Moving With a Dog – How to Prepare Your Furry Friend for the Trip

September 8, 2022 / Posted in How-to
Anastasia Hill

Apart from being the next fashion icon, Anastasia is also a freelance writer and expert on moving (and packing clothes).

If you plan to move soon, you probably can’t imagine doing this if you’re not moving with a dog – your all-time best friend. There is no better feeling than going home after an exhausting day knowing that a cuddling session with your favorite animal awaits. There is no distance you won’t conquer for you two to stay together, but let’s see what the relocation experience actually looks like for your furry friend.

A man high-fiving a labrador dog
Moving with dogs can be much easier if you follow our convenient guide

Is Moving Stressful for a Dog?

We all know that relocation is one of the most stressful events in humans’ life but do dogs struggle with moving? This life-changing experience certainly has some effect on a canine, just as it does with a cat, but the final outcome for them will depend on many factors. Many people treat their dogs like kids, and in the relocation process (same as for children), you have to take extra care of them and keep an eye on every change in their behavior in order to recognize potential stress and depression.

Unfortunately, our pets can’t talk, but they will find a certain way to show us if they feel unhappy. We also know that their happiness, in most cases, depends on the way we treat them. If you’re showing them enough attention and affection, they will find the strength to cope with this stressful process and start living their best life again in no time – just in a different environment.

Don’t expect this to happen overnight, though – every change is a process, so you have to be patient while waiting for your canine to adjust to the changes. After all, you won’t be adapting to everything overnight, either. The most important thing is that you’ll have each other – no matter where you are, you’ll feel at home when your furry friend is with you.

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How Long Does It Take for Dogs to Adjust to a Move?

Every dog has a different character – this depends on many different factors such as their breed, age, origin, family, owners, training, and so on. Some dogs are used to frequent traveling, constantly being on the move, and meeting new people and surroundings. As you can probably guess, most of them find it easier to adjust to changes. 

On the other hand, we have canines that have spent their whole life at home with their family and have a certain routine that begins and ends with their one and only home, which they have known from day one. These dogs find it much harder to adjust to change, especially when they are older.

There is no clear timeframe within which your doggo will adjust. Adjustment can finish in just a couple of days, but sometimes it can take weeks or months. Even if it takes longer, you should see at least some progress over time. You are the person that knows your canine the best, so if their behavior starts worrying you, you can talk to the vet and find out what’s causing your dog’s depression.

The most important thing for you is to stay calm and positive because dogs can feel your negative emotions. If you have anxiety about relocating or feel depression after relocation, it’s not unusual that your furry friend will experience some of these emotions as well.

A doctor
A vet can answer any questions you may have about relocating with a canine

Train Your Canine for Traveling

If you’re getting organized to move, you probably want to ensure everything goes smoothly so you can move efficiently without experiencing relocation stress. This is why it is essential to train your furry friend during the preparation process, especially if they aren’t adjusted to traveling long distances. 

If you decide to hire a long-distance moving company, you can let professional cross-country movers deal with your relocation while you focus on your pet’s training. Start preparing your pets by taking them on long car rides. Fortunately, there are several ways you can ease them in during the ride. For example, you can:

  • Pet them,
  • Comfort them,
  • Talk to them,
  • Feed them treats,
  • Give them water,
  • Let them have their favorite toy or blanket.

Once they start getting adjusted, you’ll notice that they act more relaxed or even jump in the car themselves. Just always remember to make frequent short breaks and let them walk for at least a couple of minutes. This video might be helpful and give you precise instructions for the training process. 

Share Any Dilemmas With Your Vet if You Don’t Know How to Move With a Dog

It is highly recommended that you share your worries with a vet when relocating across the country. They can give you a lot of helpful advice about the process and explain what the adjustment period would look like, assuming they are already familiar with your pet’s character. They can also explain to you how to train them and make this period less stressful for your animal. Last but not least, they might also be able to suggest another vet clinic in the new city and give you all your previous medical records – for vaccines, treatments, and other health certificates.

Give Your Dog Medicine if Needed – That Will Help Them Stay Calm

How do you help a dog cope with moving? If you’re driving your own vehicle to the final destination, you can drive pets on your own and take extra care of them. But what if you decide to hire a professional car shipping company and get their auto transport services

In this case, you’ll probably be flying over to your new home and have to fly your doggo as well. If they are too big to go on a plane with you, your vet will probably give them some medicine to keep them calm during transportation. It is extremely important that you follow all the instructions if you want to achieve the desired effect and move safely. Otherwise, you will jeopardize the health of your furry friend, and that’s the last thing you want to happen.

