Keep your canine calm: Tips for a dog-friendly moving day

It seems as though there are countless things to do on moving day. Making sure everything you own is packed and boxed up is just one step among many. You have to see that pieces of furniture wind up in the right rooms, pack an overnight bag, make sure you have keys to your new home, and do a final walk-through in your old house so nothing gets left behind. There’s one more very important thing to take care of: if you’re a dog owner, you need to make sure your furry friend’s needs have been provided for ahead of time.

Planning Ahead

By the time moving day rolls around, you need to have checked out the zoning laws and regulations in your new community and gathered the paperwork you need to get your dog licensed. While licensing your dog is mandatory in some communities, it can also dramatically increase the chances of getting your pup back should he escape. Once you’ve done all of that, moving day can be simple as long as you think through what’ll be taking place on the big day. Consider that there will be a small army of movers tromping in and out of your house, making lots of noise and carrying large objects. That’s a lot for your dog to deal with all of a sudden, even if he’s not of a nervous disposition.

Under the circumstances, it may be a good idea to leave your dog with a neighbor, friend or family member (preferably someone he knows well). Another possibility is a kennel or doggie day care, though you’ll incur costs if you go this route. Once you’ve arrived at your new home, unpack Rover’s favorite toys, sleeping blanket, and other items that have familiar smells to get the settling-in process off to a good start. In particular, take care that your pet is secured when you get to your new residence; make sure doors and ground floor windows are closed, and don’t remove his collar and tags in case he gets loose.

Home sweet home

Dogs love to follow their nose, to explore new surroundings and boundaries. That’s why you need to “dog-proof” your new home to avoid accidents. Check for any loose electrical cords, remove all pest-control devices and move any poisonous houseplants well out of reach. If your dog tends to be skittish, allow him to adjust to the new surroundings one room at a time – begin by establishing a “home room,” a collection point for all of his favorite objects. When he starts getting comfortable with the new arrangements, you can let him gradually “expand” into other rooms.

Familiar faces, familiar scents

Dogs are usually happy as long as they’re familiar with the faces and smells around them, so moving into a new home is probably not the best time to bring a new animal into the picture. Also, remember that the activity and chaos of moving day may affect you as well as your pet. If you get upset and allow your emotions to get the better of you, your dog will pick up on it very quickly. Try to set aside a little time to give your dog some much-needed affection, a precious commodity for your canine on moving day.

All about timing

Don’t underestimate the importance of picking a good time of day to move based on traffic, the presence of school buses and other environmental factors. You’ll do yourself and your dog a big favor if you schedule your move for a slow, low-stress time of day.

Keep your movers informed

Many people forget to notify their movers in advance that they have a pet. This is especially important if your dog is temperamental and high-strung. Do your homework when shopping
around for a moving company. Look for one with “pet-friendly” policies that won’t require you to make special arrangements to keep your dog out of the way. Moving day is bound to be a whirlwind, but with some planning ahead, you and your furry friend can have a smooth transition into your new home.

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