11 Tips You Must Know When Moving With Your Dog

New York Smash Magazine  

In Partnership with Flatrate Moving

May through August, the warm summer months, are typically when Americans change residences the most. 

Moving is an exciting yet stressful event; not just for us, but for our four-legged friends as well. Approximately 37 to 47 percent of all households in the United States have a dog, according to the ASPCA. If you have a pooch in your family and plan on relocating in the near future, these 11 essential tips will make the moving process easier and less stressful for you and Fido, thanks to the experts at FlatRate Moving.

Before Moving

1. Familiarize your dog with his travel accommodations in advance. 

No need to force your dog into his pet carrier on moving day; you can effectively train your pooch to like his travel accommodations. First, determine how you will transport your pooch from place to place. Whether it’s a pet carrier or in a pet-safe area of your car, start to introduce your dog to that area in advance. Place items with a familiar scent – your pet’s favorite toy, a blanket or cushion – inside the pet carrier. Bring the carrier inside your home and leave it open throughout the day so your dog can check it out on his own. When Fido steps inside the carrier, try rewarding him with a treat to show positive reinforcement. By moving day, your dog should be comfortable with the pet carrier, which makes the process easier for everyone.

2. See the vet before you go.

Before moving, it’s a good idea to schedule a veterinary check-up for your dog. Have the vet confirm that your dog has all the necessary shots. Also, obtain copies of any paperwork, such as vaccination records and scripts for any prescription medications. If your move requires you to find a new veterinary clinic, kindly ask your vet for their professional opinion and recommendations on selecting a new provider in your new location.

3. Make sure you have all your paperwork.

Wherever you will go with your pet, you are going to be asked for papers (and plenty of them) such as: health certification, vaccination verification, pet passport and an international health certification. If you are planning an international or interstate move, at least a month prior to your move check any rules and regulations regarding pets associated with your new destination. Filing for any necessary paperwork for your pet could take weeks so it is better to investigate the matter sooner rather than later. Once you have obtained proper paperwork for your pet be sure to make several copies. Some countries and airlines will ask for special certifications or requirements to transport your pet or to be permitted to enter at all. In dealing with an international move with your pet do not rely solely on websites information provided, if you have any questions or concerns contact your airline and official country authorities directly.

4. Pack a separate bag for your pooch. 

Keep towels, toys, treats, familiar objects, fresh water and your pets’ favorite food (it’s best to try and avoid any unwelcome digestive surprises). Keep documentation and medication in a dry, secure, vacuum sealed plastic bag – you may also want to invest in a pet first aid kit and keep it in their bag as well.

5. Update collar and ID tags.

Be sure your pet is wearing an updated collar and ID tag on the day of the move that includes your full name, best phone number to reach you at and updated address. If your pet has been micro-chipped it is important that the microchip has your up to date contact information including your new address. You can update your details by contacting the pet microchip registry that your pet is enrolled in through their website or directly by phone. If your pet has not been micro-chipped that is something to seriously consider in terms of their general safety and well-being.

6. Taking a flight? Avoid putting your dog in the cargo area of a plane.

First find out if your pet is able to fly in the cabin of the aircraft with you. When it comes to small pets most airlines will permit your pet to fly with you for an additional fee. Larger pets are typically allowed in the cargo area of the plane only – this can be a terribly stressful even traumatic transportation experience for your pet and should be viewed as a last resort. If you must transport your pet in cargo choose a suitable carrier for the trip, one that is big enough to enable your pet to easily turn around inside of it. Make extra time for bathroom breaks before the flight. It is highly recommended to give your pet a sedative and to make sure you are on the same flight. Be aware of the unlikely but possible dangers of your pet being lost, injured, or exposed to extreme hot or cold temperatures and poor ventilation during their transport in the cargo area of an aircraft.

Traveling To Your New Home

7. Create a chaos-free oasis for your dog on moving day.

To keep your dog calm on moving day, create a creature comfort zone that is isolated from the chaos of the move. Assign one room to remain quiet and comfortable for your pet, equipped with all of their immediate needs. Keep this room closed and even put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. Alert your movers to your pets’ situation – any professional, reputable moving company will be familiar with this scenario and respectfully accommodating of your wishes to reduce the stress of the moving process on your pet.

8. Bring your dog’s familiar toys and other belongings for the ride. 

Bring your dog’s bed, toys and other belongings on the ride to your new home. If he’s in the car with you, let him nap with his favorite toy. Most likely, your dog senses that there are big changes happening and that can trigger anxiety. Having his favorite, familiar-smelling things around should make your dog feel more secure. 

After The Move

9. Make sure your new house is pet-safe.

Your dog will probably want to explore his new home right away. As a safety precaution, keep your dog safe in the car while you perform a thorough scan of the home. Look for safety hazards and potentially dangerous objects such as live wires, broken glass, open cans of paint, toxic substances and chemicals, mouse traps, pest poison, and more.

10. Designate a comfortable, homey area for your dog.

Home is where the heart is, but for your dog, home is where it smells familiar! As soon as you can, choose a room in your new house for your dog’s familiar belongings. Take your dog to this “safe room” and settle him into his bed with his favorite toys. While you’re in the process of organizing your new home, this will help to prevent your pooch from overloading on all the new sights and smells.

11. Get right back into your regular routine.

Successfully completing a move to a new home is an achievement. Now, it’s time to get settled! Keep in mind, a move is a big adjustment for people and animals. It can take several weeks or months for the whole family to fully adjust. To help your dog settle in faster, stick to a consistent routine that he or she can rely on – feeding and walking your dog at the same time you would at your old house. This will eliminate stress. Place familiar items such as their bed, toys and food dishes in similar places comparable to their arrangement in your old house.