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Whether you’re moving down the block or cross-country, it’s an adjustment for everyone in the family, including your dog. From your pet’s point-of-view, even an older home is new -- from the sights and smells to the walking routes and neighborhood animals. Dogs are comfortable with routine, so moving can create a lot of stress for your dog. But you can make it easier for him by following these tips:
· Take you pup to the new place a few times before moving in. If it’s a local move, let your dog sniff his new digs and get the “lay of the land” before actually changing addresses.
· Make sure your dog is ID-ed. Micro-chipping is the best way for vets and shelters to easily identify your pet, should the two of you become separated during the move. At the very least, be sure your dog is wearing a collar and a dog tag that has your mobile phone number.
· Find a pet sitter for moving day. With movers, family and friends coming and going, the last place you want your dog to be is in either home. Hire a professional or solicit help from a family member or friend to watch your dog until after you move in.
· Pack a “care kit.” It’s a good idea to have your dog’s food, medications, water and a few first aid items on hand, whether you’re moving by car or by plane. Make sure you use non-breakable containers and bowls, and consider getting collapsible water bowls if space is at a premium. Use a small cooler with ice if his meds need to be kept refrigerated.
· Pet-proof your new home. Take some time to look around from your dog’s perspective. Watch for doggie-height electrical wires, nails and sharp objects sticking out of the floor or walls. Check the yard, too, for holes in the fence and splinters on the deck. Fix any dangerous situation before your pet finds it and gets himself into trouble.
· Establish potty break places. When you bring your dog to his new home, immediately establish an acceptable place for him to do his business, and reinforce him with praise when he uses it. Even a housebroken dog may have a few “accidents” while getting adjusted to his new digs. Don’t get upset with him; just keep rewarding him for choosing the right spot.
· Recreate his favorite things. Does your dog have a favorite toy, treat or game? Does he have his own bed or crate? Bring all his “stuff” with him to your new home so he can be comforted by their familiar look and smell, and set aside some play time to let him respond to commands he knows and loves to obey.
· Plan for safe travel. Safety first! Place you dog in a pet carrier or seat-belt harnesses for car trips. If you’re not driving to your new home, check with railway and airline representatives to find out their policies and accommodations for pet travel well in advance of your move. You can also contact Pet Airways, which provides concierge service for pets (including potty beaks!) to see if the company flies to a city near your new home.Just remember, your goal is to minimize the stress on transitioning from your old house to your new one. Rest assured, any place you hang your dog’s leash will be home soon enough!
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