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Moving to a new home is notoriously stressful, and perhaps even more so for dogs. After all, you understand where you’re moving and why. Your dog only knows that things are changing! Planning and patience are key to helping your dog cope with the move and adjust to their new home. These tips for before, during, and after your move will make moving with your dog easier on both of you.

How to move to a new home with your dog

Before the Move

Dogs can sense when there’s a significant change underway, and they take their cue from your behavior in stressful or uncertain situations. As you prepare to move, be aware of your body language, tone of voice, and energy. If you need to vent frustration or have a meltdown (totally understandable!), try to avoid doing so in front of your dog. Here are more ways to prepare for a smoother transition:

Research & Make a Plan

Gradual changes will be easier for your dog to handle. Once you’ve decided to move, it’s never too early to do your research and make a plan:

Make Introductions

Sometimes a move means new people or animals joining your household, which can be stressful for dogs.

Ease into Packing

Packing is a lot of work, but it’s important to keep your dog’s routine as close to normal as possible during this time. Allow plenty of time for the packing process so your dog can get used to the changes.

Shortly Before Moving

Make sure your dog’s chip and/or tag has the new address just before moving day – don’t wait until you’re in the new place. Long-distance travel can cause motion sickness in dogs, especially on a full stomach. It can be helpful to gradually reduce your dog’s food intake for a few days before, and feed them a light meal a few hours before departure. Of course, always check with your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.

Moving Might Go Easier Than You Think

Preparing is important, but don’t assume your dog will have a hard time – some dogs take moving in stride!  Keep a close eye on their behavior so you can recognize and manage your dog’s anxiety, and stick to their regular routine as best you can. Giving your dog enrichment, exercise and affection every day will help them deal with all the changes, so make sure to carve out time to prioritize their well-being, even when things get crazy busy.

Moving with dogs

On Moving Day

Even the best-planned moving day tends to be a little chaotic. Use these tips to spare your dog from the worst of the stress once the big day arrives:

samoyed and pomeranian in their new home

In Your New Home

If it’s your dog’s first time in their new home, go in without them first to make sure it’s clear of any potential toxins or hazards. Then let your dog explore at their own pace. Keep an eye out for signs they’re tempted to mark their territory, and distract them to put a stop to it (don’t yell or punish). While movers are unloading the truck, bring your dog to a friend or family member’s house, or crate them in a quiet place where they won’t be underfoot.

Tips for settling into a new home with your dog:

Help Your Dog Adjust to a New Environment

Create Stability & Provide Support

After the move, your dog might exhibit new behaviors including:

Keep an eye out for signs of stress so you can help your dog. Consider working with a trainer or behavior consultant to help your dog adjust if they’re having a really hard time.

Be Mindful of New Housemates & Neighbors

Above all, be patient with your dog and give them all the time they need to adjust and settle in to their new home. Remember that they haven’t had a chance to mentally prepare for the move!

Spoil Them in Their New Space

Give your good boy or girl some new toys or treats to give them a positive experience in your new home. To take things to another level, be sure to sneak them some Stella & Chewy’s goodies because they deserve the good stuff.

Extra Love is Encouraged

Moving to a new home with your dog is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting for both you and your dog, and some extra love and attention can help you guys unwind together and remember that everything is going to be okay. Whether it’s with wet-nose kisses, sweet hugs, or playtime, showing your dog some extra love can help them, and you, get through the move.
Learn about potentially toxic household items for dogs so you can keep them safely out of reach as you’re setting up in the new space, and discover how to understand dog body language so you can better support your pup in stressful situations.

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