Day of the Move
Tire your dog out
The old saying “a tired dog is a good dog” definitely applies here, make sure you schedule some time in the morning before you start the day to exercise with your dog. This will most likely be a very exciting/stressful day for you and your best friend so getting as much of the nervous energy out before the day begins will start you off on the right foot(paw).
Drop your dog off with friends or family
If you have the option to have your family or friends watch your dog while you make the move, by all means, take advantage of this. You might think you want your dog by your side for this exciting day, but after about 30 minutes of trying to corral your dog while at the same time, trying to haul in furniture, you’ll find out it was probably a mistake. Your dog will appreciate not having to deal with the chaos.
Crate your dog
If you’re moving somewhere away from friends and family, the next best thing is to place a dog crate in a quite room in your new house while you unpack all of your belongs from the truck. If your dog isn’t crate trained, and you still have a few weeks before the move, I recommend trying to go through the crate training process with them. This will not only help during move in day, but when you have to leave your dog alone the first few times at the new house, you’ll be able to have a place he can be left where he feels safe.
Prepare a pet first aid kit
If you do bring your pet with you on moving day, make sure you have easy access to the first aid supplies. The last thing you want is for your dog to get injured and then have to frantically dig through 30 boxes trying to find the first aid kit. Even if nothing happens on moving day, it’s probably going to take at least a week to unpack all of the boxes, so having it ready to go in the beginning can save you a headache later on. If you don’t currently have a first aid kit for your dog, here are some of the basics I would recommend including for moving day: Your vet’s phone number (as I mentioned in Part I of this post, make sure you get the info of your new location’s vet before the move), gauze to wrap wounds or to muzzle your pet, adhesive tape for use on bandages, nonstick bandages, towels, cotton swabs, antibiotic ointment (without pain relief medication), and 3% hydrogen peroxide. If you don’t want to bother getting these supplies together you can always just buy a pet first aid kit at your local pet store or on Amazon. Here’s one that covers most of the typical injuries you can treat at home:
Prep your new home
Your dog will probably be a mixture of stressed and excited when you bring them into a new environment for the first time. Unfortunately, this can lead to behavior you might otherwise not normally see from your dog. It’s not uncommon to have your dog dart out the front door, hop over, or dig under, a fence, or in some extreme cases, break through a window to get out if they get too nervous.
You will want to pay extra attention, and remind everyone who lives there, or stops by, to make sure the doors close behind them when they come in and go out until your dog settles into his new home. If your old home is nearby, and you have a good relationship with either the new home owners, or the old neighbors, give them your phone number and a photo of your pet, in case your pet tries to return if they escape. In order to make your dog feel as comfortable as possible, and settle in quickly to the new home, you will want to give them a sense of familiarity. If there food and water bowl was in the kitchen, try to make sure it stays in the new kitchen, if you had their bed in the living room next to the couch, place their bed in the same place once the couch is moved in.
Dogs also love routine, so make sure you try to stick to their schedule as much as possible. By feeding them and taking them on walks at the same time as you did at your last house, it should help them settle into the new environment faster.
Familiarize your dog with the new neighborhood
Speaking of walking, one of the most important things you can do to make your dog feel comfortable in the new home is to let them get familiar with the surrounding area. This will not only help settle their nerves, but if they ever do get out, they will have a mental map in their head telling them how to get back home. If you’re just moving across town, you can even start before moving by driving over to the new home while you are still in escrow and walking your dog there a few times a week. This way, when you move, they already know the area and you have a head start on getting them acclimated to the new sights and sounds.
If you don’t have that luxury, I recommend taking your dog on an hour walk around the neighborhood within the first 24 hours. Doing this long walk will give you the opportunity to circle around and walk through the same area a few times which should get your dog comfortable with the area quicker. I know there are a hundred other things you will want to do the day after you move but make sure you don’t neglect your dog’s needs in the process. By following these guidelines you can help your dog have a smooth transition into the new house and start creating happy memories as you start this new adventure together.