Will Moving House Upset My Dog
Moving house is exciting, but can also be an unsettling time. Regular household routines will be temporarily disturbed prior to the move, during the move and while settling in at your new residence. The right approach will ensure all family members are considered, including your pet dog. It’s not unusual for dogs to feel stress or separation anxiety until they get accustomed to their new surroundings, but there are steps that can be taken to make sure the adjustment goes smoothly.
You will be busy organising a lot of personal details during the move. Changing documents, setting up new accounts, making new letterheads, connecting services and redirecting mail just to name a few. Your dog is an important family member also, and is fully reliant on you to transfer any details to the new address.
Preparation is key:
- Update microchip details.
- Make a new collar identity tag and remember to register your dog with the local council.
- Keep a copy of veterinary records to give to the vet in your new area.
- Be up to date will any vaccinations, worming or any medications your dog requires.
- Research your new local area. There could be concerns regarding ticks, snakes or other dangers.
- If possible, secure all fences at the new property prior to the move. An unsettled dog might be restless or scared and try to run away.
Dog care during the move
Although the moving companies are efficient and considerate, your dog might still feel intimidated by the radical change taking place in their environment. Some people prefer to keep their dog away from the disturbance by having friends or family do a little pet-sitting for a day or two. Every dog is different, and some will actually enjoy the excitement. Others might be OK if they are kept temporarily inside a room with a comfortable blanket and some nibbles. Remember to put a ‘do not enter’ sign on the door.
As much as possible, stick to feeding and walking routines, and give your dog plenty of reassurance. Your pet will feel less stressed if you are not overly anxious. If possible, refrain from packing your dog’s bedding, toys and bowls until late in the moving preparation. Familiarity is important to pets, and although you want everything to feel brand new at your new address it’s not a good idea to wash dog blankets until after you settle in. Your dog will appreciate familiar smells.
Bring along some of your dog’s usual treats. The occasional snack along the way will provide distraction and create further familiarity. Consider packing some of your dog’s usual food just in case it’s not available in the new area. Give your dog plenty of attention once you arrive. Spending a little time together will reassure your pet that everything is fine.
Settling in at the new home
Moving to a new home is an exciting time, and there will be a lot to do and much to explore. However, your dog should be introduced over time so it is not too exciting or overwhelming.
- Keep your dog mostly indoors for the first couple of days and remember to use a lead if venturing outside to explore the neighbourhood. If the fences are secure, it’s a good time to hang out in the yard and throw a ball or frisbee to show your dog it’s a fun place to be. If moving close to your old home, leave a forwarding address in case your dog returns there after the move.
- Introduce yourself and your pet to the neighbours. As well as familiarising them with your family, dogs are renowned as one of the best ways to break the ice and make new friends.
- Don’t overly pamper your dog as it may sense something is wrong with the new surroundings. On the other hand, it’s ok to hand out a few extra treats and even scatter some here and there to encourage exploration and familiarity.
Pets are usually very adaptable and get used to new surroundings quickly. As long as they realise it is a loving environment there should be no negative long-term affects. However, if for any reason your dog seems depressed or lacks appetite you should consider consulting the local vet for the best course of action. Moving professionals can have you out of your old house and into your new one within the same day, so the transition can be fast and your dog will be ready and willing to celebrate with the rest of the family.