Pets are territorial animals, and changing their habitat is stressful enough even without the strain of the relocation process. As they tend to sense our mood swings, moving with a dog can be stressful for them too. However, one of the essential things in their lives is staying close to us. So wherever we are, that is their home, and they will adapt to any change of environment as long as we are with them. That being said, we would like to point out that they do not understand the excitement following the process of relocation, and it is up to us to make it easier for them.
As we mentioned above, changing the routine is one of the factors to consider when relocating with dogs. It is easier if their social group, meaning us and other animals they live with, stays the same. It’s also significant for them if their routine of taking food, sleeping and going for a walk stays in place. If this routine is going to be modified in the future household, it is recommendable to start changing it in your old house, so that the animal can adopt the new rhythm. Pet’s familiar bed and toys will help it feel at home. That’s why you need to keep those things because they will encourage your pet to stay in a good mood and be amused while you start unpacking. Older dogs and dogs with chronic illnesses may need more time to adapt, but they will come to it eventually.
When packing, leave your dog’s bed and toys for the last box, as it may entertain it and keep it calm. Besides, once you arrive at your destination, you won’t search for the box since it will be one of the first things you take out and place in your new house.
Before letting the dog in your new house, you need to inspect the place first for any potentially dangerous stuff which may have been left by the previous owners, such as cleaning chemicals, poisons, etc. Then you can take out its bed and place it somewhere quiet and let it explore the new house.
As already mentioned, your pet will react to your behavior, so staying calm will help them stay calm, too. Even if they do not understand what we are saying, talk to them softly, as they will sense a positive mood and care and respond to it adequately.
If you are flying with an animal that has never flown before, try to prepare for it by creating familiar conditions. If your dog is transported in a carrier and is not used to it, you should let it smell and inspect it. Also, don’t forget to put its favorite blanket and treats inside to make it feel at home. There are also calming medications you can search from your vet, or other items designed to reduce stress.
Microchip and ID tag is a very important accessory, as it will help you find your dog in case he gets lost or escapes out of fear. If you are moving internationally, you should check with your vet about the required vaccinations and documents. You should know that some countries search for a mandatory quarantine lasting up to six months before they allow them to enter the country. So ensure you are informed on time about this by the US Department of Agriculture.
Dogs need their physical exercise and they usually tend to be calm after they had a long walk or training. Profit from this fact by taking it out longer and playing the game of fetch to get it tired. This will likely keep it calmer during the relocation. If you are too busy, ask a friend or a family member to take care of it or do training for you. Too much energy is bound to create problems during this time.
Along with the mentioned physical training, your dog should be exercised mentally as it may keep it busy while you are packing. Play “hide and seek” around the moving boxes while loading them. By using its favorite toys or food, you will also help it get accustomed to boxes.
The best option for the relocation day would be to have a friend or family member take care of your dog, as too many people (including family) and things being moved around will lead to anxiety. If that is not an option, the best way to make a relaxed atmosphere is to place your pet in its bed with its toys and food in a quiet room where it will not be disturbed.
As relocation can be an unpredictable activity, it is always better to have your dog somewhere else on that day. We recommend you find such a solution by using all the resources available. It could be your friend, a family member, a professional sitter or even a boarding facility it is accustomed to.
Bear in mind that your dog does not understand what the fuss is all about, so its anxiety with relocation is a whole lot bigger than yours. If the animal is expressing it by excessive barking, whining or another type of behavior, you should know this sign is a normal reaction to a strange situation. Therefore, be ready to show a lot of patience.
When moving a dog to a new home, apart from trying to keep them calm during the relocation day, you need to consider their reaction to the new home. It works in our favor that they are blindly attached to us, and as long as we are together, they will adapt to any situation. The key to the solution is planning and preparation, so think about it in advance and use all the resources at your disposal to make it easier for you and your dog.