Moving house has been listed amongst some of the most stressful experiences for individuals, couples, and families. But what about your dog? Here's what to consider when moving house with your dog.
Moving house without a pet can be an incredibly stressful experience in itself. Add a dog into the mix and it's easy to become overwhelmed.
Not only is your dog likely to be highly confused about what is happening, they will also need to adapt to their new environment, including new routines. These changes for a dog can put a lot of additional pressure on any pet parent.
Here are some pointers to help you reduce any stress for both you and your dog when moving house.
Moving house with your dog
The first signs of anxiety in your dog may begin when they see the house slowly being packed up into boxes. The change in routine as you go backwards and forwards can be confusing for them, and signs of stress may show as they begin to worry about the changes taking place.
These stress signs can be observed as strange or abnormal behaviour from your dog. Although some dogs are naturally excitable, you may notice your dog runs, jumps, whines, howls, or wags their tail more than usual as the moving process unfolds. You will likely notice confusion to begin with, which may turn into one or more of these behaviours.
Tips for a smooth move
One idea is to leave your dog with a trusted person while you move house.
Depending on the relationship your dog has with this person or environment, this will likely cause less stress to your animal. It will also protect them from the stress of seeing their familiar environment change dramatically.
While your dog will still need to adjust to their new environment, it can avoid extending the period of stress for them.
If leaving your dog with a trusted person isn’t a possibility, ensure that you pay them extra attention during the moving process. Time will be tight for you as it is, but if you can take an additional couple of minutes on a regular basis more than you would normally, then your dog will appreciate and be comforted by the extra attention. A simple pet, cuddle, or quick game will work nicely. And if you get 30 minutes to put your feet up at the end of the day, a couch snuggle would be very happily received.
If your pet hides away in a corner, it's best not to try to coax them out. Some pets see moving house as a sign of abandonment and feel the need to hide away. Acknowledge that they are there, offer soothing tones and kind words, and when they do finally reappear, provide them with a lot of love and attention to reassure they are not being overlooked.
If your dog is naturally quite timid and scared of change, this might be another reason to try and leave your dog with a trusted person. Their stress in staying with someone they know will likely be less stressful for them than being in the house.
Settling into the new home
As your dog explores their new home, they will need to spend a little time finding their bearings. It's important during this time to be kind, and where possible, avoid over-punishment.
Smell is very important to dogs and is one of the key ways they understand the world. If you observe any new behaviour related to sniffing, it is perfectly normal. They are simply learning about their new environment.
Allocate a safe space in your new house for your dog to sleep and eat. He or she will soon understand that these are safe spaces that belong to them and they will begin to feel more comfortable there. Place their bedding, soft toys, food bowls, and any other familiar items of theirs in these places. This will help them to adjust more quickly.
When your dog seems to be settled, it is a good idea to help them get to know the area you live in. The same goes for the new outside world as the new inside world; it needs to be explored so they can become familiar with it. Go for walks, making sure to use a lead. If your dog gets lost in the new neighbourhood, they won’t necessarily have any reference points to help them find their way back again.
These walks are also the perfect time to play with your dog. This will help them to settle in, knowing that although their environment has changed, your love for them is still the same.
What was your experience moving house with your dog?