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Moving with Your Dog

Updated on June 3, 2014
A dog, comfortable in its new home.
A dog, comfortable in its new home. | Source

By Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin All Rights Reserved

A move is stressful, with the bane of furniture and tons of paperwork to administer. Keeping track of odds and ends is a complete hassle.

The move is completely annoying for you, but what about your dog? While they are not taxed by mountains of paper work and furniture, getting accustomed to a new home is overwhelming for them.

It is vital to get your pet adjusted to a new home for practical reasons. These pointers will serve as a guide to managing situations that fluster both you and your pet.

A dog about to move may suffer from emotional problems.
A dog about to move may suffer from emotional problems. | Source

A dog’s reaction to moving to a new home

Take a little time to empathize with your pet and you will understand why he will find a move as draining as you will.

1. Limited understanding

A move is taxing for a pet as it is for you. While animals have the capacity for understanding, they will find it difficult to make sense of the chaos happening around them.

The abrupt changes can be completely overwhelming.

2. Dealing with unfamiliarity

Unfamiliarity can be more taxing for your pet than it is for you. Pet owners know that dogs are creatures of routine.

It disrupts them to lose their familiar sleeping locations, sights and smells as it does for you.

3. Nervousness and excitement

Those who are owners of more feisty terrier dog breeds as I do will understand how nervously excited they are.

My West Highland White, Cloudy, becomes so excited when changes happen that she becomes slightly incontinent. A potty-trained pooch, she exhibits such behavior whenever a visitor arrives.

What would your pet face if he moves into a new home?

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Why we must get a dog used to a new home

The last concern we want on our minds in the midst of a busy move is untoward behavior. Unfortunately, these may affect your dog at such inopportune moments.

Having a few contingencies to address them helps preempt unwanted problems.

1. Emotional Problems

Mirroring humans, dogs manifest depression when uprooted. As children do, they feel sadness when taken away from the friends and surroundings they know well.

They may manifest these problems with symptoms such as withdrawal or a refusal to eat, both of which can cause headaches for an already flustered owner.

2. Behavioral Problems

Separation anxiety and depression may show themselves in behavior problems too. A dog may eliminate where it should not. It may also start chewing slippers or displaying aggression.

3. Physical ailments

Though this sounds whimsical, the Nocebo effect applies to canines as it does to us. Dogs become ill because of their perception of negative circumstances and an abrupt move is one of these situations.

Tips for moving with your dog

How to get a dog used to its new home

Getting a dog used to a new home is no small effort. It means a host of considerations, including travel and acclimatizing it to its new environment.

Steps for a smooth move need to be taken before, during and after the move has been made to your new home.

Step 1: Before the move

Find out if you need to prepare your pet’s medical records. If you are moving over a long distance, obtain your pet’s veterinary records for the vet in your new area.

Ask about licensing requirements in your new area. Make arrangements for the dog to travel by car or air, as they aren’t allowed on buses or trains.

If you are traveling by air, you will need to get your dog accustomed to a crate. Put this in the living room with your furniture so that the dog goes into it voluntarily.

As soon as you have your new address, get a new pet ID tag. Let your pet wear both his old and new tags so that he can be found if he is lost in the middle of the move.

Pack your dog's belongings, such as his food bowl, chew toys and leash, in a travel kit before your move.

Step 2: During the move

On the day you move, place the dog in a safe, quiet area such as a bathroom. Place a “Do Not Enter” sign to inform others that they are not supposed to be in that area.

Assign a family member to ensure that the dog is not left behind.

Traveling by car

If your dog loves car rides, you may want to familiarize him with a restraining harness. Do not let him stick his head out of the window as he may either jump out or be pelted by debris.

If he does not like car rides, consult your vet for medication or advice on behavior modification.

Never leave it alone in a parked vehicle or in a trunk of a car, especially in warm weather. The open area of a truck or the back of a moving van are not safe areas for your dog in cases of an abrupt stop.

Traveling by air

If you are traveling by air, find out about any restrictions the airline you are using may have about carrying pets. Ask if the airline requires a specific carrier.

If your pet has to be in the cargo area, ensure that it is temperature controlled. Airlines that allow pets to travel in-cabin are:

(a) Air Canada

(b) Air France

(c) American Airlines

(d) Delta Airways

(e) JetBlue

Again, consult the airline for restrictions.

Step 3: Getting Your Dog Used to Your New Home

When at your new home, open your pet’s crate to see if he has sustained any injuries. Keep him locked in his crate until you have decided that it is safe for him to be let out.

If he has separation anxiety or depression, spend some time playing with him and assuring him that he is in his new home.

