Moving home is stressful enough for humans, with all the packing, and labelling the boxes, working out what to do with unwanted bits and pieces, but for those of us with four legged furry companions, like dogs, it’s even more difficult. Dogs are very astute creatures, and little disruptions in their environment can cause them to react in a negative way. Something with as much upheaval as moving is bound to be stressful and difficult for a dog, so here are 5 easy tips to keep things as stress-free for your canine companion possible.
- Start packing slowly. How does your dog react when you take your suitcase out of the cupboard to go on holiday? They know you’re leaving them, albeit for a few days, so seeing everything around them disappear into boxes is going to be tiring and scary for them. Pack slowly and consistently, a little bit every day, rather than in a mad rush all at once. This will provide stability, and get them used to the idea of moving.
- Routine. Dogs are creatures of habit, and love routine. Whilst things are may be stressful due to the move, taking your dog out for a walk every day at about the same time will help you de-stress (think of all the fresh air and the serotonin from the exercise!), and keep your pooch relaxed too. When you arrive at your new home, it’s important to try and stick to the routine as much as you can: food and walkies at as similar a time as possible. This will also help you to integrate into the local community, and help your dog make new doggy friends in your new area.
- Safety. Make sure that your dog has up to date injections and medical records on hand, as well as an accurate dog tag on their collar, with the right phone number. Many dogs do try to run away back to their old home (and get injured, or even die in the process), so at first, keep them on a lead outside the house.
- During loading and unloading: keep your dog in an empty room, with food, water, their favourite chew or a toy, and a comfy bed, with a sign on the door discouraging entry, so they are out of the way of the moving process, and are less likely to be concerned about what’s going on. The same goes for the unloading process. Get the dog into an empty room with the same set up: bed, bowl of water, food, and toys, and if needs be, a human they know in there too, just to pet them and help them calm down. This will help you to unload your moving van more efficiently, and give your dog time to get used to its new environment, and much needed love and cuddles, to help it unwind.
- Keep them calm. Regular exercise, as mentioned above will help to keep your pets calm and docile, which will help with the moving process. Another idea is to surround them with toys and things they find familiar, such as their favourite blanket or their bed throughout the moving process and one little tip that really helps to calm down over excitable, or anxious dogs, is to give them a little teaspoon full of clear honey. This really does help to calm them down, and make them more likely to sleep, either on the journey, or the first few nights in their new home.