By Jessica Brody creator of OurBestFriends.pet
Advice for Keeping Your Dog Comfortable During a Move
Although many dogs are not bothered when their owners make a move to a new home, some dogs find changing their home and their routine to be traumatic. Older dogs and those with chronic illnesses are more sensitive to change. For these dogs and their owners, settling into a new home can create problems.
According to the Veterinary Centers of America (VCA), “Dogs are generally quite content as long as their social group (people, other pets) remains fairly much the same and as long as the daily program (routine) remains fairly constant.”
If your pet seems anxious about the upcoming move, it could be in the best interest of you and your dog to hire a professional mover (it’s a good idea to compare rates). They can pack your items in your old home, label boxes, move boxes and furniture, and even unpack your items at the new home. You can then focus on comforting your dog and helping him or her to adjust to the changes throughout the process.
Helping your dog with the move starts before the actual move date. A fairly structured daily routine of feeding, exercise, and downtimes are helpful, so if you do not already follow a routine, consider setting one up. Although the surroundings may change, the routine will not, which helps your dog to adjust more efficiently.
Pets that have a specific location where they sleep and eat may have difficulty adapting until they develop similar locations and routines in the new home. As with establishing a routine, before you move, it can be helpful to establish a specific bed or crate for sleeping and a specific area for eating. Then, once you move, provide an environment which has all the features (bed, crate, food and water bowls, etc.) and as much similarity as possible to the previous home.
Packing and Moving
While you are preparing the old house, it may be advisable to keep the boxes out of view and to pack up the dog’s sleeping area and toys last so that the home remains as constant as possible. You can also try to desensitize and counter-condition the dog to the boxes and household disruption. To do this, provide play sessions and his or her favorite toys and treats that are in combination with the packing. For example, while packing the kitchen, allow your dog to chew on his favorite bone and offer a favorite treat. “During the actual moving the dog should be securely confined or out of the home to avoid anxiety, injury, or escape,” warns the VCA.
The New Home
Experts recommend owners spend extra time with their dogs in the new home – especially the new designated sleeping and eating areas – for the first few days until the dogs have some familiarity with the new home. Besides helping the dog to be less anxious, accompanying the dog is advisable because some dogs, young dogs in particular, tend to chew as part of their investigative behavior, and other dogs may mark their territory with urine. If you are with the dog during exploration, you can “encourage and reinforce desirable behavior while interrupting or deterring undesirable behavior.” Be sure to properly encourage and reinforce behaviors. Again, hiring someone to help you unpack can be useful so you can focus on your dog during this time.
Although there is no way to know for sure how your dog will react to a move or how long he or she will take to adjust, you can help your dog by setting up a daily routine, as well as a special sleeping and eating area. Also, spend extra time giving your dog attention and affection. If you can hire professional movers, the move will not only be less work for you, but will also help your dog to be less anxious about the move and help him or her ease into life at the new home.
About the Author:
Jessica Brody, a certified dog lover, is the creator of OurBestFriends.pet. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her loving family (which includes 2 dachshunds and a black lab).