes reasonably quickly. Have patience and show support for your beloved canine, and they will love your new home as much as you do in no time.

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