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I’ve moved into more than 20 homes, thanks mostly to the military. Having had two dogs along the journey, I’ve moved into 13 homes in 3 countries and six states with a dog. Moving doesn’t have to be stressful for either you or your pet. Preparation and knowing what to pack for moving with your dog is the key to a smooth move with a pet. My best buddy, Lila, is a veteran mover and shares some of our favorite tips.
My dog, Lila, is the dog with the lampshade (or curtain) on her head at a party. She’s an exuberant, fun-loving, adventurous, soul. She’s also incredibly loyal and never left my side when I had surgery and could only lay helplessly on my back (like an overturned turtle). She’s been right by my side (never farther than a few feet away) through a tough year of four life-changing losses. To say she’s my best buddy, doesn’t even begin to describe our relationship.
Although she’s always up for an adventure, she still isn’t a big fan of the moving process (but then, who really is?). Because she always wants to be with us (and we feel the same, of course), we’ve found ways to make moving with our dog go smoothly for us.
Moving with Your Dog
Start by printing your free copy of the Moving with Your Dog What to Pack Checklist. Find a small suitcase or bag to designate as your dog’s moving bag. Take Your Dog for a Vet Check Before Traveling – Several months before moving, visit your veterinarian.
- Make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date.
- Discuss required travel documention.
- Discuss quarantine requirements at your destination.
- Discuss tranquilizers, if needed, to make travel more comfortable for your dog.
- About two weeks before your departure, pick up a copy of your dog’s vet records to carry with you.
Microchip Your Dog and Register Her Information – If your dog is not already microchipped, do it now. Be sure to register or update your contact information.
- With the stress of moving, it’s possible that your dog will run or wander away at a stop along your trip. You may not have the luxury of hours or days to hunt for her. With a microchip, you can be reunited with your dog later.
- If your dog is lost during shipment, you can be reunited with her if she is microchipped.
- Once you are settled in your new location, your dog may be confused and try to return to your previous home. With a microchip, you can be reunited.
Consistently Feed Your Dog Quality Food Weeks Prior to Travel – Moving will mostly like be stressful for your dog and that often results in gastro upset. Feeding your dog a quality dog food consistently prior to moving helps settle her stomach before the stress starts.
Maintain a Calm, Supportive Relationship with Your Dog – Inevitably you’ll be stressed during the move and that will influence your dog. You know how in-touch your dog is with your moods. Do your best to remain calm, particularly around your dog. To the best of your ability, continue your dog’s routines. For example, if you go for a walk every morning, continue it. If you sit and watch TV together, continue to. You may have to shorten the duration of these activities, but do put in the time to maintain your relationship.
Provide Your Dog with Exhausting Exercise Several Days Prior to Your Travel – We all know that “a tired dog is a calmer dog.” Plan to exercise your dog well for several days prior to your move. It will help reduce her stress and potential acting out. A nice long run or walk is good for both of your stress levels.
Pack the Only the Critical Items – Your dog doesn’t need lots of things to be well-cared-for during your move, she only needs you and a few key items. Designate your dog’s own suitcase or bag filled with:
- Water and Food Bowl – Choose easy-to-clean, non-breakable bowls.
- Crate – Your dog will feel more secure in an unfamiliar hotel room or new home if you crate her in her familiar crate.
- Veterinary Records and Micro-chip Information
- Bed or Blanket – If your dog usually sleeps in a bed and you can, bring it. It will provide familiarity and comfort for your dog in hotels and your new home. Bring a blanket if it’s cold and your dog will need it for warmth.
- Poop Bags – Be a responsible dog owner.
- Wipes and Paper Towels – You may need to clean up after your dog.
- Favorite Dog Toy – Bring one or two favorite and familiar stress-relieving dog toys. There’s no need for a bunch of toys. You and a walk are the very best toys for your dog.
- Food and Water – Bring your your dog’s quality dog food along. This is not the time to change her dog food. Pack enough food for your travels plus 1-2 days (just in case you are stranded during your travels).
Make Plans to Purchase a Long-Term Supply of Dog Food – You may not have room to pack a large bag of dog food. Plan to purchase a long-term supply of your dog’s regular dog food as soon as possible. This is not the time to change your dog’s food. That can lead to stomach upset and you don’t want that compounded by potential stomach upset from the stress of moving. Planning is key.
Lila can personally recommend Nature’s Recipe dog food because she loves it and it Fuels the Wag. For 35 years, Nature’s Recipe has been producing premium recipes with high quality ingredients and Natural Recipes with added vitamins and recipes. Nature’s Recipe is newly available in your local grocery store, so it’s easy to find when you’re moving to a new locale.
I found Nature’s Recipe at my local Giant food Store, an Ahold banner store. You can currently earn $3 back when you purchase any one Nature’s Recipe product with this Checkout 31 Offer.
Don’t Leave Your Dog Unattended in a Hotel Room or New Location – Your dog doesn’t understand when you leave her in a hotel room for just a little bit to run out to dinner. You are her only constant during a move, so make sure that you don’t leave her alone. If you must leave her alone, be sure to place her in her crate for her comfort and safety (and the safety of your temporary lodging). Never leave your dog unattended in a car. Not only because of the impact of high or low temperatures, but also because being left alone compounds her stress during a move.
Exercise Your Dog During the Trip – Exercise is a great way to reduce your dog’s and your own stress level. Keeping her stress level down will help reduce acting out and destructive behavior. Simply walking and running her around the hotel parking lot long enough to tire your dog out will make a big positive impact.
Provide Consistent and Calm Interaction with Your Dog – Be purposeful in consistently interacting with your dog. Don’t neglect her and don’t over-pamper. You’ll be busy and stressed yourself, but you can cognitively understand what’s happening during the move. Your dog can’t. What she does understand in your attitude and interaction with her. Support her by purposefully maintaining a calm, supportive relationship with her.
With some planning and purposeful choices, moving with your dog can go smoothly for you and your dog. She’s your best friend and wants to move with you. Take the time and effort to make it a good move for her. You know she’d do it for you. Be sure to check out the Nature’s recipe website for more inspiration for feeding your favorite dog.