Moving day can be stressful and disruptive for everyone involved, including your dog. There are, however, steps you can take before, during and after moving day to make the experience less traumatic.
Before the move
- Learn about your new town, city, or neighborhood. Find out if there is a limit on the number of dogs per household and if there are ordinances in place with regards to barking. You can get these answers ahead of time by contacting the local government.
- Make an appointment with your veterinarian for a checkup and update your dog's vaccinations.
- Get your dog's records from your veterinarian. This would be necessary if you're moving to a new city. It would also be a good idea to ask your vet if he or she can recommend a vet in your new area.
- Make arrangements ahead of time for your dog to stay with a friend or at a doggie day care center on moving day. This will keep your dog from getting underfoot or getting stressed out by all the commotion.
- If possible, visit your new home in advance with your dog. This way he has a chance to see his new home beforehand so it will be less of a surprise when he actually moves in.
- If you can't take your dog to a kennel or a friend's house, create a "safe room," a room emptied of all its contents so movers won't have to enter. Make sure you put a "do not open" sign on the door. If you have more than one dog, don't confine them together unless they're used to it.
- Set aside some quality time for your dog on moving day. Try to keep his routine the same, especially feeding and exercise times. Reassure him that he's still part of the family!
At your new home
- Introduce your dog to just one or two rooms. Wait until your dog is comfortable there before letting him explore more rooms.
- Eat at home. While it might be convenient to eat out, bring food in instead so your dog isn't left alone in the strange new surroundings.
- Make sure your dog knows where his things are. Point out the location of your dog's bed, toys, food, etc. so he knows where to find them.
- Don't coddle your dog if he is stressed. It may just reinforce the behavior.
- If you're in a new city or state, update your dog's license and ID tags. You'll also need to provide new address information if your dog has an identification micro-chip or tattoo.
- If you didn't have a chance to do it beforehand, find a new veterinarian. And while you're at it, see if there are any pet hospitals/emergency clinics nearby.
Finally, make sure that throughout the entire moving process you maintain a normal feeding and walking schedule for your dog. This will go a long way in reducing your dog's—and your own—stress level.