Relocating with your pet to a new home takes research and advanced planning. If you missed “The Months Prior & EmBARKing on Your Journey,” look for it here: as the previous post on the blog or the the June/July/August 2018 issue of The Pet Press.
If possible, introduce your dog to the new neighborhood before the move, but in our case…it was on the other side of the U.S. of A! Once we did get there though, we drove our best buddy to our new house, let him sniff around and took on-leash walks to check the sights, sounds and smells of his new ‘hood.
Day of the Move
We stayed at a relative’s home nearby until we purchased a home leaving most everything in storage after our road trip, so when we moved in…it was us and a few bags and boxes, and our furry child came right along. We then brought a carload from the storage system daily, so the chaos was kept to a minimum. If you have a real ‘moving day’ however, it might be helpful to have your pooch stay with a friend, go to doggy day care or other such option to not be underfoot and also to lessen the chance of escape with doors left open as furniture comes in. Once you bring your pet to the house though, make sure his things are in place (crate, beds, cat tree, feeding bowls, etc.) including blankets from his old home that you have NOT laundered! Yes, the ones with the comforting smells of home still on them!
Reestablish Good Habits Right Away
It’s likely some things will change in the new place, especially if you’ve switched time zones, but jump right into the new schedule like nothing happened. Still go for that 7 a.m. walk on-leash in your new location, even if feels like 4 a.m. to you and your dog. Dogs are creatures of habit and routine, so keep consistent with walks, feeding time & location, grooming and playtime. Your calm and confidence will keep your dog happy, and creating familiarity with important resources such as food, water, and bedding is vital. Remember to be a good new neighbor, picking up after your pet and not letting him roam. It’s for his safety too.
Initially, we secured Haiku in our master bed & bath suite when we left him home alone for short periods of time. It allowed him to get used to his surroundings and made us sure we were dog-proofed. For dogs comfortable in crates, their own personal den is always a good option. After a few weeks’ time, once he knew his way around, we allowed our buddy the run of the main floor when we’d go out and continue to do so.
Do realize that it is not uncommon for pets to get freaked out while getting used to their new surroundings. Your dog or cat may hide or worse, dart for an open door, so besides providing excellent supervision, immediately, update ID tags and microchip info.
Pay a visit to your new veterinarian for a check-up and to get your pet on file within a week of arrival. If stress has caused any physical symptoms, you can nip them in the bud. This will also give you the opportunity to ask questions regarding the area, learn about dangerous indigenous plants and wildlife and feel good knowing your best friend has a new 2nd best friend!
Pay attention and notice new behaviors as well as favorite spots your pet starts gravitating towards. You can then make those spots more inviting (if appropriate) and also know where to look when you can’t find your best buddy.
Consider attaching bells near the door to teach your dog to communicate his need to go out. It’s fun way for him to get your attention.
The best thing however, you can do for your dog when you are moving to a new home is provide quality time with his favorite human…YOU!
Can you build a backyard fence for your dog?
My Homeowner’s Association required a written proposal with estimates, pictures and schematic of where a backyard enclosure would go within their already stringent parameters. I wanted everything to go smoothly so that my pooch could enjoy his new plot of land along with us, so I put together a bang-up presentation and was told it was the best they ever saw! We got approval and are enjoying outdoor time together, but some things to consider are height (not just for your pet but can other animals jump into your fence), visibility from a major roadway or can you camouflage your pet with shrubbery for privacy and safety, will the fence be shared by another dog or can other’s approach and fence fight? Always one more thing to consider.
Seek out dog-friendly locations
What did you and your pet enjoy doing together in your former neighborhood? Hikes, doggie day care, visiting the local coffee shop where a barista would provide him a water bowl and treat? Look for similar options in your new location, ask neighbors, find an app.
Create a New Health & Safety Team
In addition to your veterinarian, your pet needs other 2nd best friends (you are always number 1). Get recommendations from neighbors, your vet, the local animal shelter for groomers, trainers and even day care, but don’t forget to find a professional pet sitter! One who is trained in pet first-aid and is more than just someone who loves pets, someone who truly knows how to care for them, knows what to do in an emergency and asks you all the important questions. I found one in Christina Walker, Top Dog Pet Sitter. A great place to start looking is www.GetARealPetSitter.com.
Stay alert to your pet and notice if, in spite of trying to make a smooth transition, he is truly not himself. Give it a little time, but if he’s not bouncing back after his initial veterinary check-up, bring him in again just to be sure it is not something physical.
I’m pleased to say that my best buddy LOVES his walks, checking his p-mail and sniffing where the locals have paw printed before him. Exploring our community has really made me take time to be in the moment with him while appreciating the beauty and change of seasons our new environment has to offer. He has low windows in almost every room, which we never leave open unsupervised, but in his golden years, we are grateful for them as he lays, chin on sill, enjoying his views. I think the screened porch is his favorite! The pure joy we see in our dog fills our hearts. While our journey always continues, the move is complete!
Please catch my VLOG on this topic:
For 20 years Denise Fleck’s Sunny-dog Ink motto has been “Helping people to help their pets,” and she has…teaching more than 15,000 pet lovers animal life-saving skills and millions more on “The Doctors,” CNN, “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life,” Animal Planet and other TV shows. Denise is a frequent conference speaker, developed a line of pet first aid kits and now offers classes online.
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