Moving With Your Dog: Tough Adjustment or Eager to Explore?

Dog in Box Moving Day

Are you moving with your dog? We’re moving tomorrow.

And yes, I’m procrastinating by working on my website instead of cleaning and packing. I just can't face the boxes right now.

We’ve moved a lot in Baggins’ life, from New Orleans to Upstate NY, to Doylestown, PA and now Philadelphia.

When I start packing boxes or even just bring out the suitcases, Baggins starts watching me and gives me a look, that says, “uh oh, again?”

Luckily, he’s easygoing and adjusts pretty easily to new spaces but first he has to fly through at top speed sniffing every corner. Then he barks excitedly, wants to go out and explore the neighborhood.

We took him to the new house last weekend and he did just this. Then he wanted to go out exploring some more but we were hanging curtains. Bad timing. Luckily, we could open a back door for him to sit in the alley. There, he could smell the smells, enjoy the afternoon sun and meet the dog next door. He settled down pretty quickly.

moving day

But tomorrow is the big move.

And there are ways you can make moving with your dog a little easier and hopefully, less stressful.

I’ve made arrangements for him to stay with friends most of the day, both to soothe his anxiety level (he’ll have familiar dogs to hang with) and so he won’t get in the way of the actual moving. Baggins doesn’t understand the concept of staying a safe distance when people are carrying heavy furniture…

He’ll be fine in the new space, especially once all the stuff is in and he gets to explore the neighborhood more.

But, I know many dogs don’t respond as well to change. If soothing pets, a couple of treats and walking the neighborhood don’t help, esp. in situations like a new move or a lengthy stay in new surroundings, there are some ways you can help your pet adjust.

Calm Your Dog In a New Home

Moving with your dog can be simple, most dogs just want you to be with them. But here are some things you can do to make moving with your dog a little easier.

  • Choose a spot for your pet’s bed or crate and set it up first so there’s something familiar when they come in.
  • Include a soft shirt or towel for them to lie on, best if it smells like you!
  • Put his/her food dishes down with water and food.
  • If your move is local, take your pet to the neighborhood to walk around before your move. We did this a few weeks ago with Baggins. There should be some familiar smells to him. Go inside the new space if possible. This way it won’t be completely new on moving day.
  • If your pet is still nervous, you may want to try a soothing smell like lavender. I’ll try the refresher spritz tomorrow night.

  • You can spray a lavender scent in the air
  • burn a lavender candle
  • try a lavender scent on your pet like these shampoos and refresher spritz by Botanical Dog lavender refresher spritz

    You can spray the spritz in the air near your dog if he or she is afraid of the “Spritzing” sound.

    I’ve found some animals may be alarmed by the “spraying” sound initially but once they realize its accompanied by a massage from you, they relax. The lavender scent is calming, and may contribute to relaxation, less fatigue, stress, anxiety and nervous tension, in people and pets! You could spritz it in the air and while petting your dog and come closer slowly with the spritz.

  • If your dog is really resistant to change, try the healing power of flower essences, a powerful force that uses vibrations (really) and essential oils to do it’s job. It’s safe and natural and works!

    Moving Day

    On Moving Day:

  • Make sure your pet is secured. Preferably somewhere he or she feels comfortable. Can your pet stay with a friend during the moving out/moving in?
    Or will he be calm in a crate? With doors propped open and heavy stuff being moved in and out, it’s not safe for a dog to be running in and out and “helping”. Or getting very anxious, see above. There’s enough anxiety with a move…

  • Make sure your pet’s tags are current and include a cell number in case he does get out! Also, make sure to have tags with the address for the new place ready to go on.

  • Is there a yard with the new home? Is it fenced? If so, check it thoroughly for holes or tears before letting your pets run off leash. You don’t want anyone making an escape!

  • Moving with your dog shouldn't be too much more complicated than moving without a pet but by following a few precautions, you can make the transition smoother.

    Do you have any additions or comments on your experiences with moving with your dog and getting your pet settled into his/her new place? If so, drop me a line.

    Good luck and happy moving!

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