One of the more stressful experiences in a person’s life is moving to a new home. Just imagine how anxiety inducing it must be for a dog—he or she has no idea what’s happening! All of a sudden their routine is disrupted, new people are coming and going in and out of their space and objects in their home are being packed and rearranged. Then they find themselves in a completely new environment where nothing is familiar or recognizable.
A move can be very upsetting from a dog’s perspective, but there are ways to help them settle in and feel at home. Signs of distress in dogs after moving Once you’ve moved into your new home, you may notice that your pooch isn’t quite themselves. You may observe some or all of these behaviours: • Restlessness • Barking at night • Pacing • Chewing furniture • Whining • Reverting to puppy-like antics such as having indoor “accidents” How to help your dog settle into a new home A period of adjustment will likely follow the initial move. However, you can help your dog acclimatize to their new environment more quickly by providing the following: 1. Play and Affection. It’s all too easy to accidentally overlook your pet while dealing with the details of moving. But being ignored is very distressing for dogs. Taking time out to give your pup plenty of calm attention will ease their mind. Be sure to play with them actively every day as it will tire them out and help them relax. 2. Familiar smells. A dog’s world is all about smell. Having recognizable scents around will comfort them in new surroundings. Bring along a few old toys, their bed and food bowls. Put these in the new home before introducing your dog to the space. The smell of their own belongings will help them feel safe. 3. Familiar routines. Remember to keep a consistent schedule. A routine provides reassuring predictability for a dog in otherwise unusual circumstances. Daily routines like feeding, play and bed times should be kept the same as they were at the previous home. You should also implement the same rules. 4. Patience. Your dog can take days, or even weeks, to get comfortable in a new place. Let them wander the new home freely. If they want to hide under the bed or behind a door, let them. They will come out when they’re ready. Trying to force your dog into the new environment will worsen their anxiety. 5. Plan ahead. To keep stress to a minimum while your dog is adjusting to your new digs, take care of all vaccinations, grooming or vet visits prior to the move. Find a vet in Toronto Once you’re settled, you’ll need to locate a trustworthy animal hospital in Toronto. At Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital, we care about your pets as much as you do. Contact us—or visit us at our walk-in clinic—to discuss your animal care needs.