ARE YOU MOVING? GET YOUR DOG READY FOR THE BIG DAY!
It's that time of year again: moving day is around the corner!
Relocating is a very stressful event for our pets, who see their universe being completely disrupted and can't understand what's going on. Your dog's sense of security is based first and foremost on your presence, your attitude, and a familiar, predictable routine. Your dog will follow you, wherever you go.
What can you do to make things go smoothly?
Have your dog boarded
For a few days before and after the big day, both you and your pet could benefit from having him stay at a boarding facility, preferably one that he already knows. This will protect him from accidents and mishaps, noise, and the presence of strangers in his home. Most importantly, this will prevent him from running off, ingesting something harmful, or overreacting to what is happening. If boarding him is not an option, put him into a crate to which you have accustomed him by means of a fun activity, or recreate his chill-out spot, in a confined area from which he can see you. Be sure to give him regular attention and exercise.
Arriving in your new home
If the trip is long, and if your dog does not cope well with car rides, consider asking your vet for medication against travel sickness.
To help your dog settle into his new environment more quickly, make sure that your furniture and his (unwashed!) belongings are already installed in their permanent locations before his arrival. Recreate his chill-out spot as soon as possible.
Get ready for his arrival by scattering treats around the home; this will encourage him to explore his new surroundings.
When he arrives, start by having him do his business at the spot you have chosen for this purpose. You should also show him the door you want him to use to tell you when he needs to go outside. Remember that this is all new to him. If he has a little "accident" indoors, that is not his fault and you must not scold him. It's your job to teach him the ropes right from the start, and to do so calmly.
A calming pheromone diffuser can be very helpful when a dog is acclimatizing to a new environment.
Establishing a routine
As soon as you can, try to re-establish the familiar household routine. In particular, set a schedule and a regular route for walks, as well as schedules for playtimes, mealtimes and family activities. Your dog needs the comfort of getting back into a cozy routine. Of course, if there are any new rules he must learn, such as no-go areas in his new home, you must teach him these as soon as possible.
Meeting your new neighbours
A new neighbourhood means new neighbours. Why not take the initiative and introduce yourself, as well as your dog? You can give them your contact details and urge them to get in touch with you if your dog barks excessively while you are out. This would be a respectful way of showing that you are a responsible dog owner. You could also introduce your dog to the mail carrier, to get things off to a good start by creating a bond of mutual trust. (You could even slip a couple of treats into the mailbox for the mail carrier to give to your dog, if necessary.)
Based on your knowledge of your pet's needs and habits, try to create an environment in which he can return to a balanced daily routine. If you see signs that your dog is having trouble adjusting (loss of appetite, soiling, prolonged barking when you are out, etc.), contact your veterinary team right away.
Every year, moving season swells the numbers of missing and abandoned pets. If you have to part with your pet — or if you are thinking of adopting one — , your veterinary team can refer you to a shelter.