As we all know, pets have feelings too. They may not be as complex as human emotions but they sure are strong. Dogs tend to get attached to their home, just like humans. You might have noticed that stray dogs always roam the same streets and neighborhoods. They usually spend their whole lives in the same area, provided that they can find food and shelter. The way dogs respond to relocation can vary depending on their breed and personality, but we can definitely expect some kind of emotional reaction. Knowing how dogs react after moving to a new home will prepare you for some unpleasant surprises that may occur. We’ll also give you a couple of tips on how to avoid them.
Anxiety is a natural reaction to a new home
Starting a new life in a new house is a huge step for both dogs and their owners. Fortunately, experts know very well how dogs react after moving to a new home and what measures owners should take. The first hours in the new environment are very important. The dog will probably feel nervous and confused which is perfectly normal. Help your dog overcome the initial shock by letting him sniff and explore. Introduce the new rooms one at a time, maybe over a few days. Make sure you close the doors, windows and gates because the dog might try to escape. During the first few days, a dog might sit by the exit waiting to go home. Soon he will realize that this is his new home and that no one is going anywhere.
If you’re lucky, your dog will feel at home in no time. However, the adjusting process may take longer than you expected. Some dogs adjust to their new environment in just a couple of days, for others, it takes weeks or even months. The move sometimes causes loss of appetite or excessive barking. Monitor the dog’s behavior and if you still notice something unusual after a few weeks, take him to the vet.
Here are a few tips to minimize the causes of anxiety:
- Stay calm around your pets
- Keep them away from all the hustle and bustle
- Do not ignore them
- Do not leave them alone unless there’s no other option
- Unpack your dog’s room first
- Do not change their “personal” objects
- Do not change their daily routine
- Ask your vet how dogs react after moving to a new home
Stay calm around your pets
Our own anxiety reflects on our pets. Moving is never easy and usually comes with a lot of stress, but knowing how dogs react after moving to a new home might motivate you to get rid of that stress. Do everything in your power to stay cool, calm and collected, not only to protect yourself but also to protect your animals. Luckily, it is possible to predict and avoid many moving-related problems and make your life easier.
Keep them away from all the hustle and bustle
Exposing your animals to all those loud noises, strange people walking in and out, moving heavy objects and all kinds of cleaning chemicals and equipment adds to their anxiety. They are likely to get very upset, confused and even scared. Few dogs trust strangers even in normal conditions, but now they are extra alert. It would be a good idea to take them to a quieter place until everything is done.
Do not ignore them
One can easily get distracted with all that work and forget about the pet’s needs. This should never happen, especially during such a delicate period. Your pet comes first – you don’t have to unpack, decorate and repair everything in the first two days. This is when your pet needs extra time, care and attention. So, play with them every day, reward them with their favorite treats, talk to them (as silly as that may sound) and show them you love them.
Do not leave them alone unless there’s no other option
Some dogs suffer from separation anxiety. Even if your pet is not one of them, this problem may occur after moving to a new home. Avoid leaving them alone at least for the first few days, just in case. If there is no one to keep them company, leave their toys in the room, fill up a toy with food, play some calming music, and come back as soon as you can.
Unpack your dog’s room first
If your pet has a favorite room or a room where he spends most of his time, unpack that room first unless you’re not keeping the furniture. That way, he will feel more at home and the transition will be softened.
Do not change their “personal” objects
Since being surrounded by familiar objects makes dogs feel more comfortable, keep all of their toys, dishes, blankets, beds, etc. Do not wash their things the first few days because dogs have a strong sense of smell which helps them recognize familiar objects and beings. We can enhance those smells by spending time with the pets on the floor. In case the house is not brand new, dogs might pick up traces of previous owners and their pets. Start cleaning as soon as possible, if you don’t want them to start marking their territory.
Do not change their daily routine
You have probably noticed by now that the less is changed the better. If your pets usually eat, sleep and/or go outside at the same time every day, let them keep the old habits. Also, do not spoil them or change the rules of good behavior.
Ask your vet how dogs react after moving to a new home
Talk to your vet about his/her experiences with dogs’ behavior after relocation. Your vet will give you the best advice from a medical perspective. He/she is a professional who knows your pet’s personality and has their best interest in mind.
To sum up, there are several things one should keep in mind when moving with a pet. Nevertheless, remember that every dog is different and there are no strict rules. Knowing how dogs react after moving to a new home in advance is the best way to prepare for this big step.