Dog Moving Anxiety, Stress & Relocation To A New Home

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Relocating to a new place is undoubtedly a turbulent change for you, your family, and your four-legged doggy friends. 

But do dogs stress when you change homes, and if so, what are the signs of anxiety and stress? Are you worried about your dog freaking out in your new home? Or maybe it hurts to watch your dog stressed and acting differently after moving?

Luckily, there are steps you can take to help with dog-moving anxiety. 

To have a less negative experience, feel better, and continue everyday life during and after the move, keep reading this guide and learn the valuable tips and information we have to share on reducing the stress of relocation and making your pet feel safe in your new home.

Dogs Have Phobias, Anxieties & Fears, Too! 

Dogs Have Phobias

Paw buddies are commonly afraid of specific daily life events, such as thunderstorms, fireworks, animal encounters, strangers approaching, vacuum cleaner noise, etc., which trigger phobia and anxiety. Phobia derives from the Latin word for fear. Dog bodies prepare for freeze, fight, or flight. This is an instinct in all canines and a core reaction of how the species used to survive in the wild.

Just as with humans, psychological trauma could severely affect sanity, vitality, and ultimately, health; thus, underestimating makes it dangerous.

How Would I Know If My Dog Is Anxious?

Dogs are quite stoic and won’t always let us know how they feel, so signs of fearful behaviors might be very subtle.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Pacing or shaking 
  • Whining, barking 
  • Scary sounds
  • Shedding
  • Changes in bodily functions
  • Hiding or escaping behavior
  • Physical action

Troublesome signs listed above mean that your pup needs some positive one-on-one time, your undivided personal attention, and bonding time. As a pet parent, you may wonder what you can do to make your fur baby feel less anxious.

We gathered a few easy-to-implement and practical tips on mental stimulation to help you alleviate the stress and make your dog feel comfortable in your new home. 

Pacing Or Shaking

Think of your dog after bath time or when it rolls in the grass. That whole body shake can be amusing and is normal unless it is canine body language for a stressful situation caused by worry and displacement behavior. 

For example, our furry friends commonly get stressed when bringing them to the vet, meaning they need additional attention. When they feel on edge, dogs tuck their tails, tremble, or pace around to relieve the unnecessary stress. 

Whining, Barking, Scary Sounds

Vocalization is standard self-expression in dogs, but it may become more intense when under stress. Dogs afraid or tense may whine or bark to get your attention or to calm themselves. 

Scary Sounds

Something as simple as the sound of packing tape or the vacuum cleaner can feel traumatic and trigger an anxiety attack.

Shedding 

Stressful situations can cause a dog to shed its coat excessively, which could be mistaken for a number of chronic health conditions. This can happen at the vet clinic, in a new park, and during a house move. Keep an eye out for fur balls lying around, as it is one sign your dog is anxious.

Bodily Functions Change

A change in the environment can completely disrupt the bathroom routine of your pup, leading to awful smells, alarming sounds, and anxious behavior. Canines can either empty their bowels excessively or refuse to relieve themselves altogether in such uncomfortable situations. 

Either way, such behavior is worrisome and needs some positive reinforcement. Because of anxiety, dogs can even forget their potty training or the rules set at your previous home address. It could take days or even weeks before they return to the way things used to be.  

Hiding & Escaping Behavior

Stressful situations can cause a dog to shed its coat excessively, which could be mistaken for a Amid your relocation, your four-legged friend can express its anxiety by hiding behind furniture, moving boxes, or laying in a quiet corner. Also, your dog may commit to avoidance activities, such as digging or circling around as a means of active escape behavior.

Physical Signs 

Physical actions such as dilated pupils, a tale behind their legs, a low head profile, and shivers are the most common forms of body posture signs to signal doggo stress.

Microchip & ID Tag Your Pup

Microchip ID Tag Your Pup

The best time to microchip and ID-tag your dog is right before you leave on your move, and make sure that both tag and registry have your up-to-date phone number. If your mutt does get separated from you, the last thing you want is to have calls at a number you no longer have access to.

Obedience-Train & Behavior-Modify Your Dog

Having a professional trainer to crate-train a puppy is one thing, but training an older dog is possible, too!

The right dog obedience coaching tips can help you, and your dog moves, and help you teach your dog basic obedience commands like sit, stay, heel, and come. 

Teach your tail-wagger to focus on your voice and not the neighbors, their cat, kids, or car. Mastering verbal, body language, eye contact control, and leash laws guarantee that you baffle unexpected and unwanted behavior.

By learning to follow commands, dogs fully transfer trust to your leadership and thus calm down in a stressful or dangerous situation. Play lie-down, keep the ball, sniff, and hold still to get a dog to obey.

An expert tip: Off-leash and home relocation don’t go along.

Cut Pooch Food Portions On Moving Day

Dog with food bowl

On the date of your move, you should cut down puppy food by about a third, minimizing the risk of surprise while on the road (especially Diarrhea). Dogs are susceptible to motion sickness, just like humans, and feeding your pup while in the crate does pose a risk.

To get rid of motion sickness and the risk of loss of bowel function, to help your pooch feel much more comfortable, offer smaller portions that are easy to digest while you’re driving or riding in a car, and advise the movers

Arm Yourself With Doggy Treats

Nothing works better for crate training as a command and reward system. 

We recommend using a fine selection of calming treats for dogs, so you have full control during a stressful move. 

