Moving and Packing Tips

Moving House With a Dog Without Stress

Moving house with a dog is like you are having an additional family member that you need to look after. It will have some nostalgia for your old place. Dogs can fall into depression and they will most likely be exceedingly stressed while you are relocating. It is up to you to limit the amount of stress for your companion and let it help you as well. Relocating with a pet can turn the stress levels up a notch, especially if not planned well.

This post is for:

  • People that are moving house with a dog;
  • People rehoming / adopting a dog can also benefit.

Preparation for moving house with dogs

Let them use their scent

The scent is a major factor for your K9 friend. You can bring something from the new property for your dog to sniff. This will help it get accustomed to the smell of its new home, before even setting paws in there. Bring a cloth with you when you are viewing the property. You can rub that cloth on countertops, pieces of furniture, and the door frame. You will later bring this cloth to your dog as a sample.

Travelling with your dog

If you are planning on moving with a dog by car, and it’s not accustomed to it, you can start by taking your companion on short drives first. If your dog is a small breed, you can put it in a carrier and secure it on the back seat or the passenger seat up front.

However, if your dog is bigger, you will have to strap it with a seat belt harness. You can also set it at the back of your estate or SUV. If your pet is not calm while taking a drive, make sure there is someone keeping it company at the back. Your trunk area or back seat might need some special care and a mobile car valet with the car wash after the move. Especially if your dog was nervous during the trip. Also, an anxious dog can leave a lot of scratches on your interiors plastic panels.

It is not advisable to go for a drive with an unsecured dog in the car. You may even get fined. Also, don’t feed your dog before the ride and remember to put a cover so it won’t ruin your upholstery. You can advise with your vet about prescription medications against nausea and/or vomiting.

Have them around when packing

You shouldn’t exclude your dog from the packing activity either, not if you are doing it on your own. Allow your pet to sniff around and see what you are doing. Don’t pack its things just yet, leave them for last. A smart dog will start to put pieces of the puzzle together when seeing the number of boxes you prepare day by day. It will be expecting some change in its environment. You won’t be able to pack everything on a single day, and you shouldn’t. Keep that in mind, and plan ahead. Pack everything systematically, starting from the things you use the least.

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Keep them occupied

While you are packing, play with your dog. Throw in an empty box and a couple of toys and see if it will “pack” them. Play fetch, and make sure you keep your dog busy. You are moving with a dog, why wouldn’t you make it take its part in the preparation. This will keep it happy and less stressed, plus, a well-exhausted dog will always be easier to deal with.

Check all the things the professionals can help you with for your relocation.

How to deal with your dog on moving day

Have someone to look after them

Ask a family member to take it out for a long walk or keep a close eye on it alongside the property. You can even give it to a friend if they are already familiar with one another. This is to limit the stress endured by your dog from all those unfamiliar voices and noises, inherent to removals.

Your dog should be well exhausted from your last walk, so it won’t have a lot of power to pounce around and argue with your commands.

Set a room just for them

If no one is available to take care of your dog, leave its bed, a couple of toys, and some food and water in a room and let your furry friend inside. Check on it on a regular basis. Make a sign and stick it on the door of that room, so everybody will know, not to go inside and trouble your dog. Not to mention that your removal guys can end up bitten.

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How to settle a dog into a new home

Get your dog back to its old routine as soon as possible. Here are a couple of rehoming dog tips.

  1. Get your dog back on schedule

    Take them for a walk, feed them, and get them to sleep at the same time you used to do in your previous home. If possible, take a couple of days off from work till your dog gets accustomed to its new territory. No one can say how a dog feels when rehomed, you will have to guess based on its behaviour.

  2. Anti-stress aids

    You can also benefit from Dog Appeasing Pheromones (DAP). Those pheromones are released by a new mother to calm her puppies and “tell them” everything is alright and they are safe. Some adult dogs benefit from DAP. It is available as a collar or a plug-in-socket device that releases it all day long. You may buy a collar for the move, and the plug-in option for your new property, if you believe it will be necessary.

  3. Keep your dog’s old belongings for a while

    Don’t go out and buy a new bed or bowls right away. Give your dog some time to get used to the place, and then replace any of his stuff.

  4. Show the new area to your dog

    It is a good idea to take long walks around your new place. Use the same route for the first couple of days, so your dog will get used to it faster.

  5. Let it win your trust again before leaving your dog alone

    Before leaving your dog home alone while you are at work, try to go for a coffee or go out with friends, and leave it for a couple of hours. This will help it cope with your absence once you return to work. You can also toss some of your old clothes on your dog’s bed, so it will feel like you are around. Dogs are highly sensitive to smells and they love to have a familiar smell around when distressed.

  6. Help your dog feel at home by marking its territory

    Speaking of scents, you can rub your dog’s favourite blanket on corners at your new property, this will help it feel like it already marked its territory and will be more relaxed.

  7. Keep your dog inside for a couple of days and inspect the area

    Whatever you do, don’t leave your dog outside, even if it’s secured in the backyard. Many dogs have jumped over high fences, just to return to their old kingdoms. In fact, you should carefully examine the garden at your new property, if any. Check the state of the fence, there might be some escape routes, that you may not know about otherwise. You should fix the damaged fence as soon as possible. Also, inspect the vegetation for dangerous shrubs, mushrooms or plants that might be toxic to your dog and remove them.

  8. Update the collar info of your dog

    Register your dog with a local vet and update the information on his collar and/or chip as soon as you can.

  9. Accidents happen

    Some dogs might start to make “accidents” when settling into a new place. Don’t get mad, it’s quite normal. You will just have to run through some “potty training” exercises once more. Your dog will quickly catch up.

How long does it take for a dog to adjust to a new home?

It may take a few weeks for your furry friend to fully get used to your new home. Do not rush it, instead be gentle and caring.

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  • Play with your dog as often as you can before the move.
  • Don’t lock it away while you are packing.
  • On moving day it is best if your dog is with a friend or family member.
  • Make sure your dog is secured while you are driving to your new home.
  • Keep as much of its old stuff, at least until your pets get used to the new place.
  • Carefully inspect the garden, plants and fence before letting your dog play there.
  • Explore your new neighbourhood together.


Do you have any personal experience, relocating with a dog? Please, feel free to share it in the comment section. If you have ideas for pets that we haven’t written about, they are also welcomed.

Image source: depositphotos / dashek

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