Set up your dog’s belongings to give him a sense of familiarity. Secure his new tag on his collar.

Take him for a walk around the new neighborhood to acquaint him with his new surroundings. Introduce your dog to new friends, neighbors and other dogs too.

Keep an eye out for resources such as dog parks, groomers and pet care stores.

My West Highland White Terrier, Cloudy, making friends
My West Highland White Terrier, Cloudy, making friends | Source


Moving your pet to a new home is not such a daunting process if you put these measures in place.


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    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Debra!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you,VVanness.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Thelma!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore


    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks Bill.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Rasma!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      7 years ago from West By God

      Lots of great tips here.

    • VVanNess profile image

      Victoria Van Ness 

      7 years ago from Fountain, CO

      Very cute hub with great tips! Nice job!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      7 years ago from Germany

      I can relate. My dog Angus moved with us 3 times in different countries. Now he is in the Philippines and is already acclimatize and had adopted some Pinoy dog habits like barking. He was in a cargo while my hubby and I were in the economy class of KLM bound to Manila without stopover. We were lucky as there´s no more direct flight with this plane nowadays. Thanks for sharing this useful and informative topic. One should prepare for the move with their dogs.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great hub midget....very useful information! I wondering if every dog(breed) reacts to a change in environment exactly the same.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oddly, I have never moved when I owned a dog, and I have moved a great deal. Wonderful topic and tips here Michelle.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Nithya!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      That's always the hard part, Devika. Sometimes circumstances force owners to do that...but all is well if the new owners are responsible!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Mark! Yes. That nervousness has caused Cloudy's escape a number of times! Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Phew! Good thing too, alexadry!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Nell! It takes some a little time to adjust, and this is exactly what I'm saying.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Rebecca!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks Travmaj! I will let her know you said that!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, some dogs can be rather sensitive! Thanks for sharing, Peggy.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      7 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      Very informative hub. We have a cat and I have been wondering if at any time we would make a big move how this would affect him.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Heidi! Yes, it takes longer to teach an older dog new tricks!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Chitra. Yes, moving for pets is extremely stressful.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I never had to moved with my dogs and no choice but to leave them with new owners that was my hardest part with pets. A very interesting insight to pets and the issues faced when moving with them.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      7 years ago

      We have moved with our dogs several times, they even followed us on a transatlantic flight to Europe! They always did fine and were happy as long as they were with us.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      What great advice Michelle, I remember when we moved our dog wasn't too bad, but we did have to leave her for a while with a relative, and she was really confused about who she wanted to be with when we took her back, but she was fine after a while, voted up and shared! nell

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      7 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      What a cute photo of you, baby and cloudy. This was a good topic and you did it justice even listing airlines that transport pets. Good job. Thanks!

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      7 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Great article. In your section about getting the dog used to her new home, you might also mention that the owner should take the dog for a walk and show her the property lines. Like you mentioned with the tags, many dogs end up jumping the new fence and running off just because they are not sure where they should be.

      Voted up and shared.

    • travmaj profile image


      7 years ago from australia

      Very sound advice Michelle, most dogs like routine. Taking them outside their comfort zone is challenging for them. Cloudy looks delightful.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We have not moved that often but since having pets, they have always moved with us and we have fortunately had no problems. I am sure that they do not understand why their normal routines are being so disrupted with all of the packing, etc. involved. It must certainly be a time of high stress for them!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      7 years ago from Dubai

      Great tips for a hassle free move with your dog. Your dog is way too cute, great photo.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      7 years ago from Chicago Area

      Moving is tough for everyone, but especially pets of all types! We even had to get our dogs used to a new home that was only one block away from our old house.

      We also had two dogs who had to travel from the breeder to their new home here by air. Since they were puppies, they handled it pretty well and were exhausted. But I can imagine it would be more traumatic for older dogs.

      LOVE the adorable photos! Voted up and sharing!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very helpful tips for those moving to some new place with their dog.

      I don't have a dog, but I do have two pairs of Australian parrots. And you are right, I noted a significant change in their behavior, when we had shifted to a new location recently. It takes time for pets too to get accustomed to a new place.

      Thanks for this useful and interesting hub! Voted up!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, they do take a little time!! Thanks for sharing, Mary!!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      7 years ago from Florida

      My dog, Baby, had a tough time adjusting to our new home. She missed her big yard she played in, and now has to settle for a dog trolley. We have been here for six months, and I'd say it took her at least 2 months to adjust.

      Wish I'd read your Hub before our move!

      Voted up, etc. and will share.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Moving to a new town with your pet doesn't need to be such a hassle.


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