moving with a dog

When it comes to dogs and moving, our pets feels the same stressors we do – and let’s face it: moving is notoriously stressful. All the shuffling around – strange smells, shifting furniture, a multitude of boxes – can make your pup feel discombobulated, despite the excitement of changing things up. Since many studies have shown that dogs help reduce our stress, if you’re moving with a dog, it’s imperative to show your furry family member the same courtesy. Here are some tips to keep your best friend calm.

Familiarize them with what’s coming

What’s with all the boxes?! All dogs, even the big ones who can’t get lost in the shuffle of moving-box disarray, will be fraught with anxiety if the house fills up with big clunky (and sometimes even scary!) boxes all at once.

Some people like to bring out suitcases or the travel crate a week before they leave for a vacation or take the pup on a trip. Moving with a dog demands the same. Get them ready for the tumult to come by leaving a few boxes around well before you move. This way they won’t get worried that it means you’re leaving. And if your move will require crating your dog, absolutely get them used to it before the journey begins.

Visit your new apartment together  

If so, why not bring your dog by the community for a walk or two before the big day comes? Familiar sights, sounds and scents will go a long way in helping your pup make the adjustment – especially amid all the potential strangeness (new neighbors, movers, etc.) that descends on moving day.

Related: How to make dog friends in your new apartment

Favs and scents

When it comes to dogs and moving, recognizable things go a long way. Set him or her up in a safe place (doors are often propped open as people move things in and out; make sure your dog is in a closed room) and make it cozy by bringing along a few favorite toys and bedding that’s already got a few dog miles on it. Save the cute, brand-new bed for a week or so later, once your pup has had a chance to settle in. Sticking as close as possible to your typical feeding and walking schedule can help, too.

Consider a sitter

If things are really going to be hectic, take the stress out of moving with a dog by sending Fido to Grandma’s, a familiar friend’s home or perhaps even a doggie daycare with which he or she is familiar. Having other dogs to play with not only distracts your pup from what you might be feeling, the exercise will burn off excess energy. That will make for a calmer, sleepier dog when it comes time to pile in the car to the new place.

Keep them occupied

If they’re going to be penned up in a bedroom while the move is happening, perhaps a new, treat-dispensing toy can help ease the weirdness. Puzzle toys, or Kongs that can be filled with something yummy can keep Rover occupied while the bulk of the moving is going on.

It’s also far safer for both pets and people to keep your dog from being underfoot during the moving process. And if your dog simply has to see what’s going on all the time, invest in a good gate, so he or she can see the process as it happens without getting into trouble.

See Also: How to keep a dog happy and healthy in a small apartment

Ask your vet

Your pet’s doctor will have great advice about how to keep your dog calm during the moving process. A vet can even prescribe something to ease your dog’s nerves, or his tummy, if yours is a dog prone to car sickness.

Moving can be a happy time for you both. Just remember that your dog has feelings, too, at moving time.

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About The Author

A.D. Thompson has been a journalist and editor for more than 25 years, and a mother for 13. She cannot believe how old that sentence makes her sound. A.D. is a consumer of both coffee and wine, and a veteran Odyssey of the Mind coach for both of her daughters’ teams. Her family happily resides in an Orlando apartment community. She is the Orlando Expert for USA Today 10Best and has worked with regional publications including Orlando Signature, Edible Orlando and the Orlando Sentinel.