Furry friends truly transform our houses into homes. Who doesn’t love to be greeted by a wagging tail and a big, sloppy dog smooch?
But when it comes to moving, the excitement can overstimulate dogs and puppies, causing them undue stress and making your move difficult. In order to mitigate your dog’s anxiety levels, it’s best to adopt a pet-friendly moving strategy. Here are six tips for creating a healthy, calm environment for your puppy during this transitional period.
1. Surround your dog pup with creature comforts.
When packing, be sure not to box up your dog’s gear. Packing up her fluffy bed, favorite chew toys, and stuffed animals can send her into an emotional tailspin - especially if she’s a rescue puppy (some dogs associate the removal of their things with abandonment). Instead, consolidate all of her things into one corner - preferably somewhere with a gate or door - and let her play and relax while you pack up other items.
2. Consider the length of your move.
Are you moving out of state or across the country? For some pets, taking a low dosage of an anti-anxiety medication will make the car ride a painless experience.
Remember, you’ll also need to pack water, treats, and dog accessories, and take regular breaks to allow your pet to use the bathroom. Don’t forget the plastic dog-poo bags.
3. Be as consistent as possible.
Animals love routine. It helps makes them feel safe and nurtured. In all the hustle and bustle, it’s tempting to skip your regular trip to the dog park in favor of packing up kitchen appliances and utensils. But in the long run, it isn’t worth it. Leading up to the move, remember to find time to bond with your dog. If you are short on time, take a day off of work or enlist a friend to help you pack.
4. Consider hiring outside help.
Movers are a worthy investment because their presence allows you to focus on your furry companion during the moving process.
Plus, their professional expertise cuts down on moving time and frees you from driving the moving van yourself. After all, few things are more stressful than trying to steer an unfamiliar moving van while attempting to calm an anxious pup.
5. Decide on a game plan for your arrival.
With so many people coming in and out with furniture and boxes, it can be hard to keep track of your dog. Make sure to put your fur baby in a designated room, along with all of her favorite toys - and a bone for good measure. You don’t want her to accidentally escape in a new, unfamiliar place… especially if your new home sits close to a busy street.
If she seems unusually stressed, take a break and go for a walk. Or sit with her and stroke her fur. Remember, moving isn’t a race. Your dog’s wellbeing is more important than unloading the truck in breakneck speed.
6. Get back on track ASAP.
Once you’ve unpacked, get back into your regular routine as quickly as you can. If you usually go for early-morning walks, find a route in your new city and reinstate your ritual. It’s important to demonstrate to your dog that the move is merely a change of address - not a change of schedule.
7. Demonstrate your love through attention and care.
In the stress of moving, it’s easy to get so wound up in your own experience that you neglect to recognize the well-being of the most vulnerable members of our families - our pets. Keep in mind that dogs tend to take on the emotions of their owners, so your pet is looking to you for clues on how to adapt.
Take time to pamper and reassure your fur baby, maintain a structured routine, and create a moving game plan, and you’ll communicate your love and affection - and help your dog puppy to get acclimated to their new home.