Moving With Your Dog: A Checklist

When it comes to moving, there is always much to do and generally little time to do it in. Just as you have a general packing and to-do list for moving, you should also have a checklist for moving with your dog.

Before the Move

Preparing before you move with your dog is crucial. Just as moving is stressful for you, it is stressful for your dog.

Have a crate - it is useful to have a crate for your dog as a safe haven to retreat to, as his surroundings change and become unfamiliar when packing begins. The crate should have comfortable bedding (i.e., a dog bed or thick blanket), a favorite toy and a treat. To familiarize your dog with a crate, make sure you reward the dog for going in (with a treat) and not to leave her crated for more than a few hours at a time. The crate should always be open and accessible to your dog and you may notice her going into the crate without being asked. Crate the dog on moving day to be sure she does not escape during the move.
Get a new ID tag and update microchip information - if you have your new address and phone number, create a tag for your dog and attach it on moving day. If your dog is microchipped, alert the company who manufactured the chip of your new information. This can usually be done online, through a toll-free telephone number or with the assistance of your veterinary office.
Prepare a travel bag for the dog - this bag should include a leash, water dish, bottled water, food, treats and any necessary medications.

Moving Your Dog

When traveling with your dog it is necessary to keep her calm and contained. If your pet has anxiety while traveling, ask your veterinarian about possible anti-anxiety medications that can help your dog.

If you are traveling by car, it is safest to have your dog in a carrier or crate. The only time it is safe for a dog to be in the bed of an open truck is if she is in a crate that is secured to the truck. Never allow a dog to travel in the trunk of a car or inside a moving truck or van. If your destination is more than two-hours away, allow for rest stops for the dog to relieve herself and get a little exercise. If your stop includes a hotel stay, make certain before you arrive that they welcome pets.

If you are traveling by air, check with the airlines ahead of time concerning their specific requirements. They can tell you if your dog carrier is airline approved and what documents are required for travel.

Arriving at Your New Home

Although this is a time when you want to unpack and make the home comfortable for yourself, make sure you take the time to make your dog comfortable as well. When you arrive, spend time with your pet. If there is a yard or nearby park, let your dog out to play and explore. Take your time and be patient as dogs like to sniff and sometimes mark every nook and cranny of a new yard or park.

Once you have spent some time outdoors, familiarize your dog with their new home. Put all her toys, food, water and bedding in accessible places.

You also need to ensure the surroundings stay safe and free from harmful hazards or debris.

These steps will help your move be successful not only for you but for your dog as well.