Planning a move? Whether it’s right down the street or across the world, a move is a big ordeal requiring lots of planning and preparation. Adding a pet into the mix can make for a few more brain cells used in the process. We have composed some things to consider for before, during, and after to make for an effective move and smooth transition for your pet.
BEFORE THE MOVE
As a type A personality, it gives me great joy to emphasize the benefits of planning ahead when it comes to moving, particularly with pets. This can be a high-stress time with a long agenda of to-dos and wrapping up loose ends. If you have pets, you not only have to coordinate yourselves, but also your fur children. Here are a couple of things to think about before the move.
Does your dog sense the move is happening? If Fletch sees our suitcases he usually stays close by, even more in our personal space than usual. Try to not get caught up in the checklist so much that you neglect to continue your dog’s routine. Animals, humans included, function with routine. If you normally feed your dog when you wake up and then take them on a walk, do so even during the phases of moving.
If you are within reach of your new destination, leave a blanket at the new house or take the dog around that area to get acquainted. Dogs sense of smell can be a benefit. The scents of your belongings can be carried over to the new place or have new smells introduced in the current environment to help ease your dog.
If the moving day is the first time your dog is at the new digs, think of the best place or situation for them. Do they act appropriately amongst strangers, such as movers entering and leaving the space? Is there access to a contained outdoor area where they can hang out? Maybe they would enjoy a doggie spa or play date. It may be nice to get your dog tired from romping with friends or have them bathed and groomed. Decide on which environment will be best for your dog while also allowing you to focus on the move. This is an important step for both move-out and move-in days.
Is your backyard fenced? Will your dog have access to all the things they had previously? Will they need a crate while you’re gone? This is something you need to take into consideration. For example, we recently moved and Fletcher now has a doggie door. I am already dreading the day we get to a new place without the door. One reason is we will likely have to train him to ring a bell again, and two, that means more work for us and less freedom for him. Strategize for how your dog will enter the new abode ahead of time.
DURING THE MOVE
As for move-out day prep, prepare for where your dog will be while the moving is happening. We are fortunate enough to have people help pack and move our belongings. When we, ourselves, are packing, we let Fletch hang around. Some people may say to crate your dog the whole time. In our experience, having Fletcher be a part of the process actually eased his mind. Once they were loading up the truck and the doors all stayed wide open, we had some sweet friends that took him for a couple of hours.
Have all of your dog’s things that they may need accessible. Similarly to having children, prepare for your furry companions. This could include their bed, a couple of favorite toys, medications they may need, and travel water/food bowls. We like to set aside one ziplock of food per day and then have an extra as back up. Keep these things in easily reachable places. I would suggest not having it even relatively near moving boxes for the off-chance it gets packed up.
ARRIVAL AT THE NEW CASA
Have the dog on a leash the first time entering the home. It would be nice to show them where they will spend their time, if that means a bed or crate that you can set up early on. Just like your old house, the dog’s routine should be established from day one, including lots of encouragement and positive reinforcement. Dogs need to establish their territory and become comfortable in a new space. Don’t be surprised if there is an accident or two during this transition.
There are lists of things to get done and set up to settle into your new place. If you can, have someone stay home with your pup instead of leaving them high and dry in a new environment. Our strategy is one person will grab food to fill the fridge/pantry along with other in-between things like cleaning supplies. The other person would be at home with the dog and unpack boxes. If left alone in a new place, Fletcher will anxiously tear something apart he finds on the counters. Once we figured the triggering circumstance, we adjusted our strategy.
Get established at a vet. The sooner the better. No one wants an unexpected trip to an animal hospital or vet they haven’t met because your pooch needs immediate attention. While it may not be on the forefront of your mind, make sure to add it to your list of providers just like the gas/electric/water/primary care.
Do you have any tips that helped with moving with your dogs? We will likely be moving again within the next two years and always welcome the opinions of others. Tell us your tips in the comments!
Hi! I’m Marleigh. I am a nurse, military spouse and proud human to @fletcher_the_pup. We are lovers of dogs and adventures, especially in combination. Fletcher is a shepherd mix who is a puppy at heart and loves being around others. His big ears only add to his even bigger personality. Fletch is definitely the most photogenic person in the family and we hope our experiences can bring some joy to other peoples lives.