Joanne Patrick, My Family Pet vet and Senior Clinical Director at Park View Vets in Lincoln, shares some handy advice on how to keep the process of moving house as stress-free as possible for dogs…
Moving house is exciting, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s also incredibly stressful, not least for our furry, four-legged companions. They don’t know what’s going on; all they see is their environment changing – and boxes, boxes everywhere!
But there are steps you can take to keep their minds at ease…
Make sure you plan ahead
I’d always say make sure your dog is up to date with their vaccines or boosters, flea and worm treatments and any other medications well before you go. Ideally, you want to arrive at your new place with plenty of time to choose a new vets, not to be rushing the process because your dog hasn’t had their flea tablets for a few weeks.
Even if you’re staying local, make sure you have your dog’s microchip details changed too so they’re registered to your new address.
Think about getting help from a relative or using BorrowMyDoggy
It might be a better option for all involved if your dog can stay with your friends or relatives or with a BorrowMyDoggy borrower during the actual period of the move – especially if they’re naturally flustered by boxes, noises, strangers and all of the other exciting aspects of moving house. Just something to think about.
Get your dog as used to their crate as possible
They may sleep in there every night without fail, they may not have even seen it for months on end… Either way, your dog will doubtless be spending lots of time in their crate during the move. They’ll be a lot happier if they’re used to being in there, so try introducing (or re-introducing) it to them well in advance of your moving date.
If you’re stuck, start by placing toys and treats in there. This will encourage them to think positively about their crate and to venture inside voluntarily.
Nominate a ‘pet room’ in your old house and new house
Begin using the pet room a few weeks before you leave. If you can, use the room furthest away from where the noise is likely to be. Fill it with toys, treats and all things nice. On the day of the move, keep your dog there (making sure to check on them regularly of course). Move them out of it once everything else is unpacked and ready to go.
When you get to the new house, it’s the same in reverse order. Get your pet and all of their goodies into the pet room first, and begin unpacking once they’re safely placed – again, checking up on them regularly. If you’re a large family, you could nominate one person to stay with your dog during the whole process.
Particularly anxious dogs may benefit from a calming product, such as a diffuser or Vetpro: Stress & anxiety.
Stick to your normal routine
For the first few weeks, try to keep every aspect of your dog’s life as close as possible to how it was before:
- House rulesI
- Walking and feeding times
- Walking route (if you’re moving locally)
- The room you keep their bed in
- Their toys and blankets (try not to wash them right away, that way they’ll keep their familiar smell)
They’ll settle in before you know it, and then it’ll be time for pastures new! Perhaps start by introducing them to your new neighbours.