6 Tips for Moving Fido Across Town or Across the Country
Guest blog post…David Shapiro (see bio below)
If you are making a move – whether across town or across the country – there’s a lot to think about, and it can be even more stressful when you consider how your dog will handle it. As you pack and prepare for the move, most dogs will sense something is changing but they won’t understand what is going on until moving day arrives. Dogs are highly sensitive to their surroundings and what you consider “home” means even more to them – because it’s their territory. But even though moving may be stressful for dogs, there are still steps you can take to make the move as smooth as possible for your pets.
If you’re moving to another neighborhood within the same city, follow these tips to help your dog(s) adjust to their new surroundings:
1. Take him for walks in the new neighborhood before the move. Dogs can
become more anxious when they are in a new location, wanting to sniff and inspect everything. Some are intimidated by new surroundings, so walking on a leash with you there will make them feel more secure. Make frequent trips to your new neighborhood if possible so your dog will feel safe and comfortable with his or her new home.
2. Transport your dog separately. On moving day, ask a friend or family member to watch Fido for you so you can turn your full attention to the moving process. Once the movers leave your new home and the commotion has ceased, bring your dog over to inspect his new territory. Walk him on the leash so he feels secure during his grand tour of the new house and yard; then let him off to explore.
3. Establish a routine ASAP. Because pets tend to feel safest with a routine, get into one as soon as you can. This may be difficult with boxes to unpack and other arrangements to make, but be sure your dog is still getting fed at the same time every day and that he’s being exercised daily. If too much energy builds up, your pup will likely have more time and energy to be anxious.
Across the Country
Moving to another state is a different matter altogether. First, you must decide whether you want to transport your dog via plane or car. Because airlines typically allow only small dogs – ones whose carriers can fit under your seat – on a plane and requires others to be placed in a potential unsafe cargo hold, driving is likely your best option. For driving your dog across the country, follow these tips:
1. Exercise your dog more frequently before the move. In the week leading up to the trip, take your dog for walks more often or take him to the dog park for more exercise. You want Fido tired out for the car ride so he can get the zoomies out and not be nervous or anxious. If you’re too busy with moving details to exercise him yourself, hire a neighborhood kid, a dog walker or ask a friend to help out.
2. Prepare supplies for the drive. Even if your dog is potty-trained, line the car with extra rags and towels just in case. Also, create a green pet first aid kit and include bandages, cotton balls, tweezers, and a digital thermometer, to assist Fido in being calm, sleeping and feeling good during the drive.
3. Use a kennel or carrier if possible. This keeps dogs most secure on the drive, but it also helps them feel more comfortable and gives them a place to retreat. It’s the safest way for them to travel – for all involved – because it keeps them from wandering underfoot while you’re driving.
Whether you’re moving to another house in the same city or to another state altogether, consider how your move will affect your dog. Based on your knowledge of Fido, brainstorm ways to make him feel safe and make preparations accordingly. By thinking ahead, you’ll avoid the heartache and stress often involved with moving pets to a new home.
Author Bio: David Shapiro works with moving companies and other small businesses as a marketing relocation specialist. He lives in Arizona and enjoys hiking, golfing, horseback riding and biking.
Note: some people use moving as an excuse to dump their pets at a shelter, please do NOT do that. If you do, chances are that your pet will die at the shelter. If you absolutely MUST, find your pet a safe loving new home that they deserve BEFORE your move. Where there is a will there is a way. I just read a story about a woman who lost her home in my neighborhood, became homeless and was camping out in a tent with her dog. She went to a local animal rescue group for assistance to find her dog a new home. Instead, the group suggested that she let the dog be fostered while she moved from California to Hawaii (where her son lives) and the group raised money for the dog to be taken care of including his flight to Hawaii. Now the two of them are living happily in the Aloha state. Be a responsible pet owner. Thank you.
Soon, I will be writing a Hawaii pet friendly blog post. It is an onerous procedure (and costly) to bring your pet to Hawaii. Meanwhile, if you want to move your dog to Hawaii, there is now a five day or less quarantine option. Check it out here…
PS: All this dog below needs is a black ear and spot on her forehead and a few spots on her belly and this would look like a certain polka dot princess that I know and LOVE.