Don’t Forget to Pack Their Stuff

You’ve probably noticed that pets get extremely attached to certain things from your home. Now, this doesn’t necessarily need to be one of their toys. It can be some toy they stole from your kids a long time ago, and you left them playing with it, or it can be your old slipper that they chewed, so you gave up on it. Can you notice something in common between these objects? They all have the familiar smell of you and your family members – people your furry friend loves. This smell reminds them of you and gives them a feeling of comfort. This is why you should pack these objects no matter how smelly or dirty you find them.

However, if you have a full closet of your dog’s things, you might want to declutter some of their stuff and downsize for a move. Still, you should let your doggo keep its piece of nostalgia. Once they adjust to the new house and find a new object of interest, you can throw this old one away. Don’t forget to pack their favorite food, clothes, chain, and everything else they usually use so they stay reminded of standard routines even when they find themselves in a new environment.

Prepare Boxes With Essentials for Moving a Dog to a New Home

Since you’ll essentially be going on a road trip with a canine, you should also pack some extra food and water for the relocation day. As we already mentioned in the training part, this will allow you to take care of them easily if they start getting nervous or scared. Other essentials you should prepare include your pet’s documents and their favorite toy to keep by your side during traveling.

A French Bulldog dog in clothes prepared for long-distance moving
Keep your dog's favorite clothes and toys and ensure to have them close to you

Secure Your New Home in Advance or on the Relocation Day

Another thing you don’t want to forget to do when relocating is to secure your house. Just like baby-proofing, pet-proofing your residence is extremely important for the well-being of your beloved canine. This means that you have to inspect your residence and check for anything that can be potentially dangerous or harmful to animals, such as thorny bushes in the backyard, unsecured pits, cables and wires, and so on. Make sure to secure everything before letting your pet run around your residence and backyard – only this way, you can feel completely comfortable knowing they are safe from troubles. 

In case you’re relocating from house to apartment, you have to notify your landlord that you’re relocating with a pet. Don’t forget to make this clear during the house hunting process because some landlords have different rules for people relocating with animals

Dog lying on the grass
Don't forget to secure your backyard

Once You Move, Spend More Time With Your Pet During Adjustment Period

Once you finally move to another state and start living in your new apartment, you must be wondering what to do after relocation. How to help your dog adapt quickly and easily? The answer to many other problems they might have is to give them more attention and stay super responsive when it comes to their needs. Walk them frequently, but don’t mess up their usual routine if possible. When you’re at the house with them, don’t just passively spend time in their presence – play with them and pet them, so they can feel loved and accepted even if they are going through a hard time. 

If You Have to Leave Your Canine Alone for a Longer Period, Ask Someone to Keep an Eye on Them

Meeting your neighbors once you move can be super helpful in many ways. They can help you adapt to a new neighborhood, and you’ll maybe even make new friends. If you’re relocating with pets, they can point you to some nice pet-friendly place in your area or take you to a cool dog park to meet other owners. You can also ask them to keep an eye on your doggo during the adjustment period. You might not experience the adjustment insomnia, but they can let you know if your furry friend spends the whole day barking once you leave for work. If this wasn’t the case before, you’d understand that something is wrong and that your pet feels lonely and scared when you’re gone.

Watch Out for Alarming Behavior

There are some things you should keep an eye on after relocation if you want to know if your doggo is struggling. Here are some common symptoms that show your canine is going through a stressful period and they might need additional care:

  • They suddenly forget about their potty training and start having “accidents” inside your house,
  • They start chewing things around the house aggressively or make a mess while you’re occupied with something else,
  • They can start making noises, like barking and even howling,
  • They might try to hide in a random place – for example, under the bed while shaking and acting scared,
  • They will start walking around with their tails tucked in and their ears back.

Now That You’re Prepared for Moving With a Dog, the Only Thing Left Is to Hire Professional Long Distance Movers

Apart from preparing their furry friend for this process, you’ll have many other obligations regarding the move. Getting professional long-distance moving services can be a great solution for those who have many tasks and responsibilities on their to-do list. If you hire a cross-country moving company, professionals will provide you with excellent packing services, take care of your fragile belongings and carefully pack everything in boxes. 

A professional auto transport company will also offer you additional relocation insurance and a free quote, so you’ll know the estimated expenses in advance. This way, it will be much easier for you to plan your relocation budget before making any final decisions. You’ll also be more calm and ready to focus on helping your furry friend go through everything without experiencing too much stress. 

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