The Bulletin

Happy Dog, Happy Home

Ben Ballard | Complete Removals

Moving house can be a very fun and memorable experience. After all, our homes are the centre points of our lives.

The thing is, often your home is also the centre point of not just your life or your family’s life…your pets spend more time at your home than you!

The average dog will spend most of their life either at home or with a member of the family going out on one of life’s greatest adventures ever, neighbourhood exploration.Moving home can certainly play on your emotions, but in many ways it can have an even bigger effect on your dog.So what can you do to ensure your dog is ok on moving day?

Before Moving Day
In the same way that your dog knows when they are about to go for a walk, or they just somehow know that you are about to leave, they will detect that something is up.As you start to pack everything into boxes, and the mood changes to one of preparation to leave, they will sense that something strange is going on.

1. Try to make sure that their routine does not get completely re-written. If you would normally walk them every night, don’t fall into the trap of skipping the walk so that you can get more packing done! Dogs are creatures of routine, and whilst you are getting ready to completely change their environment that they live in day to day, the last thing that they need is for part of their normal routine to get changed on them, especially when it is the BEST part!

2. Take them for a visit to the new neighbourhood. Depending on how far you are moving, this may not be the easiest option. There is a definite benefit however in letting your dog get comfortable with the new suburb, the lay of the streets and the new area that he or she will be moving into. The extra time and preparation that goes into making the new location seem a little more familiar will certainly pay off when it comes time for your dog to feel settled in the new home.

3. Update their registration details. Nobody plans for their dog to suddenly escape during moving day, but it can still happen. With all of the activities going on, it only take small miscalculation to have someone open the wrong door and then the dog can be gone and exploring in no time. In this unfortunate event, you want to make sure that if and when he or she gets picked up, that all the registration details will lead them straight back to you.

4. Pack Their Things Last. Keep all of their bedding, toys, food bowls etc out and normally available for them right up until the last items that get moved. It will only add to their stress levels when their favourite blanket is suddenly folded up, boxed up and taken away. It may be tempting to treat moving home as an opportunity to replace the old bedding etc, but this should be avoided. The familiar scent of their items will help to keep them calm and help to make the new place feel like home sooner.

5. Inspect the new place and make sure it is safe. You will know just how great an escape artist your fury friend can be; so don’t take a previous owner or real estate agents word for it when they say that the yard is pet secure. If you know for a fact that your dog is a relative Houdini, then you will need to completely inspect the entire area for potential escape points. Also try and spot any sources of danger, such as chemicals or poisons that have been left in a reachable place.

6. If you suspect they will have a particularly stressful time, talk with your vet. Your vet will be able to supply you with what is known as a calming pheromone dispenser. This is something you can use to synthetically help your dog feel comfortable. You expose them to it just before moving day, and then bring it with you to the new house. The additional scent and pheromones this provides keeps your dog feeling calm and relaxed. 

On Moving Day 
Many people opt to put their dog in a boarding kennel or to have friends and family look after them on moving day. This can be a good option for keeping them away from all the action for the day.

It is best however to make sure that they are somewhere that they are comfortable and preferably in a familiar environment.Alternatively other people choose to set aside an area for the dog to stay at the pick up address and then find the dog a new area at the drop off address. Whichever choice you go with there are a few factors that need to be kept in mind

1. Keep them feeling safe and calm by having all of their ‘comfort’ items close by. Make sure they have all of their favourite toys and bedding with them, as well as adequate food and water. Some extra treats can be a great option for keeping them relaxed and calm on moving day

2. If you are keeping them at the house on moving day, make sure to introduce them to all of the helpers. When people come into your dog’s territory it is important that the dog know that they are a welcome intruder into the home. Take some time to introduce your dog to the removalists. Have your dog smell their hands and get used to the new scents of the workers who will be helping you. Please note, if your dog has a history of snapping, consider that in a stressful environment he/she may be more susceptible to snapping at your friendly furniture removalist.

3. If possible, designate one person to take sole responsibility of the dog on the day. Having a friend or family member who always has the lead ready and is making sure that the dog is coping, with regular pats and attention; can be a great way to make the transition for your furry friend a comfortable one

4. Stay with them when you show them around the new home. During the hustle and bussel of moving day it can be tempting to just put the dog in the new back yard and get on with it. Whilst most dogs may cope well with this and just naturally start exploring, it is beneficial if this initial exploration is done with a family member who they know well. Take them for a walk around the perimeter of the yard and show them that this is a place for them AND their family. 

Every dog reacts a little differently to moving house. The most important thing you can do is to make sure that their routine is adjusted as little as possible, keeping this consistent for them. Make sure that they feel comfortable, trying to not make too many large changes, such as scent of bedding etc. Above all, make sure that they know that the whole family has moved, and that they are not being sent somewhere new all on their own!

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