New House, Old Dog: 9 Tips for a Safe and Stress-Free Move

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It doesn’t matter if you’re going down the street or across the country — moving is hectic. That’s doubly true for your four-legged family members, who don’t understand the intricacies of packing lists and mortgage rates. While some dogs coast through moving blissfully unaware, many dog owners find that moving puts their pet on edge.

That doesn’t mean you should stay put!  A new house can come with all kinds of pet-friendly perks, like a fenced yard, dog parks and a great neighborhood for walking.  However, there are some things dog owners need to consider before moving to a new home.

Before the Move

Knock these items off your to-do list when moving day is still several weeks away.

Schedule annual check-ups

Long before packing day arrives, pet parents should schedule a check-up with their local veterinarian. A wellness check is an opportunity to update vaccinations and prescriptions and get copies of your dog’s records.

Talk to your veterinarian about travel anxiety

Does your dog drool, shake, or vomit on long car rides? It could be car sickness but, in many dogs, these symptoms point to travel anxiety. While some dogs overcome travel anxiety with positive reinforcement, others require medication. Your veterinarian can recommend pheromones, anxiety medication, or even CBD dog treats to keep your dog calm in the car.

On Moving Day

These tips ensure Fido doesn’t get lost in the chaos.

Keep pets out of the way

Dogs underfoot on moving day is a recipe for an injury — or a lost pet. Crate your dog in a low-traffic area or hire a pet sitter through Walk and Wag to ensure your dog stays safe and secure. Don’t forget to set aside your dog’s food, water, treats, bed, and favorite toys! You’ll want these items accessible to keep your pet comfortable during and after the move.

Secure your dog in the car

Your dog may be fine in the car for quick trips across town, but moving is a different story. Make sure your dog stays safe (and out of the driver’s hair) by investing in a dog seat belt, travel crate or barrier. The best car restraint for you depends on vehicle type. While barriers and large crates are best for SUVs, hatchbacks and other roomy vehicles, sedan drivers need a smaller dog crate or dog seat belt.

Map pet-friendly pit stops

Road tripping looks different with a pet in the car. Look for grassy rest stops along your route where dogs can stretch their legs and use the bathroom. Dog owners can also use BringFido.com and GoPetFriendly.com to find dog-friendly hotels and restaurants. Temperatures climb to over 100 degrees inside a hot car even on mild days so, if you can’t find a pet-friendly place to eat, plan on taking your meal to go. Even if you make regular stops so your dog can eat, drink, and potty, you should also have a travel water bowl and food available in the car, especially in the summer.

Settling Into Your New Home

You finally made it! But the work’s not over yet.

Unpack pet items first

Before taking your first walk, let your dog know that this new place is home by unpacking dog beds, toys, and other pet items. Resist the urge to replace threadbare dog supplies just yet. The familiar scent of well-loved belongings helps your pet feel comfortable in a new space.

Add a fence

Installing a fence can prevent a nervous animal from escaping and allow your pup to enjoy the outdoors. You’re best off hiring a professional fence installer for this work as they’ll have all the necessary tools required, can guarantee quality, and will fully understand local laws.

Maintain your dog’s routine

It’s not easy finding time for walks and play time when you have an entire house to unpack, but sticking to routines provides the consistency that your dog needs during this transition. If your dog seems especially stressed by the move, squeeze in an extra exercise session. Remember: A tired dog is a calm dog!  If you’re spending a lot of time outdoors with your dog, make sure their flea treatment is up to date.

Stay home for a few days

If possible, stay home as much as possible for the first week after moving into a new house. This gives your dog time to acclimate to a new space and start feeling safe. Leaving dogs home alone too soon may lead to separation anxiety.  If you must leave, tire your pet out with a long walk first and leave toys for comfort and distraction.

You have enough to worry about on moving day without adding a lost or anxious dog to the mix. Make sure your dog stays safe, secure, and content through your move by planning ahead for your pet’s well-being.

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