Consider A Travel Crate For Dogs

Do Dogs Like Crates

Not all pups like crates. A stressed-out dog can overreact far beyond command and control, while others cry day and night to rip your heart apart. 

In these extreme cases, it’s best to use and escape-proof a crate and possibly a cover (don’t worry, it’s safe). Make sure you have the necessary preparation to handle often poop or pee needs, thirst, water, and how handle barking in the crate, regardless of the crate type or size you have.

Are You Going On A Long-Distance Move? 

  • Learn how to crate your dog for 12 hours or more.
  • Learn if your pup should sleep in the crate and what to do.

For Short-Distance Moves

Or maybe your new home is within walking distance, but you want a dog carrier bag so your puppy doesn’t stray around?

Distract Your Pup During the Move

Explore our favorite crate games for dogs to teach self-control and motivation. Gamification is the best means to prevent and contra-act to worry.

Dog Crate Surroundings After The Move

Doing the right pup crate set-up and surroundings at your new location is as important as the move itself! A controlled environment and calm interactions are best for sensitive pups.

Stick To Established Canine Routines

For example, if your dog is used to getting up at the same time in the morning and going to the yard or park for a 45-minute walk, then stick to routines at your new house. 

Does it “do its business” first and then have breakfast? 

Whatever your pet’s pattern may be, keep it the same as it slowly gets to feel safer in its new home.

  • Don’t try to come up with a new routine or schedule.
  • Stick to the basics, as the new environment is stressful enough for your dog, so there is no need to add more changes to its daily routine.
  • Ensure the normality your fur baby craves, and it will adjust quickly to the new setting. 

Don’t Leave Your Tail-Wiggler Alone Too Long.

How To Make A Dog Crate Escape-Proof

Most canines are sensitive to being in a new environment, so don’t leave them for extended periods of time right away. This will likely trigger dog separation anxiety and cause them to spiral. Try to wait as long as possible before you leave them all alone in the new house.

If your work doesn’t allow that, try forming a schedule with your family, so you can take turns reassuring the dog. Having one person in the home will help them feel safe and adjust easier to the new setting. 

When first leaving your pet alone, exit ‌at a time when it normally rests, sleeps or plays with toys. This will help with separation anxiety and improve the adjustment process.

Bring Out Comfort Items 

When you arrive at your new home, the first thing to do is put your dog’s bed, favorite blanket, food, and water bowl in an easily accessible place to ensure your pet is ready to get settled in.

Also, most dogs have favorite toys or other comfort items, so keep these lying around to alleviate their anxiety and encourage positive associations. Check our tips on DIY dog toys to keep your pets busy.

Keep Familiar Smells

It is known that dogs have a strong sense of smell, which is often the main trigger that ‌sets off anxiety, especially if they can’t smell a familiar scent. 

When you reach your new home, we recommend you take the time and sit down on the floor with your furry friend. Enjoy some quality time with them and leave your smell around the floor so they get more accustomed to the new environment.

If there’s a certain scent you have or cologne you use all the time, don’t be afraid to use it throughout your new place. Avoid washing your dog’s beds or towels for a while, as your pet must sense the home’s familiar smell and feel. 

Introduction To Packing Materials During The Process

Packing Materials

Also, while you unpack and set up your new home, make time to organize playtime and exercise for your dog, note packers Fantastic Removals. Physical activity around, nearby, and while you wrap and put together your luggage will boost dog serotonin levels and make your pet feel joyful and energetic, and thus more accustomed to underground relocation, experts add. Thinking of brain chemical balance can go a long way!

Be Patient & Understanding

Moving to a new home can be daunting for both people and dogs. 

Being in a new environment can be a traumatic experience. You need to be willing to let your dog go through the process of learning how to overcome his fears. Thus, it is important to be patient with your dog and not rush their transition. 

Make it a priority to spend time with them, take them on daily walks, and give them treats to make them feel safe and joyful. You might have to give up on trying to teach it right away.

Investigate New & Alternative Remedies

If your dog has proper training, alternative remedies can be a blessing for moving days. 

Ranging from prescription drugs to anxiety wraps, essential oils, and CBD. CBD hemp oil extracts are a safe, natural remedy for anxiety and extreme stress in dogs. It is derived from the type of cannabis plant but does not contain psychoactive THC. This means it won’t get your pup “high”. CBD hemp oil extract is a safe and natural way to calm your dog down during a move, and it’s well-worth the consideration.

How Long Will It Take For A Dog To Adjust?

Girl and Small Dog

There is no simple answer to this question, as every canine is unique and settles in at its own pace. 

  • It takes from a couple of days to a few weeks to feel comfortable in their new home for most dogs. 
  • For others, adjusting to the new setting starts immediately as they enjoy the adventure of exploring their new home.

Toys, playtime, and treats are helpful to reduce the signs of stress from relocation and work great to reinforce good and expected behavior (i.e., being inquisitive or relaxed). 

For example, give your fur baby a special play toy or treat when it curls into its bed. The stress reducer will encourage your pet to settle down and relax as a reward. 

Dogs, Moving, Wrap-up

If you follow the tips above, your four-legged friend will feel less anxious during and after the move. Overcome the traumatic, anxiety-inducing experience and help your doggy adjust to your new home. Just a few small changes can make a world of difference. Enjoy your stress-free move!

Meet our writer

Tammi grew up in the countryside on her parents’ farm where animals, including dogs, always surrounded her. Tammi Avallone is a lifelong dog-lover and the Managing Editor of FiveBarks.com.

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