Meeting Your Dog’s Needs Before, During and After a Move

If you’re a dog owner, you’ll do anything to keep your pet happy and safe. That means keeping his well-being in mind when looking for a new place to live, and paying careful attention to details like layout, staircases, room flow, and external surroundings. Bear in mind your dog’s personality, condition and any physical limitations as you house-hunt. You don’t want to invest in a property your pet can’t move around in freely or safely. 

Read on for some more pointers from the Animal Rights Channel.

Physical features

Watch for houses that have a laundry room or “mud room” with enough space for cleaning your dog after a walk around the block or a romp in the backyard. It helps to have a room for a cleaning station that includes towels, brushes and other tools for keeping dirt, mud and dead hair from being tracked throughout the house. 

If your pal is rambunctious and likes to be physically active, make sure your new house has a yard big enough to run around in and a security fence with no gaps or holes underneath through which he might escape. Focus your search on quiet neighborhoods that don’t get a lot of traffic so your dog is less likely to encounter a speeding car if he gets away. If possible, Vetstreet suggests engaging a realtor who has experience working with customers who have pets. 


Hire a professional cleaner so you’re leaving behind a tidy and odor-free space. “Dog smell” can be difficult to get rid of, and it sometimes takes the resources and expertise of a professional to deep clean the carpet and other places where odors linger. 

Also look into professional movers in your area and get quotes on the move. For each company you contact, ask whether they’re a member of the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA). AMSA movers are among the best at what they do and are licensed, insured and certified, so you’ll rest easy knowing the move will be done right and done efficiently. 

Remember that dogs are creatures of habit. They get very upset when their environment is disrupted, so ask a friend to watch your pet while everything’s being packed up by the movers (pet sitters can be a big help at a time like this). Pets are remarkably sensitive. They’re capable of perceiving your emotional states, and know when stress levels are on the rise. You can alleviate the situation with calming strategies like homeopathy, essential oils and acupressure points. If necessary, board your pet until everything’s packed up and you’re ready to move. 

Moving day

Moving day may be the most chaotic experience in your pet’s life. How you handle it will depend on your pet’s personality and how you anticipate he’ll react. If Fido tends to be excitable and skittish, it’s probably worth hiring a pet sitter, leaving him with a friend or boarding him for the day. It’s probably safer to keep him away from the movers and eliminate the possibility that he may run away while the door’s opening and closing all day. 

Prepare a care package for the trip with dog snacks, his water dish and a comforting object, like a pillow or toy. Take along anything that will help your pooch stay anxiety-free during the trip, whether it’s a long or short journey. Be sure to manage your time well, including at work, so you can dedicate extra time to the move as well as tending to your animal’s needs. Take time off if needed.

Moving in

Once you’ve arrived, let your dog do some exploring, and be prepared to spend extra time with him until he’s adjusted. The Honest Kitchen advises setting up a “safe space” that’s just his, with just his food and water dishes, toys, and other familiar items. If you’ve got too much stuff and space is a problem, consider renting a storage unit. That will make it easier to create a comfortable and orderly home right from the beginning.  

Once you’ve found a property that’s right for you as well as your pet, be attentive to his needs, and be prepared to do lots of comforting until both of you are settled in. Finding a new home, packing and moving is a stressful process. Pets are affected by your emotional responses, so take steps to reduce the stress you’re feeling. 

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