For many, the idea of moving is a fun and exciting prospect that often comes on the heels of a major life event, such as a new job or the birth of a child. However, the furriest family members only know that things are changing, and while you can’t plan your life around your dog, there are a few things you can do to help your dog navigate your life throughout the days and weeks leading up to a relocation.
Before the move
Your dog knows that something is up. The familiar items they see each day start to disappear and brown boxes pile up in each corner. You are busy with moving day preparations: rearranging, cleaning, and weeding out unneeded clothing, shoes, and furniture. Your home becomes a flurry of activity, with strangers ranging from your realtor to your repairman showing up in your dog’s domain. Suddenly, you’re shampooing the carpet at midnight and wiping Fido’s paws every time he walks through the door. All of this can be confusing and may lead to uncharacteristic behavior. Help your dog stay at ease with these tips:
● Keep feeding schedules the same and don’t make any drastic changes to your dog’s diet.
● Exercise your dog regularly and provide plenty of attention. Added stress may to turn into pent up energy which, according to the Animal Humane Society, may translate into the destruction of the very home you’re trying to vacate.
● Maintain one area of your home to remain as close to normal as possible so that your dog has a safe space to retreat when things become overwhelming.
During the move
This is where things can get hectic quickly, even if you’re only moving a few miles away. Help your dog get through the move by providing yourself with all the tools you need for a successful exit strategy. These include:
● A reputable moving company. Moving is a highly technical process that requires finesse and attention to detail. And no matter how many times you’ve done it on your own, a few extra sets of hands – not to mention strong backs – will go a long way toward streamlining the process. Be mindful throughout in your moving company search and stick with those that provide upfront pricing, access to verified customer reviews, and background-checked laborers. Maintain an open line of communication with both your account manager and your movers on the day of the move. They may have policies in place for moves that involve animals and this can affect your quote. Make introductions at the beginning of the day so that the movers – and your dog -- have a chance to get acquainted. This is especially important for dogs who are fearful, aggressive, or inherently dislike men, which is surprisingly common.
● Identification, tags, and leashes/collars. You may trust your dog but there’s no guaranteeing that he or she won’t strike out on their own adventure if an opportunity – such as an open door or unguarded gate – presents itself. Make sure your dog’s tags are up to date. The American Veterinary Medicine Association recommend microchipping, which has proven itself valuable in reuniting lost pets and their families.
● Toys and bedding. While it’s a good idea to have a friend keep an eye on your pet until the truck is loaded, if he must remain by your side, keep an arsenal of beloved items on-hand. As your home empties out before his eyes, familiar smells, which VCA Hospital’s Dr. Lynn Buzhardt explains are the way dogs perceive the world, may keep him centered.
At the end of the day, the most important thing you can have is patience. Your dog will feed off of your emotions and the worst thing you can do is fuel his appetite for destruction. Keep calm and remember, your primary objective is to see that your entire family makes it through the move so that you can begin your new lives together.
Image via Pixabay
About the Author:
Cindy Aldridge is a freelance writer and dog lover. She started Ourdogfriends.org as a fun side project for herself and to educate pet owners and potential pet owners about how dogs can enrich our lives. She enjoys writing about dogs and pet ownership.