How to care for your dog when moving house

How to care for your dog when moving house

Moving House with a dog
Pic credit Kate Brady

Let’s face it, moving house is stressful for humans. So how do think your dog feels about it? He/she has no idea what’s going on or why the world has just changed so suddenly. One minute it’s a nice bowl of biscuits and a kip by the fire and in the morning it’s off in the car to an alien environment where nothing is familiar.

Little surprise then that some dogs either run away from their new home or sulk in the corner for weeks, pining for their old familiar surroundings. But you can avoid all this potential trauma by following a few simple rules, so add these steps to your moving house checklist.

Get on the right track when moving home with your dog

Or to put it another way get, your dog photographed, microchipped (visit http://www.petlog.org.uk) and fully blinged-up with a nice collar and neck tag with your name, phone number and new address (The Kennel Club can help with this.). That way if he/she goes walkies without you, there’s good chance of tracking your missing friend down.

Confined to quarters

On moving day it’s best to shut your dog away in one room, with bed/basket and favourite toys of course. Let everyone know that that room is to be kept closed to prevent escape as the outside doors will certainly be open whilst the house is cleared.

Appoint a house move dog carer

It’s also a good idea to appoint one person to be responsible for the dog on moving day. The dog has a familiar companion and the rest of you can get on with the job of moving without worrying. Teenagers are a particularly good choice for this task as it keeps them out of your way and they have an excuse not to do anything which will prove very popular with them! If you don’t have one going spare then borrow or hire one from a friend. But be aware payment may be required!

See you later

If you don’t have the facility in your house to keep the dog secure it may be better to put it in kennels or with a friend whilst you move. This has the advantage of keeping the dog out of the way. The downside is that the dog has not made the ‘journey’ with you so settling in to a new environment may prove harder. You know your dog, so only you can decide which option is best.

We’re on the road

Transporting your dog is something that maybe you do all the time or it might be your first journey together. Basic rules are the same as for everyday journeys:- Secure the dog safely in the vehicle/plenty of water, food and toilet breaks/never leave the dog alone in a car on warm, hot or very cold days

New house smells!

You’ve arrived at the new house and your dog has had a good old sniff about. But it’s the wrong smell! It’s not what he/she is familiar with and strange smells are unsettling.

Firstly make sure before you introduce the dog to its new territory that all traces of previous owners’ pets are not present in the house.

Also ensure that bed, basket, favourite cloths and toys are present. Gently rubbing a cloth with the dogs scent on it in strategic spots around the house will give a smell of familiarity.

You could also resort to use of a DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) device during the move. Ask your vet for details.


First walk for you and your dog! New territory. New smells. New dangers too maybe. Keep your dog on a lead for the first few occasions until you are both happy with the different environment. It’s a voyage of discovery that you can make together.

And finally, pay lots of attention to your dog in the first few days. Small frequent meals will help you bond during the settling in period. Lots of contact will reassure the dog that you’re all in the right house!

It’s a great new adventure for everyone including your dog so follow these simple tips to help him/her enjoy the move and your new exciting life together.