Moving is not stressful for just you and your family — it’s also stressful for your dog. Moves are also times when dogs get lost. So much happens that the owner doesn’t realize that the dog has wandered off. In July of 2020, a four-year-old Labrador retriever named Cleo walked 57 miles from his new home back to the old one. Not all dogs that try to get back to their old homes are so lucky.
Get A Doggy Grab Bag Together
Make a special, portable bag just filled with things the dog needs if staying with someone else during the move or if you and your dog stay at a dog-friendly hotel. Make it a bright-colored bag so it can be easily seen among stacks of boxes. Put in it the dog’s medical records, extra leashes, extra collar, food, bowls, toys, treats, and, if necessary, medication.
How Are You Moving the Dog?
There are about 35.5 million people in America that move in many ways, from hiring professional movers to cramming what they can into a station wagon. The safest way to transport a dog is by having the dog stay in a crate. Crates are required if you plan on traveling by airplane. It’s best to get your dog used to a crate at least three months before the move.
Does your dog get carsick? Does your dog bark or howl incessantly in the car? Moving day is not the day to find out. Take your dog for long car rides to see the reaction. Talk to your vet about medication to help with carsickness, barking, or howling. Test these medications with practice rides before moving day to make sure they work.
Before Moving Day
You will have a million things to do to prepare for the move. Do not forget to prepare for your dog. Get new tags made with the dog’s new address, so if the dog gets lost, the information on the collar is accurate. Get your dog microchipped. Lost dogs with microchips have much better chances of getting back home than dogs without microchips. If your dog is already microchipped, contact the microchip company to update your information.
Get your dog used to the moving lifestyle by seeing moving materials about, such as boxes, packing tape, and bubble wrap. This way, the dog will be used to seeing these things when in the new home. About 10% of American households rent at least one self-storage unit. If possible, bring the cartons of belongings home before moving so your dog is used to large amounts of stuff.
With all of the hustle and bustle, not to mention doors being left open, it’s best to have your dog stay somewhere else for the day or night, such as a trusted friend’s place or at a good kennel. Pick up the dog when your old home has been emptied. You can pick your dog up when you are ready to make the actual final drive or flight to your new home.
If you are moving only a couple of hours away, have a friend or hired pet-sitter take the dog and the grab-bag for the day. Have that person give your dog plenty of exercise. Even the average Goldendoodle needs about 20-30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day. Pick up your dog and make the drive to the new home when your dog is tired. Tired dogs are usually too tired to misbehave.
Making Moving Seem Normal
Dogs react to changes in their routine. Some dogs love it, but some are scared by it. If you are stressed out by moving, your dog will pick up on that and become stressed out, too. Start planning for the move months in advance, and you won’t be so stressed on the actual moving day. Your dog will also have time to get used to things like crates and long car rides. Familiar things will reduce a dog’s stress levels.
Moving can be stressful for the whole family, both two-legged and four-legged, so make sure that you’re putting thought into making sure your dog is ready for the move. With these steps and by using tricks that you know work with your pup, you can make the move easier on everyone.