Tips for Moving with a Dog

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If you own a dog, your move just got a bit more complicated. Your furry friend has gotten used to their surroundings and change can be tough. The good news is with some preparation and patience, you can make the transition smooth and relatively stress-free. Here are some tips for navigating through the “before,” “during” and “after” phases of moving with your canine companion. 

Before You Move  

Do the Prep Work 

Dogs are creatures of habit and when you take them out of their routine their stress level is bound to soar. Our advice? Prepare them for the move well in advance. For example, if your dog’s not used to traveling by car, take them on a few short trips using a dog carrier. It’s also a good test to see whether they’re prone to motion sickness and need medication. 

Speaking of medication, reach out to your dog’s veterinarian ahead of time for medical records. Also ask that any medications or prescription foods be renewed. Make sure your dog’s ID tag has your new address and contact info. And if you haven’t already done so, this could be a good opportunity to have your pet microchipped and make sure it has your up-to-date info.  

A special shout-out to renters: Many leases contain a “no pets” clause. That said, if you’re upfront about it with your landlord there’s a good chance they’ll cross it off the agreement. It’s always a good idea to get this cleared up ahead of time — chances are they’ll find out eventually anyway. 

Ease Into It 

If possible, assemble your moving materials — especially boxes — well before you start packing. Leave the boxes where your dog can see and get used to them without affecting their ability to play, take a nap or eat. Do your best to keep your home looking “normal” as long as possible. Get rid of trash as well as any used wrapping materials and tape dispensers. Also be sure to organize boxes and cleaning supplies regularly.  

Moving Day  

Make Your Dog Feel Safe and Comfortable  

On moving day, take your dog for an extra-long walk before the movers arrive. It will help tire them out and they’ll be less jumpy and skittish. Keep your pet in a separate room away from movers and moving equipment and give them treats and toys to help distract them. Avoid shouting or yelling. Instead, give affection and praise to keep them at ease. 

Prepare for the Journey   

Make sure you have essential supplies for your dog before you set out. A crate or carrier large enough for them to stand up and turn around in is a must-have. If you’ll be flying, the crate should be approved by the Travel Safety Administration. 

Other items you’ll need include the following: 

  • Portable food and water dishes 
  • Your dog’s leash, collar and updated ID tag 
  • Enough pet food, water and medication to get through moving day plus a couple of extra days in case there’s an unexpected delay  
  • Familiar items like their favorite toy or blanket  
  • A dog first aid kit which should also include their microchip number, health records and any medications  

Have a “Landing Strategy” in Place 

Once you arrive, confine your dog to one room away from the commotion, especially if they seem agitated. Consider keeping them in their carrier or kennel and put on calming music to mask loud noises. Make sure there aren’t any unsecured doors or windows your dog can escape through. Give them breaks outside when possible and always use a leash.  

After You Arrive 

Help Them Get Acclimated 

Helping your dog adjust will take time and patience but there are also things you can do to make the transition easier. Once you’re in your new home, gradually introduce your dog to each room while giving them treats and praise. Let them sniff around and get familiar with their new environment. It lowers the possibility of them getting spooked or even running off.  

Guard Their Safety 

New neighborhoods come with different animals, plants and other things your dog will probably want to explore. Stay alert and keep your dog away from anything you’re not sure about, including other people’s pets, local wildlife, trash receptacles and plants/shrubs with which you’re not familiar. 

Ensure Their Wellbeing 

Even doggies get the blues and dog depression can be a real issue once you’ve settled in. Chances are it’s a short-term condition, but if symptoms like hiding, lethargic behavior or a lack of interest in activities your pet usually enjoys persist for more than a couple of weeks, consult a vet.  

Is There a Move in the Works?  

Why not let the professional movers at United Van Lines take care of the heavy lifting? United’s full-service moving packages provide flexibility to mix and match the services you want and need, from packing and unpacking to standard furniture placement.     

Get a quote from United Van Lines today.     

Do you need help settling in? Check out our other blogs for moving tips and packing advice, as well as city guides and a wealth of other helpful, time-saving information.  

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