Tips for moving with your dog
Moving from one house to another can be difficult enough without the added
complication of owning pets. Between constant house hunting, meetings with real
estate agents, and making your own house presentable, it’s easy to neglect pets during
this tumultuous period. But you aren’t the only one that’s under stress; changing locales can be even more stressful for your dog since they don’t understand what’s happening. You may not know this, but dogs love routine and consistency, and obviously nothing is routine or consistent about moving. To keep your pets calm and under control throughout the whole process, try following these tips.
For Selling a House
When selling a house, it’s critical that your house is presentable. You will need to make any necessary repairs, mow the lawn, and clean every surface. It’s even advisable to
move the furniture around to open up the house and give it a feeling of being larger. In many instances, it’s also advisable to stage your home, which can mean putting away
clutter, photos, and anything that can be off-putting to a potential buyer. This also means getting the pooches out of the way. Potential buyers will not only be put off by the
presence of dogs, but the sheer existence of them in a home implies damage to some
people. Buyers can come through a home at just about any time, so it’s also important
to make sure to keep your dog entirely out of the home when you have an expected
showing. Also, depending on what breed of dog you have, there could be tumbleweeds of dog fur blowing throughout the house.
The downside of selling your home is that it adds a lot of stress and pressure for your
beloved dog. The best way to help her cope with the changes is to continue with a
regular routine, give lots of extra attention, and provide plenty of walks. Although it will be impossible to keep a routine and remain consistent, there are some ways to try and
keep the disruptions minimal.
Discuss with your realtor your concerns about your pets. Chose only certain days to
show your house, or request a 24-hour advanced notice for all showings. Although this will not eliminate the stress for you or your pups, it will give everyone time to make a
plan. You can then take them for a long walk or drive or out to get some ice cream! Most showings do not last longer than an hour, just enough tie to have some fun.
If possible, you can have one person take the pups out, about 15 minutes before the
showing, while another person stays behind to clean the windows and sweep up the fur tumbleweeds! You may want to keep the dog toys out as well as the dog beds, this
would be a good time to stow them.
An open house is a different story though, they usually last 2-3 hours. If possible, you
might want to plan to have your pups stay at doggie daycare for that day or someone
else’s house. Try to have them stay somewhere they know, so it doesn’t seem too
While House Hunting
As stated above, you should let your real estate agent know if you have a dog, so they
understand you have different considerations and requirements for your new home.
Also, keep your dog in mind when you’re searching for a new house. After all, this will
be their new home, too. Two of the most important elements for your dog will be a yard and the location. Is the yard fenced? Do you need a fence? Can you, legally, install a
fence? If you are buying a house in a subdivision, they may have a Home Owner’s
Association (HOA). The HOA, or the town, may have restrictions on fences. It also helps to scout out the surrounding area when looking at a potential new house. Are there
walking paths nearby? Is there a dog park nearby? Are there other dogs in the
neighborhood? Don’t forget to look for local veterinarians and emergency veterinary
If you have older dogs, you may want to look for a one-story home, or one with
minimal stairs. It is also important to consider the type of flooring in the new house. Some dogs have a hard time walking on tile or hardwood floors.
For Moving In
There are a few effective ways to prepare a dog for the big move. Getting them to spend some time inside a crate each day, if they aren’t accustomed to it, can make them more cooperative moving day arrives. However, if you do not normally crate your dog, do not add this to the routine, it will likely just stress your pup out more. Another useful trick
is to choose a distinctive scent, then spread the scent all around your home. Once it’s
time to make the move, and before the dog arrives, spread that same scent all
throughout the new home. This will ease the dog into her new surroundings. You can
also make the dog more comfortable by simply immersing them in it. Bring the dog to
the new neighborhood to take walks and let them get used to the local smells and
During the move, it might be a good idea to, again, bring your pups to doggie daycare
or a familiar friend during move out and move in day. This will at least limit the
disruptions. Although it will take a while to fully move in, one of the first things you
should do is put out their favorite toys or their dog beds. Walk them around the house
and show them where everything is, including their dog bowls.
If you were able to take your pup on walks around the area before you moved in, he
should already be familiar with some of the scents and sounds. Start up a routine again, whether it is the same routine or a new one. You want to bring routine and consistency back to them as soon as possible.
Dogs are very resilient and adaptable, but always be considerate of canine companions when a move is on the horizon. It’s an important aspect of being a considerate dog owner. Keep the dog’s needs in mind throughout the entire process, from the moment you
put your house on the market until the moment you move into the new one. By doing
so, the whole process will be much less stressful for everyone.
Cindy Aldridge and Michelle Turner
Michelle Turner is a certified dog trainer and behaviorist.