Packing up and heading to a new place is difficult at the best of times – but it can become even more challenging when you add a dog into the mix.
Moving house is stressful enough when you understand what’s going on. So imagine how it must be for your dog, who has no idea of what the upheaval is all about. Their home is being emptied and there are strange noises, unusual smells and new people entering and leaving – and that’s all before you’ve actually moved.
Dogs can be simple to move with, as they see you as the alpha of their pack and will generally go along with whatever you do. You can help minimise the stress for your pet, however, by bearing in mind these tips for moving house with dogs:
1. Update your dog’s microchip details
Ensure your dog is tagged and microchipped and remember that once you have moved, you need to let your microchip supplier know that you have changed address. This will help to ensure you are reunited with your dog quickly should they get lost.
2. Choose a safe room
On the day of the move, confine your dog to one room. This will help them stay safe while heavy objects are being moved and stop them from getting under your feet and causing harm to themselves or others.
If possible, it may also be a good idea to have a familiar person (such as their dog walker or close relative) take them out of the house during the packing process to minimise the distress.
Once you’ve arrived at the new house, it’s a good idea to keep your dog in one room to help acclimatise them to the new smell of the house. Leave them with some food, water, plus their bed and some toys, which will provide some familiarity and the smell of their former house.
3. Take them outside regularly
Take your dog outside regularly so they learn where the bathroom is. Dogs can be quite specific about where they relieve themselves, so make a few extra bathroom trips a day and give them plenty of time to find places they are comfortable in.
4. Get them into a routine
Choose your dog’s feeding and sleeping areas carefully and make sure you stick with them – dogs are creatures of habit so it’s important to get them into a routine as soon as possible.
5. Keep them on the lead
During the first few weeks at your new place, keep them on a lead when going out for walks. As soon as they build up confidence, you can let them run around local parks or other safe places.
6. Tell your old home’s new occupants
Although the risk is small, your dog may attempt to run away back to your old home if it’s nearby. Let the new occupants know that your dog may come back, and instruct them to not encourage your dog by feeding them, petting them, or letting them inside. Ask them to simply call you so that you can come and pick your pet up.
Moving house with dogs and cats
If you own a cat, as well as a dog, you’ll naturally want to ease the transition to a new home for your cat as well. Since cats are naturally territorial creatures who prefer familiar ground, they can be bewildered by moving and try to run back to their old home. With careful planning, and by keeping your cat indoors at first, you can minimise the stress of moving for your pet and reduce the risk of them running away.