Let’s be honest, traveling can be quite stressful, especially when there are pets involved. But with this guide, we are here to make it a whole lot easier with a laundry list of tips and tricks to reduce the stress of dogs when moving with pet dogs. We are breaking down all these great tips into the 8 big stages that go into moving with your dog.
So let’s not waste any more time, here is the first thing you can do to reduce the stress of dogs when moving.
1. Getting Them Ready For The Move
There are several great ways you can prep your dog for moving long before the actual day. First, start getting them used to the car if they aren’t. In addition to that, 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 come in handy after the move too!
Speaking of training now is a good 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 and not the chaos around them or the neighbor’s cat.
If the place you’re moving to isn’t too far, consider taking your dog for some walks in their future neighborhood. Make sure your new neighborhood/community doesn’t have any 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 hustle and bustle of moving stress out your dog, but it can also be stressful for you. Between all the moving pieces, heavy furniture, open doors, moving vehicles, and people, moving day isn’t the safest for a dog. Then, many dogs love being the center of attention and can slow down the moving process by getting in the way.
That’s why it can be a great idea to have a friend, family member, or pet sitter watch your dog during the day of the move. It’s also a great excuse for the family or friend that’s looking to get out of doing the heavy lifting.
3. Physical and Mental Exercise to reduce the stress of dogs while traveling
We know the big move probably has you slogged, and it’s completely ok to falter a bit, but make sure your pup is still getting their exercise and walks in. Mental stimulation can really help out a lot too, and it can be pretty easy to achieve when you’re lacking time. Have hours of packing ahead? Before you start, make sure your dog has their favorite toy, or better yet, a new one for them to play with. Puzzle toys are an awesome 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 on a recurring basis. 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.
As well, make sure you familiarize yourself with the signs of anxiety, which include panting, pacing, barking, shivering, aggression, attempts to escape, and excessive licking. Some studies have found nearly 3 out of 4 dogs regularly experience anxiety.
5. Talking To Your Veterinarian
Unsure about using holistic aids for anxiety? Or do you find that your dog’s nervousness may warrant something stronger? Then talking to your veterinarian is a wonderful 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, make sure to change it to your new address in case you’re separated from your dog during the move.
6. The Move
Between the motion sickness from the car ride to just general nervousness and excitement, often during long moves, our dogs can’t contain themselves. Or better said, can’t contain their insides. That’s why it’s a smart idea to reduce their daily feeding by about a third the night before and the day of the move. 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, make sure 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 really help.
7. Safety In The New Place
When arriving at your new place, it’s important to keep a close eye on them for the first few days. You may want to casually follow your dog around or show them around when you first get to your new place.
Ensure all doors, windows, and any other openings to the outside are secure. Make sure to press on your windows with a similar force your dog would use. And if you have a fenced-in yard, take a 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 in case they come across a neighbor’s dog or an unseen danger.
It’s important 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 it’s important to keep up their daily schedule as best you can in your new home. This includes keeping walks, feedings, and other activities around the same time as you had them in your old place. Another great tip is to not 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 normal 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 your stress, which is just as important!