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Moving House With Your Dog

Moving House With Your Dog
Moving house can be stressful and exhausting not just for humans but dogs as well.

Our four-legged friends don't understand why their environment is changing and this can be a little upsetting, leading to behavioural problems, such as barking and digging up the backyard, and even getting sick.

'Homesick' dogs may also display inappropriate toileting, particularly in the new home, or run away in search of their previous home.

Dr Joanne Sillince from Pets Australia shares some tips on how to make the move a little easier for you and your pooch, and how you can make the transition to living in a new environment less stressful.

Before The Move

  • Try to keep to your dog's routines, such as walking and feeding, in the lead up to the move.
  • Prepare a new identity tag if the contact details are changing and update the microchip details. Best to use your mobile phone number.
  • Register your dog with your new local council.
  • Get a copy of your dog's medical records, including desexing and vaccination certificates, to take to the vet in your new area.
  • Does your dog have special needs, is a senior or ill? Make sure you have  enough medication for the move plus a couple more weeks so there's no rush when you arrive at your new home.
  • Ask your vet about a natural anti-anxiety pheromone plug-in device to use before, during and after the move, to help relax your dog to cope more easily with the change in environment.
  • Research the area you are moving to for any new dangers to be aware of, such as snakes and ticks, and speak to your vet about preparing for these.
  • Make sure your new property has secure fencing upon arrival, including no holes and is of sufficient height. If you're moving nearby, take your dog for a sniff around before the moving day.
  • If you're travelling a long way to your new home and you know your dog suffers from travel sickness, speak to your vet about anti-sickness medications and avoid feeding your pooch for at least six hours before the journey. 

Travel Checklist

Here's a checklist of things you will need for the move:
  • Leash! Make sure your dog's collar has an ID tag.
  • Your dog's usual food and plenty of water.
  • Water and food bowls, toys and treats.
  • Your dog's bed, blankets and any accessories (doggy coat etc).
  • Travel crate if your dog is crate trained (don't start training on the day of the move!).
On the day of the move, make sure your dog gets regular toilet and water breaks, says Dr Sillince.

"Never leave your dog in a parked car as temperatures can rise rapidly and your dog can easily die from the heat," she says.

Upon Arrival

Are you taking your dog with you during the move or leaving him at a kennel or family member/friend until you've settled into your new home?
  • If you're taking Fido with you, upon arrival place him in a small room where he can feel secure, with his bed, food and plenty of water so that he can't escape and get lost or injured.
  • Remember the first few weeks your dog will be adjusting his new surrounding and might misbehave. Be patient and make allowances for initial 'accidents' on the carpet that might occur. Praise your dog for going to the toilet in the correct place, she says.
  • Stick to your usual routines, as this will help your dog to relax. Going for lots of walks will also help your dog settle down and get used to the new surroundings.
If you have any ongoing problems with your dog, consult your new veterinarian for advice, says Dr Sillince.

Topic: Owning a Pet

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