Dog moving anxiety is real. Your best friend can get quite distressed even before moving day approaches. Moving with your dog will probably stress them out, but if you follow this guide, you can ease their tensions and help cement their position as part of your family: no matter where you live!
Why Does Moving With A Dog Stress Them Out?
Dogs are creatures of habit: they like to be fed and walked at the same time and get used to adjusting to the family routine. As soon as things start to change – like when you prioritise sorting out your belongings over snuggle time, they start to sense the change coming. They might be familiar with the packing process from family trips or previous moves, but even if they don’t have “abandonment issues,” the question will usually plague their hearts: are they going to be left behind when you move home?
Before You Move House With Your Dog
Whenever I start pulling out the boxes before a house move, my dog is suddenly always underfoot. Well, more than usual. Her behaviour changes – if we’re particularly quiet, she comes to check we’re still there. When we take her for walks, she pulls us towards home early on. She comes for more hugs and pats, will lie down on my feet or sleep on top of our moving boxes. You don’t have to be a rocket-scientist to tell she’s worried we might leave her behind!
The best thing you can do is to keep reassuring them verbally and physically. You may not believe they can understand your words, but most people agree dogs can understand from your tone, from the hugs and from your attitude that you value them. They need reassurance that they are part of the family and most importantly: that they won’t be left behind.
On Moving Day
Whether big or small, dogs take their responsibility of guarding your property and person very seriously. It’s instinct. Even the most docile dogs, who greet home invaders at the door with licks and joy, may just turn into a mini-wolf if strange people start removing your furniture and their dog bed. Like, for example, when your friendly MetroMovers removalists show up on moving day.
So if possible, the best option for moving with a dog would be to take them to a friend or family’s house for the day. That will keep them out from underfoot. Your dog’s anxiety moving to a new home (especially after all the packing up), might still show, but it will go a lot easier for them if they don’t have to smell, hear or witness the movers breaking up their den.
Second best option would be to put them in a separate room, with their bed, food, water and a treat, that’s away from all the fuss. In this case, if your movers are okay with it, it might also be a wise to introduce your dog to your movers before the process begins. So your pooch can see that you’re okay with whatever follows.
Even if you’ve got a placid, easy-going dog, leaving them to run free around the house while your movers are carrying things out would be a bad idea. In the best case scenario, they can get distressed or get in the way while your movers are carrying heavy items. At worst, they could bite your mover, or get injured if someone trips over them while carrying heavy boxes or furniture.
Introducing Your Dog To Their New Home
Much like moving with little kids, moving house with a dog is a delicate, process. When they arrive at their new house, let them sniff around, explore and get to know the place. Lead them to where you’ve set up their bed, food and water and give them a treat, so they know they are welcome.
But also, now’s the best time to lay down the rules: if you don’t want them to go upstairs, stop them straight off when they try to climb up. If you don’t want them in the bedroom, tell them the first time they try to enter. Make sure they know the limits and rules of their new home. Don’t worry about restricting them: if you’re laying down the rules, it translates in doggy language to “I’m staying”!
Take Your Pooch For A Walk
I know it’s not your top priority when you’ve just moved house, but it would be a good idea to take your best friend on a walk to explore the area. Perhaps head to your nearest supermarket or milk bar for some essential groceries, or take a break and hit your nearest café to test the brew. Either way, the exercise will relieve some of your dog’s anxiety about moving to a new home. And familiarising them with the neighbourhood (and showing how to find their way back home) will help relieve some of their disorientation.
The Official Stuff
Registering Your Dog With Your New Council
And don’t forget: you need to register your dog if you’re moving in Melbourne or Sydney to a new council zone! In most inner city councils, you can register online. Just Google ‘registration for my dog in___’ and then add your council area. The right listing should come up. Then you just need to follow the instructions online to enter your details, your dog’s details, perhaps a photo of your fluffy friend, their microchip certification and any evidence they’ve been desexed/ immunised.
If it’s been less than 12 months since you last paid for your dog’s registration in another council area, you can try calling your previous council and ask them to send the paperwork over to your new council for a registration discount.
At worst, you might have to head in to the council office during business hours with all the paperwork to fill out a form in person.
Finding a New Vet Nearby
You might be happy with your old vet, but if you’ve moved a fair distance, you may not be happy to drive the distance every time your pet needs a check-up. But in the modern era of internet, finding a good, new vet is easy: just look for ‘vet’ in your Google Maps and a list of vets in your area should pop up. You can see their star ratings (ie. how happy other people have been with their services), open hours, phone number, specialities, reviews and even get directions to their clinic.