Moving to a new place is a big deal and leaves a lot to plan, but if you’re moving to a new home for a new job or just because you need more space, don’t forget about your four-legged friend! He is a member of your family, after all, and his needs are important, too.
Maybe you’re giving up your swinging pad for the suburbs to have more room for Rover to run around and enjoy a yard. If so, you’re not alone. A new study shows that among millennials, finding more space for their dog was among the top three reasons for buying a home. There are 80 million millennials expected to buy their first home in the next five years. Rental homes are much more restrictive to pets, so buying a home can often be the best move for dog lovers.
What to keep in mind when house hunting
Before you shop, think about your dog’s needs as well as your own. A fenced yard, easy-to-clean floors and a dog-friendly neighborhood should be high on your list. If a home doesn’t have a fenced yard, ask if it’s possible to add a fence; some neighborhoods have covenants against it. Carpeted floors might feel good on your bare feet, but they are difficult to keep clean if you have a puppy or elderly dog who might have accidents.
Make sure your real estate agent knows what you’re looking for: she’ll keep that in mind when picking out places for you to see. When you visit potential homes, take a look around the neighborhood. Are there sidewalks you can use, or is there a dog park nearby? A neighborhood with easy access to a park is a great place to have a dog. If possible, visit the neighborhood in the evening to see how many people are out walking their pups. Maybe ask a potential neighbor how dog-friendly the area is. You’ll get a feeling pretty quickly if you and your pet will fit in.
The big move
When it’s time to move in, make sure your dog’s items are packed up last and unpacked first. Having access to his beds, toys and blankets will give him a sense of familiarity and comfort. Don’t wash his items before you move! He’ll want to have the familiar smells of home when you do move into your new place.
If possible, take your dog to the house before you move in and walk him around the home on a leash to allow him to get acclimated. Allow him to sniff everything he wants. He is a scent-dominated animal, and he’ll want to get used to all the scents in his new home. If you can, take a short walk around the neighborhood to let him get to know the place.
It’s a good idea to keep him out of the way while moving and unpacking, lest he get into various boxes and cause destruction or hurt himself. Set up in a room and try to keep him in there so he’ll feel secure. Slowly, you can allow him to visit different rooms and get used to them.
Now is not the time to try new routines, unless it can’t be helped. Dogs love routine, and change can frighten them, especially the more nervous pooches. Feed and walk him at his usual time as much as possible; it will help him have a sense of continuity.
The most important thing to remember when moving is making a point to spend time with your dog. He needs lots of love and cuddles to calm his anxiety about a new place. During the move, you’ll be busy packing and unpacking, so taking the time to spend with your best friend will give you a much-needed break, too.
Soon, you and your four-legged friend will be right at home in your new digs, meeting new neighbors and chasing the new squirrels.