So, you’re getting ready to move, and you’re a dog owner. Since dogs are relatively adaptable creatures in general, it’d be easy not to think about the effect of your move on your dog until you’ve already made it. Unfortunately, this approach often leads to destructive behavior and housetraining accidents, and sometimes dogs even run away after a move. Your dog may handle moving like an old pro, but then again, she or he may not. It’s easier to prevent and manage stress ahead of time than to deal with an anxious, destructive dog while you’re trying to settle in to a new home. Follow these simple guidelines, and you’re more likely to experience a stress-free move with your pooch.
Consider Your Dog When Choosing a New Home
Dogs are family members, and like all family members, they deserve a “say” in choosing your new home. Now, I’m not suggesting that you let Fido pick the color scheme for the kitchen (for the record, he’d decorate in blue– dogs see blue more easily than other colors), but if you’ve got a large, energetic dog, don’t buy a one-bedroom condo, even if that’s all the space you need. Along the same lines, investigate local pet-related ordinances, HOA rules, condo association rules, lease policies, and any other rules or regulations affecting you and your dog before buying or committing to a lease.
Too many pet parents rehome their pets before or after a move because they didn’t take their pets’ needs into consideration prior to deciding on a new home. Be a responsible pet parent: Choose a home where your dog can live happily and legally with you.
Preparing for a Move
Once you’ve picked out the new place, if possible, take your dog for a visit. If you allow him to mark the yard before moving, he won’t find the new home totally unfamiliar when you move in. Even if a visit is not possible, make sure that you pack some of his favorite possessions in an easily accessible box and scatter them around the house and yard before your dog arrives, so the new house smells like home from the time your pup walks in the door.
If your dog is prone to phobias or anxiety, ask your vet about a mild sedative or a natural calming supplement to give for a few days prior to the move and for the first week or so in the new home. Often, a little anti-anxiety medication can make the difference between a spinning, panting dog in full-blown panic mode and a dog that walks into the new home and immediately goes to sleep! Along the same lines, if your dog gets carsick, make sure you’ve got enough anti-nausea medicine for the drive to your new home.
Finally, in the week before the big move, ramp up your dog’s exercise level and the frequency of training sessions. A tired dog is a good dog, and since it’s easy to neglect your dog’s exercise and training needs while busy with moving, start out on the right paw by increasing the exercise level instead. You’ll arrive at the new home with a pooped-out pup who just wants to take a nap.
Stay tuned for Part Two: Acclimating Your Dog to a New Home