Moving with a Dog? Here’s How to Ease Their Stress

Photo: Mysaell Armendariz

dog friendly house buyingThis guide is brought to you by one of the dog-lovingest realtors ever, Susan Bonne of Keller Williams (email or call 612.202.9133). Whether you’re a first-time buyer or simply looking for a change, Susan will work with Terrier-like focus to find the home that you and your four-legged BFF have been dreaming of. 

You searched for weeks — or months — for your new home, sniffing out amenities that will be perfect for you and your pups (mud room! fenced yard! big windows for squirrel watching!). As moving day approached you carefully packed up their toys, bones, and dog bed, imagining your pals wagging with glee when they first set paw in their new digs. All that’s left to do is hop in the C-A-R and let the joy of the moving experience overtake them, right?

If only! Moving — and all of the hustle-bustle and unfamiliarity it can entail — can be a stressful experience for even the most even-keel of dogs. And for anxious dogs who thrive on routine, it can be downright frightening. Fortunately, easy actions can make moving more pleasant for everyone.

We put our heads together with realtor Susan Bonne of Keller Williams to come up with a list of tips to give your dogs the best moving experience possible:

Keep safety in mind. Dogs in unfamiliar settings can be compelled to make a run for it (not to mention the flight risk posed by an open door as boxes come in and out). Well before moving day, make sure your dog is microchipped and that existing chips have up-to-date contact information. Same goes for collar tags. As you’re making trips back and forth from your car or home, secure your dog in her crate.

Pay a visit. If time and geography allow, bring your dog for a stroll around the new neighborhood ahead of your move. It’s a low-pressure opportunity for her take in some of the sights and smells of her brand new locale.

Take another day. This setup isn’t always possible, but it’s great if you can swing it: move in your belongings a day or two before you move in your four-legged BFF. You’ll have more time and attention to give your pup as you welcome him home.

Rely on daycare. Similarly, enlisting the help of your dog’s beloved daycare or dog sitter can be a peaceful alternative for your pup on moving day.

moving with dogs

When dogs buy houses. (Cartoon via Barkpost.)

Exercise can take the edge off. The adage “a tired dog is a happy dog” applies here. Spending some time getting those zoomies out can help your dog relax in her new space.

Look for ways to make it familiar — and positive. Make sure their dishes, bed, and other toys or comfort objects are easily accessible as soon as you get to the new place. Try setting them up in a low-key area with their favorite stuff when you arrive. (Editor’s note: My Brody has loved hanging out in the bathroom of an unfamiliar place — it’s like his own personal tornado shelter on moving day.)  A stuffed Kong or other toy can keep a dog’s brain and body occupied, but because you’re likely to be distracted, choose one that doesn’t require a lot of supervision.

Routine is key. In the early days of getting settled in your new home, stick to your pre-move routine as much as possible. Keep feeding times, daily walks, and evening cuddles as consistent as possible to minimize the effects of all of the other changes.

Tell us: If you’ve moved with your pup, how did they cope with the transition? What worked — or didn’t — to help them settle into their new digs?

Want to find a new home that your dog will drool over? Res rou do! Get in touch with Susan Bonne of Keller Williams today (email or call 612.202.9133).

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