Moving With Pets
Millions of Americans share their homes with one (or more) four-legged friends. Some cities are home to more dogs than kids, so dogs are clearly an important part of our families. It only makes sense that we make our moves with our dogs in mind.
If you’re buying a new home, don’t forget to remember your canine companion when comparing communities and property features.
Some breeds need plenty of room to roam while others are content with a
small space. Moving your high-energy canine into a cramped home may result in broken or damaged furniture or, worse, confinement anxiety. Puppy Daily reports that confinement anxiety may cause a host of unwanted behaviors, including barking and biting. In general, the larger the dog, the larger their space requirements both indoors and out. There are exceptions to this, however, so make your decision based on your dog’s personality and past behavior.
Whether or not to consider the weather
If your move has you dragging your family across time zones, you’ll also need to think about how the weather will affect your dog. Short-haired breeds are typically less cold tolerant than their bulkier brethren and may be affected by time outdoors. Hypothermia is a real danger to small dogs once the temps drop below freezing, especially if they may come into contact with water. Likewise, moving to a temperate climate may not sit well for your brachycephalic breed. Short-faced dogs, such as Boston terriers and bulldogs, are vulnerable to heat stroke and hyperthermia. Take steps to ensure the weather doesn’t wilt your dog’s enjoyment of his or her new home. Here’s how:
- Install a dog door so that your dog has access to the interior of the home when he gets uncomfortable
- Insulate your dog’s house with hay or cedar shavings and place it with the opening facing another structure to block the wind
- Position the dog house under a carport or wide overhang to keep ice, snow, and rain away from the entrance
- In warmer regions, provide shade and shelter
- Provide plenty of water to drink as well as a small pool for your dog to play
- Watch your dog for signs of overheating; these include heavy panting and lethargy
Introducing your dog to his new digs
When moving day arrives, it’s best to board your dog where he can run and play freely without watching his domain get destroyed. Not only will this ease his anxiety, but will ensure the safety of your pet and any additional labor you’ve hired to help with the move. Once you’ve reached your destination, you’ll have let Spot check out the place; there are lots of new sights, sounds, and smells to see and sniff, and your dog will want to take them in at his own pace. Let your dog walk around the perimeter of the property before going inside. Indoors, keep him leashed for a few moments before letting him enter the main living areas. Don’t force him to visit each room; let his nose guide him to areas he wants to inspect. Cesar Millan, a world-renowned dog trainer and author of Cesar's Way, offers these additional tips on helping your dog settle in:
- Bring unwashed blankets and bedding; familiar scents will make your dog feel more at home in this strange new structure
- Update your dog’s tags and veterinary care provider immediately
- Establish a new routine right away, sticking to your previous schedule as much as possible
Relocating to a new home is tough on everyone but, with a little planning, you and your furry family members will settle in nicely no matter where your move has taken you. The transition will be easier if you keep your pet’s needs in mind as you house hunt and ease him into his new life with patience (and plenty of his favorite treats).