Moving with Canines
October 16, 2020
While dogs can reduce stress for their owners, being involved in a move with their owners can
be nerve-wracking for canines. As the boxes are packed and moved, their environment
changes, causing them to feel unsure. Also, some dogs pick up on their owner’s emotions, so
they reflect feelings of worry and chaos by being jumpy or apprehensive. If you’re a dog owner
who’s planning a move, follow some tips to help your dog feel more secure during the move,
which helps ensure moving day goes as smooth as possible.
Some dogs become anxious or scared before you even leave your current home because they
can sense something is changing. This can increase the likelihood of them running away. They
can also become injured if they knock over boxes. On moving day and during the adjustment
period in the new home, your dog’s risk of running away is also heightened. Be sure your dog
has a safe place where she can’t get lost or hurt. Also, ensure your dog has up-to- date
identification tags attached to a well-fitted collar and consider microchipping your dog.
On days when you’re consumed with packing, consider what your pet needs. While some dogs
would feel better being near you regardless of what you’re doing, others would feel safer in their
crate in a quiet room. Others may need a lot of attention and would fare better if they stayed
with a friend or a dog sitter. Assess these concerns on moving day as well.
If you hire professional movers, let them know you have a dog ahead of time and ask about
their policies. Talk to them about interacting with your dog, especially if she’s temperamental.
Consider what they would like you do with your dog. Are they okay with your being kept in a
separate room while they work, or would they prefer your dog be absent from the home while
Keep your dog’s schedule for feedings, walks, playtime, and bedtime as routine as possible.
This consistency is important during every stage of the moving process, but especially during
the time that your dog is becoming acclimated to her new home. Also, while you may want to
purchase a new crate, dog bed, food bowl, leash, or other accessory for your new home, it’s
best to wait until your dog becomes comfortable after the move.
Placing the items in similar locations as they were in the previous home is also helpful. For
example, if the food and water were in the laundry room, don’t move them to the kitchen in the
new home. The familiarity of the items and their locations will help your dog feel safe and in
Once you and your dog arrive at the new place, let your dog explore the new environment at her
own pace. Some dogs choose to hide for a while instead of explore, which is fine; allow your
dog to come out when she’s ready. Some pets have temporary changes in behavior during
sudden changes like moving, including bathroom accidents, excessive barking or pacing, and
fluctuations in eating habits. “Remember that difficult behaviors are a result of their discomfort
with the change and a sense of not feeling in control,” says AARP. Dogs need an adjustment
period, just like humans do. If the problems persist, speak to your veterinarian.
The most important step to remember is to continue to give your dog the attention she’s used to
getting, plus a little extra. The more secure your dog feels, the better she’ll feel and the more
quickly she’ll adjust. Giving your dog additional love and ensuring she’s safe and comfortable
during the moving process doesn’t just help her feel better; it also helps moving day go more
smoothly for you and gives you peace of mind.