Moving is a stressful experience. But moving with dogs or children can make everything seem much more chaotic and hectic.
We’ve done six international moves with our dog because of my husband’s job, and while moving day is my least favorite day of the year, we’ve figured out lots of little hacks that help moving day be as stress-free as possible for our dog!
Because she’s our first priority and we like to make sure that she is as relaxed as possible.
Keep The Suitcases Out of Sight
Your dog is a lot smarter than you might think (who am I kidding, we all KNOW that our dogs are geniuses). If you take lots of trips, your dog will likely see your suitcases out in the open and know that a trip is coming up.
This usually means change, which can send your dog into an anxious mindset.
When our dog sees suitcases being packed, we noticed that she begins to get stressed out.
She relates our suitcases to long days at the airport, so we now keep our suitcases out of her sight until the very last minute as to reduce her stress!
It makes packing a bit more challenging, but it’s much better than seeing our pooch stressed.
Your dog will get jetlag! Although it’s kind of cute to watch your dog try and process why it’s pitch black out during their normal playtime, they’re going to feel the same effects you do:
- loss of appetite
You’ll need to try and enforce a routine for your dog (after they’ve had sufficient time to rest from the travel day) so they can begin adjusting to the new time!
Just as your mind may feel a bit confused when you wake up in your new place, your dog will too. When you first arrive, try and show your dog the places they will need to become accustomed to such as where they go to the bathroom, where they will be sleeping, where you will be sleeping and where their food and water can be found.
If you’ve packed a bed for them, then they’ll already have something familiar to remind them home and decrease their confusion.
They might need lots of reassuring that this new and strange home is actually a great place to be, so have patience!
Our dog did a lot of hiding under the bed during the first month we had moved abroad for the first time. We were patient with her and never tried to pull her out from it. We figured that was her “safe place” and that’s where she wanted to go to try and process what was going on.
Once she was content being in her new home, she went under the bed much less frequently!
Your dog may get started easily after a big move! Afterall, they are on-edge trying to understand what has just happened. It’s important for you to be aware that your dog may be a little more “jumpy” than normal so that you can remain calm.
For example, on one of our first walks in our new neighborhood in Denmark, someone opened a car door to get out and it scared the bajeezus out of Kaya (something that normally would have never startled her).
She jumped and was clearly startled. At this time, it was important for me to keep going as if nothing had happened. I definitely didn’t want to be making a big deal of her getting scared over a car door opening (something that will happen lots on our walks) and I definitely didn’t want to bend down and start petting her, which for her would mean I was rewarding her behavior for getting scared (and tell her that her reaction was appropriate).
As much as I wanted to start petting her, I knew that she needed to see that I remained unphased by this incident!
Change of Food
If you are moving countries, you might not be able to find your dog’s normal food. Changing your dog’s food can make your dog sick, so you are going to want to make sure you pack enough of your dog’s current food so you are able to properly switch them over.
If your dog is big, like ours, that means packing lots of food. We don’t mind sacrificing some room in our suitcase for Kaya’s food, however!
Lastly, check city bylaws around animals before you move there. In Denmark, we need to have specific information on Kaya’s dog tags. The pet stores always know what is needed, but it’s important to know this stuff yourself.
Moving with your dog doesn’t need to be a stressful experience! The tips above will ensure you and your entire family have a smooth-move by being prepared for the unexpected.
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About the Author:
Dana is a Sheepadoodle owner and expat in Germany. While living in Europe, Dana and her husband always make sure that when they go on road trips, their pup Kaya gets to come along. Dana loves to highlight dog-friendly places you can travel to with your pooch so that your entire family can have fun together!