As a devoted member of your family, your pet dog plays an important role in making any house feel like a home.
Dogs are creatures of habit and routine, and a change in environment can cause them understandable anxiety. While we humans can’t explain to them what’s going on, we can take actionable steps to alleviate that anxiety before, during, and after a move to a new home. Here are some expert tips from the Dog People at Rover.com (https://www.rover.com/blog/moving-with-your-dog-how-to-help-pets-adjust-new-home/) to follow:
Plan ahead to avoid surprises
- Check the local laws. Find out if you need a new license, what the leash laws are, and whether there are breed bans in place.
- Find a new vet. Don’t wait until your dog gets injured or sick. Research to find out if they’ll need any new vaccinations or preventative medications. Does your new area have ticks, heartworm, or leptospirosis?
- Get your dog microchipped. Make sure your dog has identification: “We’ve all read the wonderful stories about dogs who were lost during a household move and eventually found their way home across country,” says Dr. Mary Beth Leininger of ASPCA Health Insurance. “This is so rare that it’s always news. Better to have an ID tag on the pet’s collar and have your veterinarian microchip the dog for permanent identification.”
Prepare your dog for the trip
- Crate train your dog now if you’ll be needing one for the move. Most dogs love crates, but Fido wouldn’t want to be forced into one for the first time on moving day.
- Packing up. You may have noticed your dog getting nervous the last time you pulled out a suitcase for a trip. Imagine how he’ll act when the whole house is being packed up. Trainer Joan Mayer suggests conditioning them by having a few boxes and suitcases out ahead of time, so they don’t associate those objects with you leaving.
- Start training now. Your dog might need to live by different rules in your new home, especially if you are downsizing from a single family home to an apartment. Mayer recommends defining behavior goals ahead of time and working toward them before the move. Train them now to stop barking if you’ll have closer neighbors. Get them on a bathroom schedule if they won’t have access to a doggie door.
- Prepare them for what’s ahead. Even before you move you can start getting your dog used to the new world by taking them to similar environments or simulating new noises. If your move is not far, try walking them in the new neighborhood, introducing them to the neighbors. It’s best to know about that cat next door before your dog chases it up a tree.
- Ask your vet about calming medication for the trip, and try them out ahead of time.
What to do with your dog on moving day
- Give your dog a break at a pet sitter’s home. Boarding dogs for a few days with a pet sitter is a great idea.
- Pack for your dog. In addition to the basics of food and water, have a few favorite toys, extra towels and bedding.
- Prepare for the worst. Bring medical records, microchip numbers and a current photo in case the unthinkable happens and your dog does get separated.
- Keep them safe in the car. Make sure they always have ventilation and are secure.
- Feed them lightly, especially if they have sensitive stomachs.
Adjusting to their new home
- Pet-proof your new place. If you have a fence, check every inch of it for places they could escape. Use gates as needed, indoors and out.
- Keep your dog on a leash. It will take time for your dogs to learn where they can and cannot be inside and outside of your new house. You may also have potentially dangerous items like cleaning supplies or human food out before you’ve totally unpacked.
- Create a familiar space. Arrange beds, crates and toys as close to your old setup as you can. Stick to their previous feeding and walking schedules.
- Explore safely. Get to know the new neighborhood bit by bit, rather than all at once. So many new things can be overwhelming for a dog. Meet your neighbors so your pet knows who is allowed on their block.
Bottom Line: Be patient and compassionate. It may take a few weeks for your pet to acclimate to his new home, so don’t expect everything to be perfect from day one. Instead, be there as a loving companion and keep doing the things that you know keep him content and happy, including giving him a few extra treats. Home is where you and your pet are together. Eventually everything will feel normal again.
St. Petersburg Communities
If you’re interested in any of these of communities or live in one of them and are thinking of selling, call Estelia today!
Greater Pinellas Point
Historic Old Northeast
Historic Roser Park
Isla del Sol