Moving is a big life change can be incredibly stressful. We worry, often question, whether we are making the right decision and might even lose sleep. We might experience health issues and may run the risk that moving-induced anxiety simply takes over our lives. It's the same for our pets. Dogs, in particular, are creatures of habit. They don’t always adapt well to change and tend to sense and then mirror our stresses.
Even though moving is a significant adjustment, there are ways to minimize the stress of a move on your dog. Through planning, using available resources and exploring methods to calm and reassure your dog, you can make moving day sail by smoothly.
Get your ducks in a row
Like many of life’s challenges, achieving a peaceful move for your dog calls for a good plan. Experts agree that anticipating problems is one of the most effective methods for minimizing stress. So, to ensure a calm move for your dog, first make a list of items you will need for your dog while you are in between places and when first you arrive at your new home. Food, toys, a favorite blanket. Familiar things can help reduce anxiety.
Then consider what you will need in your new location. If you are moving to a new town, for example, does your dog need to be licensed in that municipality? It’s also crucial to determine if you will need a new veterinarian in advance. You should keep all of your dog’s paperwork available during your move, not packed deep in a box, should you need to access it.
Approach the moving date carefully
Keep in mind, it’s not just the overall move that is stressful, but the sudden chaos that packing can bring. You may have good reasons for packing at the last minute, but avoid the temptation to procrastinate unnecessarily. Although you may be able to deal best with your stress by putting it off, quickly turning your dog’s world upside down will probably heighten Fifi’s nervousness. Ease into the move by bringing moving boxes into the living area early and try to keep a comfortable space aside for your dog that doesn’t get packed up until the end, such as a favorite room.
Increase your one-on-one time with your dog
When planning your move, try to budget some extra time between you and your pooch. Add extra walks, a few more minutes a day of tossing the ball around, or even just some extra cuddle time as a way to lighten stress for both of you. It may seem impossible to fit in leisure when your world is moving so fast, but the additional time will give you and your dog much-needed focus.
Add some calm on moving day
Planning and easing in the move are good tactics, but some dogs just have a nervous disposition. In these cases, or if your dog is skittish over the move, try the following strategies to re-establish serenity:
- Keep a routine. A regular schedule can do wonders for your dog's feelings of stability. It helps them feel comfortable that no matter what changes are brewing, the important things, such as closeness with you, are not going to be affected.
- Distraction. It’s hard for a busy dog to be overly worried. Engage your dog’s brain with play and training activities both during the build-up to the move and while movers are making a commotion.
- Massage. Many dogs calm down from being held or massaged a certain way. A massage also assures your dog that your protecting presence is there.
- Calming music. Soft sounds are especially soothing and distracting if you have to leave your dog while movers are in the house.
A totally stress-free move may not be realistic. You're human and you have just so much going on in your mind, but you can spare your dog from the confusion with simple planning and a few techniques to bring calm to the storm.
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