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Moving house with a dog: How can you keep them safe and happy?

Dachshund dog in a box advice

How to move house when you have a dog?

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Moving house is often a fun and exciting time for us. But for your dog, it can be a very different experience and lead to stress and anxiety. However, there are several ways that you can make moving house with a dog as stress-free as possible, before, during and after your move.

By Zoë Monk

How does moving house affect dogs?

Moving house with a dog changes their routine and they suddenly find themselves in a new location where things don’t look, sound or smell familiar. This can all put a huge amount of stress on your dog and their health. But this shouldn’t put a stop to your house moving plans. With a little planning, you can relocate your family, possessions and dog safely stress-free.

How to prepare to move house with a dog?

It may be impossible to eliminate all the stressors of moving house with a dog, but there are key things you can do in the run-up to moving day to make things easier for everyone.

Pheromones diffuser

You can buy collars or plug-in diffusers that contain dog calming pheromones. They are the same pheromone that female dogs produce after they’ve had a litter to keep their pups feeling safe and secure. This calming sensation can work in adult dogs too. Start using a diffuser or putting a pheromone collar on your dog around 24 hours before you start any changes in the home such as packing boxes.

Stick to your dog’s normal routine

While you are preparing for your moving, try to stick to your normal routine. Your dog is used to a routine and will generally know when it’s time for their food, dog walks and nap time. This makes your dog feel confident and secure. To help keep their stress levels down, try to maintain as much normality as possible for your dog. This should also extend to move day too.

How to help my dog cope with the stress of move day?

A survey by energy company E.ON found that six out of 10 people found moving house to be the most stressful life event they’ve ever experienced. Dogs can often pick up on signs of human stress, so try to stay calm, especially around your dog. Along with keeping yourself and your dog calm, there are some other important things you should remember on move day to help keep your dog happy and safe.

Leave your dog with someone

As moving house with a dog can be stressful for everyone, leaving your dog in kennels or with friends or family members is a good idea on move day. This will allow you to pack and unpack without worrying about keeping them calm, happy and safe. You can then bring your dog into their new home when everything (especially you) feels calm. This helps to show your dog that their new home is somewhere they can relax and feel safe in.

Check your new garden

As soon as you get to your new home, spend time checking the garden for any holes in fences or other escape routes an inquisitive dog may find. You should also make sure there aren’t any poisonous plants in the garden that could harm your dog. If you don’t have time to do this before their arrival at your new home, it’s a good idea to keep your dog in a safe area of the house before you are able to dog-proof the garden.

Unpack your dog’s belongings

It’s a good idea to make unpacking your dog’s food, water, bedding and toys a priority. Ideally, try to do this before you bring them into the house for the first time. Scent is very important to dogs. They use it for identification and when things are familiar smelling to your dog, they will likely feel calmer. Gently rub a soft cloth on your dog’s face and then rub this onto corners and furnishings in your new home that are at their height. This will help to spread their scent around and help them to feel calm.

How to help my dog settle into their new home?

Many dogs will have no problem at all with moving house. They will quickly feel comfortable in just a matter of days. However, some days can take months to feel at home in a new place. But regardless of how long it takes your canine companion to adjust to their new home, your patience will make a big difference to how quickly they settle in.

Allow your dog to explore

When you are confident that your new home is secure, you can let your dog explore their new environment in their own time. It’s a good idea to go with them, especially if they are feeling a little unsettled. If you can’t make the house secure and safe enough, then take them on a tour on their lead.

Important things to remember

Don’t forget, if you are moving to a new area, you will need to register your pup with a new vet and you know where to take your dog if there is an emergency. You will also need to make sure your dog’s microchip details are updated with your new address and a new tag for your dog’s collar with your contact details on.

Moving house with a dog

Dogs are generally less disturbed by moving house than we are. Their attachment is more to the pack, their family – canine and human, than a place. So as long as they are with you and you give them a lot of your attention and affection, then dogs are usually fine. But there are simple steps you can take to make moving house with a dog much easier and safer, enabling you both to enjoy your new home together.

Are you moving soon and have a cat with you? Here is how to keep him safe and happy while moving