Settling Your Dog In A New Home
Moving is stressful, no doubt about it. But if you have a dog (or dogs, plural) it can be just as stressful for them. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when thinking about moving dogs into your new home.
Keep Things Familiar
As much as possible, keep things normal and comfortable for your dog. Try to keep feeding them the same food. Use the same water bowl, and keep any favorite toys on hand. Trying to stuff your dog into a brand new crate or cage right before traveling for a move is practically guaranteed to stress them out.
Speaking of crates, you’ll need to plan on how you’re traveling with your dog. For short moves, it’s probably a non-issue, but if you’re moving cross-country, you might want to send the dogs by plane. Check carefully with your airline: most will help you figure out the best way to fly your dog.
Most people will choose to drive: it’s usually more familiar to the dog, and often cheaper besides. Plan ahead for food and water if you have a cross-country move coming up. You should also be ready to take lots of stops while you’re on the road, especially if your dog isn’t used to driving. Campgrounds will usually accept pets, and many hotel rooms will allow a dog to stay with you for an extra fee.
Moving is when you want to make sure you have all of your pet’s medical documents on hand. Vaccinations, blood tests, history of surgeries: you’ll want all of this with you in case something happens while you’re moving. Additionally, you can save yourself a headache by choosing a new veterinarian in advance. This means you won’t be rushing around at the last minute worrying about that blue stuff your dog ate in the basement of the new house.
Dog Tags/ Microchips
Don’t forget to update all of the identifying personal information on your dog’s collar or microchip. If your dog doesn’t use a collar or identifying tags, now is a good time to start: you can pick up tags at most pet stores. Some states also require licensing for pets. Keep track of any relevant laws before the move itself. For example, dogs being brought into Hawaii need to be kept under quarantine before being allowed in.
Create An Inviting Atmosphere in Your New Home
This is probably the most important one. You want to make sure the house doesn’t smell of any previous pets: this could cause your pets to feel defensive or start marking the house. Depending on the house, you may also want to restrict your dog’s movement to a controlled area at first so that they won’t be overwhelmed. This also gives you time to find any possible escape routes or crevices your dog could get lost in.
Above all else, try to spend as much time as you can with your dog, especially during the first couple days. Pets don’t understand why you’ve packed up and moved to a totally new place, and dealing with it can sometimes cause a lot of anxiety. Take plenty of walks in and around your new home to help your dog get acclimated.