Moving can be a stressful time for the whole family. Parents are changing jobs, kids are changing schools, and there's never enough time to get everything done. Amid all the chaos, don't forget that your dog can sense these stresses, too. Be sure to keep him in mind when building those checklists of 'to-dos' and 'don't-forgets'. Here are some things I have learned along the way that will help make a move more comfortable for your pooch.
Before Leaving - Make an appointment with your vet before you leave. Here are some things you'll want to handle on that visit:
- Get any check-ups or vaccinations due in the next couple of months. It may take a while to get settled into your new home, and taking care of this now will be one less thing you'll have to stress over on the other end. Be sure to get any vaccinations at least three days prior to your move so your dog doesn't experience side effects while in route.
- Get a copy of his file to take with you for your new vet.
- Get a prescription for stress medication or motion sickness for the trip, if needed.
In Route - Give some thought to your time in transit. You'll want to be sure the trip is as safe and comfortable as possible for your dog. Will he need space in the car? Will you need to find pet-friendly hotels in route? Here are some things you'll want to have handy along the way:
- His bed
- His blanket and/or favorite toy
- His leash (make sure he travels with his collar and tags on at all times)
- Enough of his regular food and snacks to get you where you're going plus three days' cushion
- Any medications, including those for stress and motion sickness if necessary
Upon arrival - The first few days at your new house will be chaotic. You're likely to have movers coming in and out, boxes strewn about, and your dog's schedule will probably be out the window. Here are some things to make those days less stressful for your dog:
- Take your dog in the house and let him explore before the movers arrive.
- Move his bed, blanket and toys into a space in the house where you can isolate him from the activity.
- During the move-in process, take frequent breaks to check on him and give him lots of love and attention.
- Pack a radio so you can play music for him to help drown out background noises.
In the first week - Once your furniture arrives and he sees things that are familiar, he will begin to settle in. Here are some things you'll want to handle immediately, where appropriate:
- Install your underground fence. (On our last move, we arranged in advance to have our fence installed the day we arrived.)
- Install a doggie door.
- File your change of address with your dog's microchip company.
- Get a new dog tag with your new address and phone number on it.
- Be visible in your yard and grab any opportunity to introduce yourself and your dog to your neighbors. Take time to explain the underground fence if you have one, as well as any behavioral issues they may need to know about your dog.
Keep in mind that if you're stressed, your dog probably is, too. Think about the types of things that will help make you comfortable in your new home and give your dog equal consideration.
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