Top Tips for Dog Owners Transitioning to a New Home

Buying a home is exciting and overwhelming.  For your dog, the transition can be especially challenging.  With a few preparations and thoughtful planning, you can make the move go smoothly for you and your four-legged family member.

Prepare your dog.  Moving is stressful and requires a lot of energy and attention.  However, this is an important time to keep up your dog’s routine, and if anything, you should increase the amount of exercise your dog is getting.  As Cesar’s Way explains, spending more time walking and playing will burn excess energy and help your dog relax.  Once in your new place, keep up his daily pattern so your dog can be comforted by the structure it provides.

Your dog’s things.  Your dog takes comfort from smells, sights and routine.  Moving creates upheaval in Fido’s world, so even though you may think you want all new blankets and beds for the new place, this isn’t the time to replace items.  In fact, it’s better to not wash your dog’s bedding in accordance with your move.  The familiarity of the items and how they smell will help your dog feel at home in the new place.  Also, set up Fido’s items in as similar locations as possible - if bowls are usually next to the laundry machines, keep them there in the new home.  Pack your dog’s belongings last, and as some experts suggest, unpack them first.  Set up a space where your dog will be spending a lot of time, and ensure it’s a secure area for those first couple days when doors will be opening a lot.

Contact a vet.  Talk with coworkers, friends and neighbors for recommendations, and get in touch with the veterinarian you expect to use in your new location.  Make an appointment for a checkup; having a relationship will be important should any emergencies arise.  Purchase identification tags with your new contact information in advance of your move.  This way, your dog is up-to-date should he escape in the chaos and confusion of moving.

Prepare the new home.  When you’re looking for a home, one of the most desirable features for dog owners is a fenced yard.  A fence provides safety and security to your dog and your dwelling.  Consider installing a sturdy wooden fence if your new property doesn’t already have one.  HomeAdvisor notes that the average price to install a wood fence is between $1,699 and $4,081.

Inspect landscaping.  Once you settle on a property, take a good look at the yard.  Installing a fence is a great step toward keeping your dog safe, but you should also look for any possible poisonous plants and eliminate them from the area your dog will be able to access.  Also, as Dogster points out, it’s a good idea to give your dog a tour of the property as soon as you arrive.  Walk your pooch around the perimeter of your fence line and allow him to sniff, mark, and make himself at home.  Similarly, when you introduce Fido to the inside of your home, take time to show him around the house, looking at each room together.  Keep your dog leashed so you can provide direction.  Show him where you unpacked his things and allow him to smell those familiar smells.

Stick around.  The first few days in your new home, make every effort to be there with your dog.  Having you close by will provide security and calm your pooch. As professionals note, your dog doesn’t understand what’s happening, so his anxiety will be high.  Keep up your dog’s schedule and take extra walks in the neighborhood.  It’s a great chance to meet your new neighbors, and your dog will benefit by becoming familiar with the area and from the added exercise.

Welcome home!  Moving with your dog is challenging.  With some thoughtful preparations, both you and your dog can make the transition a smooth one.  You and Fido will feel right at home in no time!

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