5 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)
If you follow my blog frequently, you probably know that I recently moved 20 hours away from my old home. It was a big change, but it ended up being a great thing for me and my family. So, I wanted to give some tips to my fellow dogs out there that are scared of moving. And, of course, I have tips for all the dog parents out there too.
Signs Your Dog is Stressed About Moving
Some dogs get stressed an anxious very easily. My brother Taco is one of those dogs. Change can be scary for a dog because we have no control over new situations. Therefore, it’s common for a new move to stress out your dog.
Your dog might notice something is out of the ordinary as soon as you start packing. For me, this is always an indicator that something is about to happen. If your dog starts to get worried about the upcoming move, you might notice some of the following stress symptoms:
- Tail between legs
- Excessive licking
- Excessive itching
Your dog might also want to be near you as much as possible. They might get more anxious when you leave them alone and they could develop destructive behaviors. Every dog reacts differently to new situations, so it’s important to just keep an eye out for unusual behaviors in your dog.
How to Help Calm Them Down
If you’re moving to a place that’s nearby, it’s a good idea to let your dog visit the area beforehand. Walk them around their new neighborhood and let them take in all the new smells. That way, they’ll be familiar with the new place before they move.
However, if you move long distance like I did, then that’s not possible to do. Luckily, there are other things you can do to help.
Dogs can pick up on little changes. For example, whenever Molly pulls out her suitcase, I know we’re going somewhere. So, seeing you pack might scare your dog. Therefore, you should slowly ease your dog into the packing phase.
Start by pulling out some boxes and bags, and just leave them sitting there at first. Give your dog some time to sniff them on their own without any added stress. Then, slowly start packing a few things at a time. Allow your dog to sniff the boxes to help them feel more comfortable. If you rush and pack everything within a day, that might be too sudden for your dog.
Keep a Consistent Routine
Even though things might be changing in your routine as you prepare for your move, you should keep things consistent for your dog. Continue to feed them at their regular times and take them for regular walks as if nothing is different.The less change they have to experience, the better.
Provide Them Plenty of Entertainment
Dogs often worry more when they have nothing to keep them occupied. As you pack, make sure you still spend plenty of time playing, training, and exercising with your dog. Find ways to keep them busy so they don’t just sit around worrying. A great way to do this is to give them mental stimulation toys, such as toys with treats inside. These always keep Taco and I occupied for a while!
The Trip to Your New Home
If you’re moving long distance, the trip to your new home might be a tricky one, especially if your dog doesn’t like car rides. Before you leave on your trip, you should talk to your vet if you’re concerned about your dog. They might be able to recommend something to give your dog to help them relax.
Before you put your dog in the vehicle, make sure they had plenty of time to exercise first. Take them for a longer walk and make sure they’re given plenty of opportunities to use the bathroom. That way, they’ll likely nap during most of the trip.
When you get in the vehicle, whether you’re driving your regular car or a moving truck, you should make sure your dogs are secure in the vehicle. Keep them in a carrier or find a way to tether them inside. This can keep them safe in the event of an accident and it can prevent them from distracting you.
Make sure you have water accessible for your dogs throughout the trip and make sure they still get their regular meals. Also, make sure you make plenty of stops along the way to let your dogs relieve themselves and get a little exercise. Do whatever you can along the way to keep your dogs as comfortable as possible. Depending on the length of the trip, you might need to find a dog-friendly hotel along the way too.
How to Get Them Comfortable in Their New Home
Some dogs might be able to adjust to a new home right away, but others might need some time to get used to it. Here are some things you can do to help your dog learn to love their new home.
Continue Old Routines
The location might be different, but that doesn’t mean everything else has to be. Try to maintain a schedule that closely resembles your old one as soon as you move. That way, the new location won’t be too drastic of a transition for your dog.
Keep Old Supplies
A new house seems like the perfect excuse to buy new things too. However, when it comes to dog supplies, you might want to wait a bit. We love things that smell familiar because they’re more comforting for us. So, try to keep some of our favorite old supplies until we get used to our new home. Specifically, don’t get rid of your dog’s bed or favorite toys because those likely still smell like their old home.
Spend Lots of Time with Them
Being left alone is sad enough for any dog, but being left alone in an unfamiliar place is even scarier. If your dog has separation anxiety, then you should try not to leave them alone in the new house right away. Spend as much time with them as you can and show them lots of love. That way, they can recognize their new home as a positive place. Also, make sure they get plenty of time to explore the house to help them get used to it.
Moving to a new place is a big deal for anyone, especially for your dog. So, be patient and show your pup lots of love along the way. Knowing that you care about them is the best way to help a dog feel happier during unfamiliar times.
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