How to get pet dogs through a house move
If you’re a dog owner, moving house comes with the added complication of keeping your beloved pet as happy, safe and settled as possible.
So how does moving house affect dogs, and what can you do to minimise the disruption for your pooch?
Disruption to routines
One of the biggest changes for your dog will be the lack of routine as familiar items in the home are boxed up, friends and family take on dog-walking duties, and their owners are generally feeling more stressed than usual.
Dogs love predictable routines, so it’s inevitable that the organised chaos of a house move will have an impact. Try to establish an interim routine, whether that’s going on walks at the same time each day or ensuring a predictable dinnertime. You should also keep hold of the dog basket, blanket and toys until the very last moment, so that they’re comfortable while there’s commotion all around them.
Time away from you
If your dog is particularly affected by the move, or is prone to bolting out of the front door and getting in the way as you pack, you may decide to put them in a kennel for a few days or even a week or more. Most kennels are experienced in looking after animals who are missing their owners and pining for familiar surroundings, so do your research and find a place that you and your dog are both happy with.
If you’re not putting your dog into kennels, choose a friend or family member to look after the dog on the day of the move, so you know someone is keeping a close eye on your pet while you get on with the business of packing, loading and clearing out your current home.
Travelling to your new home
If you’re moving long distance, remember that dogs can suffer from travel sickness just like humans. Try to avoid feeding them for a few hours before the journey, and take regular breaks so they can walk on the lead and relieve themselves.
If you’re unsure about how your dog will handle the journey, ask your vet for advice, and bear in mind you may need a cage for safe transportation.
Once you arrive at the other end, it’s important that you make sure they are as comfortable as possible. Unpack the bed and toys first, and place a bowl of water out for them along with some familiar items that might make them feel at ease.
After you’ve unpacked, it’s also a great idea to walk them around the garden on a lead, to make sure that they can’t escape through fences and boundaries, and that gates are secure enough.
Exploring the new house
After the move, your dog still may be hesitant about your new home, with all of the new sights and smells. Make sure you introduce a familiar smelling rug or dog bed as soon as possible, and keep them safe in one room with water, food and toys while you’re moving boxes into the house. If possible, take your dog on a few walks in your new area in the run up to the move so it’s not entirely alien.
Most importantly, don’t expect your dog to settle in immediately. Let them explore in their own time with you by their side for reassurance, especially for the first day or two when they’ll be feeling most anxious. If you’re worried about them escaping or even trying to find their way back to your old house, remember to update the contact information on their collar tag and microchip, including your new address and phone number.