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  • Young woman lying on couch with her pet

    Tips For Moving House With a Dog

July 2019

Give your pampered pooch the best possible start at your new address by following these tips for before, during and after the move.

Moving house is an exciting time, full of adventure and new starts, however it can sometimes be a little overwhelming and our four-legged friends are no exception.

Dogs are very territorial. Your pooch probably knows every inch of your current home and its backyard inside-out; and it is likely on first-bark basis with all the other dogs in your street, too. So if your dog gets the feeling something is happening, no wonder he or she stresses out. Here are some things you can do to reduce their anxiety.

Looking after your dog before the move

Dogs are clever. They can sense that change is afoot and will naturally feel anxious about what’s ahead. To help minimise your dog’s stress in the weeks leading up to the move:

  • Maintain their routine as much as possible – which means finding the time in your busy moving schedule to take them for regular walks and so on1
  • If possible, take your dog to its new home before the move – this will ease their confusion when moving day arrives2
  • Don’t pack your dog’s bedding and toys until the very last day – so, as the house gets packed up around them, they are left with the things they love

Before you move, particularly if you will be moving a long way and will need a new vet, it’s also a good idea to visit your current vet and request your pet’s history, vaccination certification and desexing certificate. You should also organise your dog’s registration, new ID tag and update the microchip details before you move – the chances of your dog escaping either during or immediately after the move are a little higher than usual!

Looking after your dog on the day of the move

Many people choose to enlist the help of a dog sitter or friend on the day of the move. This way, your dog doesn’t have to experience all those last-minute stresses and you can concentrate on getting the most important things unpacked in your new home before nightfall.

If you can’t find a friend to help, then remember to think about your dog’s needs on the day. They’ll need food, water and to be kept safe and secure on moving day, since the front door is generally wide open. If you need to, put your dog in a closed room with some toys during the move so he or she can’t escape.

Once you get to the new place, do a perimeter check of the backyard to make sure it’s fully-enclosed. If you’re at all worried that your dog may be able to wriggle under a gate or jump over a low fence, then don’t let them out there unsupervised until all escape routes are fixed. The last thing you want on moving day is for your dog to do a runner in a new neighbourhood.

How to settle your dog when you have moved

Once the hard work is done, furniture is in place and the boxes are stacked waiting to be unpacked, it’s time to make your dog feel at home. Here are some tips for helping them settle into a new home:

  • Set up your dog’s bed, feeding bowl and any other familiar items in a similar position to the last home
  • Don’t wash your dog’s bed or blanket for a week or so, as they’ll love that familiar scent
  • Take your dog for plenty of walks around the new neighbourhood to familiarise them with the local streets
  • Try not to shower your pooch with excessive love and attention – this could backfire and make them even more anxious
  • In the first few days, try not to leave your dog at home alone – and then gradually extend the amount of time you’re away for (you may want to check in with your new neighbours to see if your dog is barking or whining when you’re out)

Dogs generally take about a week to settle into their new surroundings. If, despite doing all of the above, your pooch is showing signs of stress (which could manifest in more barking than usual, chewing on furniture or other household items, scratching at doors or escaping) then you might want to pay a visit to your new vet and discuss options to reduce their stress levels.

The final word

Moving house is a big deal for dogs. You can do a number of things before, during and after the move to ease their anxiety – and yours – so their tail’s wagging at the door of your new home in no time.

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