Moving house can be both an exciting and stressful time for everyone, and that includes your dog too. Owners often worry about potential problems once in a new place but its important not to overlook the move itself. Think about the effect the process might have on your pet, then you can take steps to make it as hassle free as possible.
Dogs in particular get very attached to the familiar and so can become concerned or unsettled if this appears to be disrupted. This means that the days leading up to and the day of the move could potentially upset your dog, who will quickly pick up on changes in smells and surroundings and become aware that something big is happening. The best way to help tackle this is to keep their daily routine as normal as possible – take breaks from packing to go for your usual walk and maintain mealtimes, you may even find you’re glad for the time out too! No doubt your normal routine involves affectionate time and cuddles with your pet, so make sure this doesn’t get missed out. Your dog will need extra attention if they’re feeling anxious and ignoring them may only heighten their anxiety. If you think you might struggle to do this, then consider putting your dog into kennels or leaving them with a friend or family member for at least the day of the move itself, to give you peace of mind that they’re being looked after.
For those times in between walks and meals, when you’re busy sorting and packing, it’s a good idea to put your dog in one room of the house that they’ll be able to remain in safely without getting out. This way you won’t have to worry about them getting in people’s way or witnessing all the upheaval. Be mindful, however, not to choose a room they aren’t used to going in as this could alert them to the fact that something may be up. Why not put one person in charge of looking after your dog during the day of the move? Then you can rest assured they’re being looked after and that someone is regularly checking on them. What’s more, it might be a good job to delegate to keep someone busy and out of your hair!
During the journey to your new home, let your dog travel with someone familiar and maintain any usual routine you have for car journeys. Taking your dog in the moving van could be distressing for them, and make the journey stressful for you both. Once you arrive at your new house, try to keep your dog in one room again to prevent them from escaping or becoming overwhelmed by the new surroundings. Set them up with their bed, and any blanket or favourite toys as familiar objects and scents will help to reassure them and provide some comfort. Then, once you have things sorted, help introduce them to the new place. It will be a lot to take in, so it’s best to stay with them while they begin to explore and get used to the new environment, and before you know it they’ll feel settled and at home in no time!
Another way of managing your dog’s anxiety during stressful events like this is to consider a DAP diffuser or a DAP collar. DAP are ‘dog appeasing pheromones’ which are used to keep your dog calm under stressful situations and can be a good option for more extreme cases.