Moving can be a stressful time for your furry friend. The changing environment is slightly traumatic, even for a human, but your dogs have no context for what is going on. The things that made up the world around them are slowly disappearing and, before anyone knows it, they are waking up to the smell of some not so familiar carpeting with a home layout they probably would not have chosen for their dream home (they prefer something smaller and with more treats per square footage). Your dog’s stylistic tastes aside, there are a few things that may slip your mind when it comes to your road-bound pup. Any kind of stress you may be feeling is certainly amplified for your dog. We can rationalize our anxieties and practice mindfulness, but our pets are not quite that intelligent. Luckily, we can do some things to ensure our dog’s safety and comfort!
Make a quick appointment with the Vet! Before the move, it may be a good idea to assemble a care bag filled with anti-anxiety toys, dog treats (that are more than likely bacon flavored), some other toys (that are probably also bacon flavored) as well as any medication or shampoos that may be valuable from the start at the new home. The new place could have some unforeseen issue with fleas or other pests that may give your dog a hard time. Being prepared may help curb this unneeded stress on your pup. While doing this, you may also want to consider making an appointment with your favorite vet. The trip to the office will also give you an excuse to change your contact address if needed or, if you are moving well out of the area, it will be one last chance to praise your veterinarian.
Update the dog’s tags! This is one of those small things that could be easily overlooked during a move. With a new home comes new contact information (exciting) and while you may have constant reminders from your parents to update your driver’s license and notify your mail service (even though you haven’t gotten an actual important physical letter in years), not many except devoted dog owners would tell you to update the tag information on your pet. You can use this moment to go mess around on that tag-punching machine at the pet store. Last time you were in there, they had one in the shape of a dolphin. Go get that dolphin, because you earned it. Also, remember to put the new address on it. While your updating the tags, it may also be a good idea to get the chip information updated, if your pup is GPS tracked.
Make the atmosphere cozy! As any dog owners knows, dogs are as different and complex as people, so they all have preferences and understandings of comfort. You, as the moving owner, know better than anyone what those preferences are. Steps in the right direction may include kenneling your pet during times when you are moving a lot of items or furniture. This requires preparation, as the dog will feel most comfortable when the kennel feels more like a den. To create this atmosphere, its best to feed the dog exclusively inside the container and to use it as a safe-haven or shelter instead of a place of punishment. When you are moving the dog to the new home, place a blanket over the cage so that she or he doesn’t see the changing environment outside, which could cause more anxiety. If your dog digs the car ride, there is no sense using this method to curb some anxiety. Let that adventurous spirit flourish.
Above everything, move the house first! This seems like an obvious one, but basic instinct makes you care for the dog and long for his or her comfort. If you focus on moving for a while and spend quality time with your dog when you aren’t packing, then you are not exposing the dog to your stress. Designating time out of your busy moving day to let your pet know it’s the greatest canine to ever sink its cute little teeth into a bacon-flavored chew toy. When you get over to the new house, the world around it may be different, but the dog can take comfort in the fact that their owner is comfortable.