Moving Preparations for Dog Owners

The following information has been adapted from "Creating a Peaceable Kingdom: How to Live with More Than One Pet," by Cynthia D. Miller.

* Pre-Move Visit

If you are moving a short distance away, take your dog to the new house to explore before you actually move.

Create a Safe Room

Animals will be anxious with all the excitement of packing and moving.

* Avoid hectic rushing; begin packing early. Move your pets last.

* On moving day, place pets in a safe room for security and to minimize their stress. Clear the room of boxes and furniture so moving helpers don't have to enter.

* Another reason for a safe room: protective dogs may act aggressively to people entering the home and moving furniture. Even a friendly, calm dog can be nervous during the stressful period of a move.

* Set up the animal's favorite bed, dishes, toys, crate if the animal is used to being crated.

* Don't confine animals together unless they are used to being together. Use separate rooms if necessary.

* Place a sign on the door instructing "Do Not Open" to prevent someone from letting the pets loose.

* Take time with your pets each day during the moving period.

* You can also take your pet to a friend's or family member's house, or board the dog for the day.

Move-in Day

* Have new ID tags ready and put them on your pets.

* To reduce confusion and stress at move-in, put animals in a secure room and close the door. Set up the animal's area as soon as possible.

* Bring water from your previous home if it is different than water in the new home and gradually mix it.

* Consider eating in instead of leaving the dog for a lengthy time the first day.

* Try to maintain a somewhat normal schedule of feeding and outings.

* Let the animal have access to the new house one or two rooms at a time, particularly if he seems anxious, and let him feel secure before introducing him to new areas.

* Make sure the pet knows where his stuff is -- bed, crate, litter box, toys, eating area. Use the same toys and dishes during the transition to give the pet a sense of security.

* Avoid babying an animal when he is stressed. This will not help alleviate his anxiety -- it will only perpetuate and reward it.

* Be understanding, keep yourself calm and keep things as normal as possible to make the transition smoother.

Rental Inspection

* If you are renting, make a list of any existing damage and take photos if necessary. This record should be signed by you and your landlord.

* Be willing to promptly fix any damage your animals caused. Being a responsible renter furthers the possibility of more landlords opening their doors to animal lovers.

Cautionary Notes About Newly Constructed and Remodeled Homes

* Problems include toxic fumes released during the building process. Fumes become trapped in your house, taking as much as five years to dissipate. A common problem is formaldehyde and is accompanied by an array of toxins.

* New carpets may pose a health concern for pets, since animals' systems are more compact than human's, and they spend more time on the floor.


Note: Last week's tip addressed preparing for personal emergencies. PAW volunteer Ginnie Maurer adds this helpful advice:

Pet owners using pet-sitters should have a plan of action understood by both parties. For example, the owner might arrange to call the pet-sitter by 6 p.m. to confirm that the owner is OK and plans to return by X:XX. The owner can assemble key pet records, photos of each pet, emergency contact info, etc. in a file that the pet-sitter knows how to access. If the pet-sitter doesn't hear from the owner by, say, the next morning, then the pet-sitter would know to take action (for example, returning to the owner’s home to feed and walk the pets). Another tip: a relatively safe place to keep personal records is in the freezer.


For more Dog Tips about pet care, adoption and the work PAW does, visit our website at:

Partnership for Animal Welfare, Inc.
P.O. Box 1074, Greenbelt, MD 20768