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Moving With a Dog: How to Help Your Dog Adjust to a New Home

Your dog may not be able to help you pack and carry boxes, but that doesn’t mean they have to make moving even harder. Read on to learn more about making a smooth transition to a new home with pets in tow.


Writer Animalia Team

moving with my dog

Nobody likes moving. Saying goodbye to one home and hello to a new one isn’t just emotionally taxing. There’s plenty of packing, hauling, and unpacking to ensure the process is just as physically demanding. Add a dog to the mix and things can become all the more stressful. Dogs aren’t much help with boxes and many will struggle to adjust to unfamiliar surroundings.

Dogs are creatures of habit. Even minute changes in their routines can cause anxiety, confusion, and even fear. It is important to provide your dog with the necessary support and guidance to help them adjust to the new home as quickly and easily as possible. 

Plan ahead to avoid unpleasant surprises. With patience, understanding, and loving care, you can seamlessly (or with minimal seams, at least) help your pup transition to their new home.

Things to do before you move with a dog

To make the process easier for everyone, familiarizing your dog with all the moving supplies they’ll encounter ahead of time is critical. This will help create a positive association with the experience and reduce their anxiety on the big day.

Start by:

  • Introducing your pup to all the boxes and containers you’ll be using to pack your things. Encourage your dog to explore so that they can become comfortable with the new environment. If they love playing in boxes, why not let them sit inside the one that’ll soon carry kitchen or living room essentials.
  • Prepare for the trip to your new home by introducing your dog to the moving van or whatever vehicle you’ll be using. If possible, take a few trips around the block with them before the actual move. 
  • Finally, making the move as comfortable as possible for your pup is important. Stock the car with water, food, and some of their favorite toys and other comforting possessions. Plus, plan to take plenty of breaks along the way.

Things to do while you pack and prepare for the move

It’s important to keep your dog’s mental and physical health in mind throughout the packing process. Provide interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and some of their favorite treats to keep them occupied while you sort and pack. 

Give your dog some alone time in their favorite space to minimize stress. This could be a cozy bed, their crate, or any other area of the house. This will give your dog a sense of security and help them cope with the changes that inevitably come with moving. 

Make sure to disrupt their usual routine as little as possible and wait to pack favorite items your dog might especially miss. Keep their bed, toys, and other items in familiar places and try to avoid packing them until you absolutely have to. Finally, make sure your dog is wearing their collar with proper identification when you move. This will help ensure that if your dog gets lost or confused, they can be reunited quickly and safely.

Tip: If your pup is particularly anxious during the moving process, speak to your veterinarian about safe options to keep them calm. 

Helping dogs adjust to their new homes

It’s a good idea to keep your dog on their regular routine as much as possible to help them adjust to its new environment. This means sticking to the same feeding and walking schedule that you already have in place and providing plenty of love and affection to smooth over any anxiety. 

10 million dogs are lost each year and moves are often to blame. Make sure your dog is microchipped and registered before you head out to your new home.

Furthermore, it’s also important to take the time to explore and get them familiar with the sights, sounds, and smells of their new home and neighborhood. Take them for walks around the block, visit nearby parks, and let them soak in everything about their new environs. Such a strategy will help them to feel comfortable and secure in their new home.

moving with your dog

Other steps you can take to ease your dog’s transition and ensure they adjust to their new home include:

1. Set up a new comfortable space for your dog

If you want to set up a comfortable space just for your dog after moving into a new home, there are a few things to consider:

  • First, decide where the space will be located. Make sure it’s in a quiet area, away from foot traffic and other potential distractions. You’ll also want to give your pup plenty of room to play and explore.
  • Once you have a spot chosen, start furnishing your dog’s space. Get a cozy bed and some toys to make it as comfortable as possible. Make sure the bed is large enough for your pup to stretch out as they slumber.
  • Consider adding a few homey touches like a blanket or a basket of tasty treats to make the space truly feel like home.
  • Let them know that this is a safe space and that they can always come here for some quiet time.

2. Keep familiar furniture around

Keeping some familiar furniture in your home can help ease your pet’s transition and make them feel more at home. It’s especially important to keep items your dog is used to sleeping on or spending time around. This could be a favorite couch, their old bed, or even the usual curtains. It’s also a good idea to bring along some of their favorite toys so they have something to keep them occupied. 

3. Avoid visitors at first

After all the paperwork is done, the moving van is unpacked, and you’ve settled in a bit, you may feel the urge to invite friends and family over to show off your new place. But before you start hosting visitors for a housewarming party, there are a few things to consider. 

Moving with your dog can be a stressful experience, and they may need some time to get used to their new environment. Inviting visitors over before your pet has had a chance to explore their new home can add unnecessary stress. 

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the farthest a dog has traveled to reunite with their owner is about 2,000 miles. Jimpa, a Labrador Retriever and Boxer mix, traveled this distance across an unforgiving stretch of Australian terrain and was found in his former home. He’d been lost while moving with his owner to work on a sheep farm.

Be patient and understanding with your dog

To ensure a smooth, low-stress transition, it’s important to be patient and understanding. Dogs, like humans, need time to adjust to change and adapt their usual routines to new surroundings. During a move, it’s perfectly normal for your pup to become anxious or overwhelmed. 

Provide your dog with plenty of love, reassurance, and positive reinforcement. If possible, soothe them with a familiar item that smells like home, like a blanket or toy. If they start to act out, take a step back and give them some space. 

Wherever you and your pet call home, Animalia pet insurance helps cover the cost of care. Get a quote today to learn more.  


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