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Before the Move Dogs can have a very difficult time with the process of moving, both in terms of the traveling and getting used to a new home. When their daily schedule is disrupted,dogs can become nervous and may behave strangely. A new environment can also be a major source of anxiety for a dog, and it may take some time before your do gets readjusted.
Try to make everything as normal as possible in the days leading to your move, feeding and playing with your dog as usual. Try to keep the scheduleuninterrupted despite all of the arrangements you’re making for the move itself. If your dog is known to be especially prone to nervousness and anxiety, you may want to ask a friend to care for your dog during the time surrounding your move. This may help reduce the chances of it getting upset, running away or hiding in one of the moving boxes. This could also help cut down on the stress for your dog. Many states require a Health Certificate. For more information, check with your veterinarian or the State Regulatory Agency located in your new state.
Moving your Dog by Car
Some dogs are very comfortable with traveling in a car, and even look forward to going for a ride; however, if your dog is not used to car travel, it is recommended to take it on short rides before the trip to help it get accustomed to the motion of the car.
If you are traveling by car with your dog, keep it in its crate and don’t allow the dog to put its head out of the window; dirt and insects can fly into its eyes and can cause irritation and/or infection. Remember to keep your power windows locked to prevent your dog from lowering the window and jumping out. If your car does not have air conditioning, leave the windows cracked 1-1 1/2 inches. Many states require a Health Certificate. For more information, check with your veterinarian or the State Regulatory Agency located in your new state.
Pet Pack Checklist
  • Take a supply of water from your home; different water on the road can cause upset stomachs for dogs.
  • Foods, pet treats, can opener and a dish.
  • An old bed sheet or blanket to protect your car upholstery.
  • A favorite toy or two, and an old t-shirt or rag with your scent on it.
  • Medication your dog may need.
  • Paper towels and a sponge just in case your dog gets car sick.
  • Grooming brush and/or comb.
  • Scooper and plenty of plastic bags.
  • Room deodorizer for hotel rooms.
Moving your Dog by Air
If you are traveling by air, your dog will benefit from travel arrangements that provide for a direct flight. This will prevent unnecessary time away from you and limit the stress your dog experiences during the travel.
It is important to use a comfortable and sturdy carrier, we cannot stress this enough. A carrier should be large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lie down. It must have enough cross-ventilation and a leak-proof bottom with layers of absorbent lining. It should have a secure closing mechanism on the door, but do not lock the kennel door. Federal regulations require that your dog be accessible in the event of an emergency. It is recommended that you get your dog accustomed to the carrier several days before by using it as a bed. Placing a favorite toy or blanket inside will make your pet feel more secure. Have your dog’s nails trimmed prior to traveling, as nervous dogs frequently resort to scratching behaviors. This will limit damage to the travel carrier and will also prevent the dog from harming itself. Some airlines allow dogs inside the passenger cabin (first come, first serve basis); keep in mind that your dog will have to be placed in a pet carrier no longer than 21″x18″x8″, small enough to fit under the seat. Be sure to ask about transportation charges and pet insurance.
Travel Checklist
  • Remember to have all required health documents.
  • Make sure the Identification Tag is attached to your dog.
  • Have a recent photo of your dog with you.
  • Pet container in order and that complies with airline regulations – Write the words “FRAGILE – LIVE ANIMAL” and “THIS SIDE UP”.
  • Feed your dog a light meal 5-6 hours before flight time; but do not give it water 2 hours prior to take-off, except on very hot days.
  • Exercise your dog (on a leash) at the airport and administer any require medications.
  • After placing your dog in the carrier, be sure to secure the closing mechanism and fasten the leash to the outside of the container.
  • Scooper and plenty of plastic bags.
  • Unless it is absolutely necessary, it is best not to sedate your dog.
Upon Arrival at your New Home
  • After you have completed your travels, try to help your dog become familiarized with its new home as quickly as possible. Resume the usual schedule of feeding, walking, and exercise, and take extra care of getting your dog used to its new home when conditions are very different; for example, if your old home had a big yard and your new home has none, take your dog to the park to play and walk.
  • Your dog may need some time to adjust after the stress of the move. Don’t panic if some accidents occur during the first few days of adjusting, as your dog will most likely stop this behavior after it has gotten used to the new living arrangements. Give your dog words of encouragement for going potty in the right place when he does so.
  • Just as you will do for yourself, you should arrange a comfortable sleeping area for your dog immediately upon arrival at the new home. Additionally, set up food and water bowls in their new location when you arrive. This will help your dog to adjust more quickly and easily and to establish its new routine. At your new home, do a quick safety check to ensure that both the outdoor and indoor areas are dog friendly. If there is a fenced-in yard, check to make sure that the fence is in good condition and that it is free of damaged areas that may allow your dog to escape. Make sure that the yard is free of hazards that could be dangerous to your dog.
Learn more about moving your pets
For a list of State Regulatory Agencies, click here.
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