Top 5 Tips for Reducing Your Dog’s Stress While Moving

Top 5 Tips for Reducing Your Dog’s Stress While Moving

They say moving is one of the most stressful events in our lives, right up there with the death of a loved one and divorce. Between arranging mortgage or rent payments, setting up new utilities, packing, cleaning, hiring movers or convincing your friends to help out, there is a lot to coordinate and never enough time. But don’t forget to add your dog onto your already massive to-do list. You at least understand why you are so stressed out, but your dog has no idea what is going on! So our pets tend to get even more stressed than us during a big move.

People often notice problems or behavior changes during or after moving to new home. Your dog may start showing destructive or attention seeking behaviors such as chewing, digging, barking, or even going to the bathroom in your house, something they haven’t done since they were a puppy! If you haven’t noticed any behavioral changes yet, you still may have noticed your dog showing other signs of stress. These signs can include panting, pacing, yawning, lip licking, whining, clinginess, and even diarrhea. Obviously, stressing out your fur baby was not your intention, so below are our top 5 tips for reducing your dog’s stress during the move.

1. Keep up your routines! While trying to get everything done, you must adjust all of your routines and priorities. Sometimes scheduling in your dog’s daily walk just isn’t possible. However dogs are creatures of habit and the familiarities offer them comfort and security. So keep their routines (meal times, bedtime, walks, etc) as consistent as possible to avoid added stress.

2. Pack your dog’s items last and unpack them first. If everything in the house is changing, your dog will take comfort in the things they know such as their bed or kennel. Give your dog this comfort by packing those items last then unpacking them in the new house first to help your pup settle in. A new home often means a clean start. However, we suggest not washing their bed or blankets before moving. The scent from their bed can also help them settle into their new home quicker.

3. Board your dog during the actual move. You coming in and out of the house, having everything in boxes being moved around, then leaving your pup alone in an empty house can all be very stressful to a dog. Having a friend watch them or taking them to a kennel or dog daycare for the day will help avoid unnecessary stress and keep them safe during all the coming and going.

4. Consider anti-anxiety tools. Talk to your veterinarian or trainer about different ways to manage your dog’s anxiety. There are many different options such as thunder shirts, calming pheromones, supplements, and medication that could help reduce your pup’s stress.

5. Manage your own stress. Dog are very in-tune to our emotions and often have reactions to how we are feeling. If you are upset, chances are your dog is too. So don’t forget to take a minute to breathe and relax during all the chaos. Both you and your dog will benefit from it.

Much like people, all animals will respond to moving and stress differently. For some dogs it may be obvious that they are stressed, others may not show any signs for weeks after the move. If you are concerned about your dog’s behavior, please consult a veterinarian or certified dog trainer.