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How to Help Your Dog Adjust to a New Home

Moving is a big event for the whole family, including our furry friends. While some dogs can adjust to a new home with ease, others find it a bit more difficult. Anxious dogs can experience a lot of stress during a move and may struggle to adjust to their new environment. The transition is also more difficult for older dogs who have become a bit more set in their ways.

To help your dog settle into a new home, follow these easy tips that will help them relax and shed their anxiety.

Couple on a couch helping their dog adjust to a new home

Keep Your Routine Consistent

Dogs do best when they have a routine and unfortunately, moving can disrupt that. While you’re moving and especially once you move into the new home, try to keep up with the routine they’re used to as closely as possible. Keep feeding times the same, take them on walks at the same time, and put them to bed at the same time. This will help them adjust faster because, although their environment has changed, their life with you hasn’t.

Bring Things that Smell Like Home

Dogs rely heavily on scents. Their sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than our own, according to scientists. In a new home, there will be a lot of new scents that can overwhelm them. Rather than washing your dog’s bedding immediately before or after moving into your new home, give your pup a couple of weeks to adjust first. Surround them with their favorite toys. Designate a space just for them and fill it with their bedding and toys so that they have somewhere comfortable to go.

Let Them Explore

While dogs need to have a place they can go to with familiar scents, it’s also important to let them roam around their new home and get their bearings when they want to. This will help your dog adjust to a new home faster. If you keep them closed off for too long, it will increase their anxiety. As soon as it’s safe to do so, let them start exploring the new place and get used to everything in their own way. Just make sure that all exterior doors are closed first!

Dachshund dog running down the street

Meet with Your New Veterinarian

If you’ve moved to a new town and had to switch veterinarians, it’s good to meet with them before your dog needs their next shots or check-up. You want to make sure you are comfortable with the new office, doctors, and staff in case you decide they’re not a good fit for you and want to seek out a different vet. This first meeting should just be a casual, meet and greet so that your pup can get used to the new office, too. Save the needles and thermometers for the second visit.

Find a Local Dog Park

If your dog is very social, it’s a great idea to do some research and find out where the local dog park is. Make sure to bring a leash, doggie clean-up bags, and a travel bowl with water. Not only will this help you get involved in your new community, but your dog will also appreciate the exercise and time outdoors so that they can start getting their bearings, too.

Give Your Dog Extra Attention

For a dog that is particularly anxious, give them a lot of extra attention for the first few weeks in the new place. Affection helps a great deal in calming down an anxious dog and will help them trust that everything is okay and back to normal. Spending time on the floor with your canine companion will also help transfer your smells to your new home. Even with all of your love and extra attention, it still may take a while for your dog to adjust to a new home. Be patient above all else.

Small dog sitting on stack of moving boxes

Microchip—Just In Case

The tips above should help your dog adjust to a new home with ease. However, animals can be unpredictable. Just in case your pup decides to bolt out the door of your new home, it’s a great idea to have them microchipped. Microchips can help reunite you with your dog much faster than flyers or postings on Nextdoor. If your furry friend already has a microchip, make sure you update the registration with your new contact information.

See more tips on moving with pets >>

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