Safe, Secure, and Settled: Tips on Easing Your Dog’s Transition into Your New Home

Cindy Aldridge

Perhaps you’re moving out of your parent’s home or relocating from an apartment into a single-family house. Whatever your move entails, if you have pets, it’s going to be stressful for them. Dogs don’t have a grasp on what’s to come, they only know today. An interruption of their routine can shake your pup’s nerves and leave him confused and looking for “home.”

Here’s how to ease his transition and keep him safe, happy, and healthy:

If possible, introduce him to his new home slowly. The AARP explains that your dog will need time to explore his new home. A few days – or weeks – before the move, let your dog pay a visit to your target destination. He will want to sniff and scout everything. By letting him scope things out ahead of time, he will be less curious – and less likely to wander off – on moving day.

Secure the perimeter. Most animal experts, including trainers and veterinarians, will tell you that the single most important thing you can do for your pet is to provide him a fenced yard. In addition to keeping him safe within the confines of your compound, a fence will act as a barrier against unwanted intruders, such as other dogs or roaming wildlife. HomeAdvisor states that homeowners can expect to spend $2,747 on average for building a new fence. Weighed against the devastation of losing your best furry fund, it’s a small investment.

Eliminate indoor and outdoor hazards. Your home is full of health hazards for your canine companion. And when you move to a new location, many of those may not be as evident as they were at the home you previously shared. And when you’re in the middle of the hectic act of moving, it’s easy to leave things, such as human medication, poisonous foods, and toxic chemicals, unattended. Certain plants and flowers can also be poisonous. Before letting your dog loose to romp around the backyard, check for any unusual shrubbery, flowers, or weeds.

Be patient. The first few nights in your new home may be difficult for your dog. He may whine or whimper for familiarity. Be patient and provide plenty of treats, hugs, and couch snuggles.

Keep old routines. There is likely no way to avoid changes to your routine. But, if you want your dog to fall into a new series of habits, you must keep as many aspects of your old routine in place as possible. For instance, if you and your dog typically take a walk after dinner, continue this tradition. You can avoid sending your dog into panic mode by making changes to your routine slowly. The Bark further recommends keeping your pet’s old bedding and toys, which may help him feel more comfortable in your new environment.

Talk to your veterinarian before moving. Your veterinarian is your best ally in helping you ease your pup’s transition. They will be able to offer useful tips and tricks collected over years of tending to the health and well-being of family pets. They may also be able to prescribe a low-dose medication to help with anxiety. Your vet can additionally advise you on the safest way to transport your dog from one home to another if you’re moving a long distance.

While moving may be mundane to us, it’s a complete upheaval for your pet. Make introductions slowly, keep animal intruders out and your pet in, be patient, and stick to your routine as closely as possible. It may only take a few days before your dog begins to appreciate his new surroundings. While he can’t click his heels three times, your dog will soon let you know that, no matter what the address may be, there’s no place like home.

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