Moving is hard. Even when you’re moving to a fabulous new home, there’s a lot that goes into the process—from planning and packing to unpacking and settling in. For people, moving to a new place fits within a context, a plan—and sometimes there’s a housewarming party that serves as a light at the end of the moving-day tunnel. For dogs, though, moving from a familiar place to somewhere brand new can be tricky. Luckily, for you and for Fido, there are some steps you can take to make the move as seamless as possible.
The first step is the simplest. You know that laundry you’ve been meaning to do before you pack your last box? Leave it. It’s got all sorts of familiar smells that will help your dog settle into his new home.
Before the move
As soon as you start boxing things up, your dog is probably going to sense that something is happening. During the sorting and packing process, put all of Fido’s things in one place. Unless he has a dog igloo or a full wardrobe, you should be able to move all his stuff with you, so he’s never too far away from his toys, regular food and water bowls and, of course, treats.
If you can, take the dog to the new place before the move. Let him get a sense of his new home (inside and out, if possible) and the neighborhood. If the move is long-distance, try to schedule some time after the move to spend with your dog. For the dog, home is really where you are, so the more time you can spend together in the new place before you head off to work or school for a full day, the better.
During the move
This is a great time to take Fido to say goodbye to his favorite sitter. During the move itself (packing things into your car or into a moving truck), doors will be open, strangers may be coming in and out, and people’s attention will be on getting things done quickly. This can be unsettling to any dog. If your dog has a regular sitter—or you have a pal who said, “Let me know what I can do to help with your move!”—schedule a few hours for the dog to spend out of the fray. If you need to find a sitter, I can highly recommend DogVacay.com, which offers overnight sitting and “daycare” by trusted, local sitters.
Whether you are taking a train, plane, boat or car, make sure that your dog has his regular food, a blanket, and a dirty piece of laundry from your old home—a big beach towel is perfect for this or, in a pinch, your dirty t-shirt. What may stink to humans is the smell of home for your dog.
After the move
Congratulations, you did it! You’re in your new home and Fido’s right there beside you. First things first: find a place for your dog’s food bowl and water bowl. As important as setting up cable is for us, having a regular spot for food and water is critical to dogs. Then, take a walk around the neighborhood.
By following these simple steps, you can alleviate a lot of stress for your four-legged best friend.
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