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Travelling can be pretty stressful, especially when there are pets involved. But with this guide, we are here to make it a lot easier with a laundry list of tips and tricks to reduce dogs’ stress when moving with pet dogs. So let’s not waste any more time; here is the first thing you can do to reduce dogs’ stress when moving.
1. Getting Them Ready For The Move
You can prep your dog for moving long before the actual day in several great ways. First, start getting them used to the car if they aren’t. In addition, you may want to re-acclimate them to their crate if it’s been a while, as it can come in handy if anything unexpected pops up. Crate training is a great way to train a dog and can also come in handy after the move!
Regarding training, now is an excellent time to go over the basic training commands with your dog, like sit, heel, stay, and come. You’ll also want to go over more advanced commands that teach them to focus on you, not the chaos around them or the neighbour’s cat.
If the place you’re moving to isn’t too far, consider taking your dog for walks in its future neighbourhood. Ensure your new neighbourhood/community has no dog restrictions that may prevent you from living there.
2. Give Your Dog A Break From The Moving Preparations
Not only can all the packing and the hustle and bustle of moving stress out your dog, but it can also be stressful for you. Moving day isn’t the safest for a dog between all the moving pieces, heavy furniture, open doors, moving vehicles, and people. Then, many dogs love being the centre of attention and can slow down the moving process by getting in the way.
That’s why having a friend, family member, or pet sitter watch your dog during the day of the move can be a great idea. It’s also an excellent excuse for the family or friend looking to get out of doing the heavy lifting.
3. Physical and Mental Exercise to reduce the stress of dogs while travelling
We know the big move probably have you slogged, and it’s okay to falter a bit, but make sure your pup is still getting their exercise and walks in. Mental stimulation can help a lot too, and it can be pretty easy to achieve when you lack time. Have hours of packing ahead? Before you start, ensure your dog has their favourite toy or a new one to play with. Puzzle toys are an excellent way to exercise your dog’s mind when you don’t have the time to get them some physical exercise.
4. Medical Anxiety Aids
Separation anxiety, noise sensitivity, and fear of strangers; the majority of dogs suffer from bouts of nervousness regularly. And between tearing up the house to pack for the long ride to settling into the new place, the moving process can easily flare up a dog’s anxiety.
But since moving is temporary, while many dog parents want to help their dogs with the stress of the move, they don’t want to start them on long-term medication. Many owners find success in reducing their dog’s anxiety with natural aids. In particular, CBD has been found to reduce anxiety across the board, providing up to six hours of anxiety relief with a single dosage.
Make sure you also familiarize yourself with the signs of anxiety, which include panting, pacing, barking, shivering, aggression, attempts to escape, and excessive licking.
5. Talking To Your Veterinarian
Unsure about using holistic aids for anxiety? Or do you think your dog’s nervousness may warrant something more substantial? Then talking to your veterinarian is a beautiful idea.
Your dog’s veterinarian is also a great source of invaluable tips and tricks for helping your dog during the move, so don’t be afraid to ask. It’s also the perfect time to have their microchipped, rechecked, updated, or just put in. If you’re using a landline for their emergency contact, change it to your new address if you’re separated from your dog during the move.
6. The Move
Between the motion sickness from the car ride to general nervousness and excitement, our dogs often can’t contain themselves during long moves. Or better said, they can’t contain their insides. That’s why reducing their daily feeding by about a third the night before and the day of the move is a brilliant idea. A full belly, nerves, and car rides don’t mix well.
Keeping yourself calm can go far in keeping your dog calm during the move, which we understand can be difficult. Nonetheless, our dogs are like sponges, and if we are having frequent outbursts in the car, then it’s likely our pups will.
For the ride to the new place, ensure your dog has a comfortable place to snuggle in, a toy for stress, and quick access to water. Also, a small treat or two during the ride can help.
Here is a guideline for travelling on Indian Railways with your pets.
7. Safety In The New Place
When arriving at your new place, keeping a close eye on them for the first few days is essential. You may want to casually follow your dog or show them around when you get to your new place.
Ensure all doors, windows, and other outside openings are secure. Press on your windows with a similar force your dog would use. And if you have a fenced-in yard, walk around it, inspecting closely for any openings or weak spots. Even with a fenced-in yard, you’ll want to have a close eye on them if they come across a neighbour’s dog or an unseen danger.
It’s essential to keep a close eye on open doors, and you may want to keep your dog in a crate again when you leave the house for the first few weeks.
8. Resuming Your Old Routine
Dogs and cats love routines, and keeping up their daily schedule as best in your new home is essential. This includes keeping walks, feedings, and other activities around the same time as you had them in your old place. Another great tip is not to wash their bedding before the move and for a week or so after. This will help them adjust faster and feel more comfortable in their new place. To help reinforce the quick adjustment to the new house, bring along most, if not all, of their old toys and objects they regularly interact with.
One place you can skip your routine — if you can — is taking the first few days off of work after the move to spend more time with your dog. This is also good advice for reducing stress, which is just as important!
How can I make sure my dog is comfortable during a car ride?
To ensure your dog is comfortable during a car ride, ensure they have a comfortable, secure spot to ride in, such as a crate or a dog seatbelt. Provide plenty of fresh water, and avoid feeding your dog a large meal before the trip. Additionally, consider taking frequent breaks to allow your dog to stretch their legs and relieve themselves.
Should I give my dog medication to calm them during travel?
This is a decision that should be made in consultation with your veterinarian. A variety of medications can help calm anxious dogs during travel, but they should only be used under the guidance of a veterinarian.
Can I bring my dog on a plane with me?
Many airlines allow dogs to travel in the cabin with their owners if they meet specific requirements, such as being small enough to fit in a carrier that can fit under the seat. However, it’s crucial to research airline policies and requirements and to prepare your dog for air travel ahead of time.
What can I do to prepare my dog for travel?
To prepare your dog for travel, gradually acclimate them to their crate or carrier by letting them explore it and offering treats and positive reinforcement. Take them on short car rides to get them used to the sensation of motion, and practice leaving them alone in their travel crate for gradually increasing amounts of time.
Should I bring my dog’s regular food and water on the trip?
Yes, it’s best to bring your dog’s regular food and water to avoid digestive upset. Pack enough food for the entire trip, and bring any supplements or medications your dog may need.
How can I help my dog adjust to a new environment during travel
To help your dog adjust to a new environment during travel, bring familiar items from home, such as their bed or a favourite toy. Stick to your dog’s routine as much as possible, including feeding and exercise schedules. Finally, be patient and give your dog time to explore and get comfortable in their new surroundings.