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How to Make a Move Easier on Your Dog

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It's very easy to get so wrapped up in worrying about moving that you forget all about one of the most important members of your family -- your dog. While it's challenging to go through your entire house and plan your move in fine detail, it's also challenging to make your move easy on your dog.

Your move should be as comfortable and stress-free as possible for your furry friend, because your dog doesn't have the ability to communicate and let you know whether they're comfortable.

For that reason, you should anticipate the anxiety that your dog might experience before, during and after the move and prepare them in a way that will enable them to adjust to their new environment and the move in general. As stressful as it is for you to move all your belongings to a strange and unfamiliar town, it's equally as stressful for your dog to move to a new place.

How to make the move comfortable for your dog

Preparing your dog for the move and the challenges that may arise before, during, and after the move is a good way to minimize the potential headaches that can stem from dealing with keeping your dog calm and safe while trying to manage the logistics and hectic schedule of your move.

Here are some helpful tips you can follow if you and your pup are traveling by car:

  • If your dog is not already accustomed to riding in the car, go on a few short car rides in the weeks leading up to the move
  • If possible, secure the dog with a harness while you're traveling to prevent it from moving around too much and distracting you
  • DO NOT leave your dog in the car unattended with the windows closed in warm weather as this can be fatal for the dog

If you're traveling by plane, here is some advice on how to make the trip manageable for everyone involved:

  • Check with your veterinarian -- some breeds of dogs do not handle flying well and it can be dangerous for them
  • Contact the airline you're flying with as well as the Department of Agriculture to familiarize yourself with transportation specifics
  • If your dog is small enough, you may be able to carry it on board with you
  • Find out if they require a special kind of carrier or health and immunization documents
  • If your dog is flying in cargo, it needs to be temperature-controlled and properly pressurized
  • Schedule a direct flight to minimize the travel time for your dog

Prepare yourself for the common challenges of moving with dogs

As with any other aspect of the moving process, there are challenges that come with moving with your dog. How you handle these challenges is simply a matter of how prepared you are and how well you plan for the countless issues that can come with moving with your dog. Here are some of the biggest challenges that present themselves throughout each portion of your move and what you can do to overcome them to make the move easier for you and your dog.

Dogs get moving anxiety just like people

Don't forget that your dog can feel the effects of an impending relocation just the same as you can. Packing everything up, corralling your dog into a pet carrier and whisking it away to your new home will not help your dog adjust to the move and the drastic change of scenery and routine. It's important that you don't change any of the dog's routine leading up to the move and that everything, including the dog's diet remains the same.

If you'll be putting the dog in a pet carrier during the move, allow the dog some time to sit, sleep in it before the move, so it isn't so unfamiliar on moving day.

Secure your dog on moving day

Moving day can be a chaotic day with movers coming in and out of the house frequently, carrying boxes and heavy furniture. It can be hectic for just about anyone, but it will be terrifying for your dog.

The best thing to do to ensure the safety of your dog, as well as the safety of the moving crew, keep a designated room for your dog while the move is in progress. Keep the door closed at all times to keep the movers and your dog safe from injury.

Things to keep in this room:

  • Favorite chew toys
  • Bed
  • Food and fresh water
  • A piece of clothing that you recently wore and smells like you

Place a sign on the door letting everyone know that your dog is in the room and not to open the door. With people coming in and out of the house all day during the move, it could be easy for your dog to escape and get lost without you noticing.

TIP: Throughout the day, have one of your family members periodically check on the dog and take them out for a quick walk if needed.

Ensure your new home is dog-safe before moving in

Since your new house is unfamiliar, you're going to have to be fairly thorough in checking each room for things that might cause a problem for you and your dog.

Some examples of these potential harmful items are:

  • Any household cleaners, insect repellents or plants that are considered poisonous if consumed by a dog
  • Any open flames, burning heaters or other hot appliances that can be harmful to your dog if touched
  • Exposed wiring that can pose a threat of electrocution
  • Small loose items lying around like screws, nails or tiny pieces of plastic that can be a choking
  • Any openings in the yard's fence that your dog can escape from

Being thorough in your examination of the property prior to letting your dog run free and explore is a vital step in ensuring the safety of your dog.

Nicole Schurott  Posted by Nicole Schurott on December 5, 2018

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