Moving With a Dog Across the Country? Here’s How to Make the Process Less Stressful

November 11, 2022Moving Tips
Hannah Michaelson

Hannah is a freelance relocation writer from NYC that has become an expert on packing and unpacking.

Are you getting ready to move to a new state with your furry friend? If so, you’re likely feeling a mix of emotions – excitement about the new adventure and anxiety about how moving with a dog will turn out. While moving can be stressful for dogs, just as it is for humans, there are things you can do to make the process smoother for them – our top tips for making a cross-country move with a dog can help you.

How Does Relocation Affect Dogs?

Relocating to a new home is a big adjustment for everyone in the family – including the dog. While it may be exciting to explore a new city and neighborhood, all the changes can be stressful for your furry friend. These animals are creatures of habit and routine. They like knowing what to expect each day, and they want to feel comfortable in their surroundings.

When you uproot them from everything they know, it can be confusing and scary. Luckily, here are a few things you can do to help your dog adjust to their new home, and we will share all those relocation tips with you in this text, so you can handle moving dog to a new home stress-free.


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It’s Not Always Scary to Move Your Dog to a New Home if You Are Aware of How to Get Them Ready for a Change

You’ll need some time to organize a move and pack up all of your household belongings, that much is certain. That implies that your furry friend can become confused by the commotion in the house and become very anxious. Your top objective should be to let your furry friend know that you won’t be leaving them behind when you move – not doing this is one of the most common relocation mistakes when relocating with dogs, and it’s certainly something you want to avoid.

a dog sitting on a box
These animals don't like relocating, but you can do a lot to make it easier on them

There Are Things You Should Do Before Moving With a Dog

So, how to move with a dog? Even when you have a moving and USA auto transport company by your side to help you with professional relocation services, the transition can be a bit much for your pet – you’ll need some relocation hacks to help your little friend. Don’t worry – an efficient move is more than possible!

Get Them Comfortable With the Packing Supplies

Have you ever noticed how rapidly dogs pick up on cues that indicate a routine change? Many dogs can sense when you’re packing for a trip, and this might set them off, especially if they already struggle with separation anxiety. Start desensitizing your beloved pet to cardboard boxes and other packing materials several weeks before you move – for example, get them used to the sound of popping bubbles from bubble wrap). This is a crucial task from the relocation to-do list.

Simply stack some moving boxes against walls or in corners. Allow them to explore things at their own leisure without making a big deal out of them. If the animal is particularly apprehensive about these novel objects, you may help them make a good impression by rewarding them with a tasty treat when they reach the containers on their own.

You can start to open the boxes and move them around the house as your pet becomes accustomed to their presence. Making these packing materials seem positive or at least neutral to your dog is your objective here. Additionally, it avoids a last-minute scramble to gather, construct, and pack labeled boxes on the day of your relocation. It’s advantageous for both dogs and people!

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Maintain Your Dog’s Schedule (As Much As You Can)

Try to maintain your pet’s routines as consistently as you can as relocation day approaches. Maintain their normal feeding and walking schedules. Take them outside for their regular bathroom breaks or evening yard play. Since your pet knows what to expect, consistency helps them feel comfortable and at ease while you prepare for going to a new state. If there is a lack of order in their day, they may become worried because too many things change rapidly.

Offer a Lot of Physical Activity

As relocation day approaches, your schedule could become a little busier, but make sure your pet still is receiving adequate exercise. While going on frequent walks is crucial, giving dogs some off-leash time to engage in fetching or interacting with other dogs in a secure place will help keep them in terrific shape and reduce their stress.

Your pet can benefit from mental stimulation and enrichment as well. This helps them practice acceptable behavior rather than resorting to destructive behavior out of boredom or anxiety. While you organize packing and load boxes, give your pet their preferred food and treats, along with puzzles or interactive toys.

There are many tricks you can use to help your furry friend during this difficult period

You Should Ensure Your Pet Is Prepared for the Moving Day

The move-out day is finally here – is there something else you can do for your furry friend? Of course – there are a few long-distance relocation tips that can go a long way during the big move and immediately after you move in (before you even start unpacking after the move!)

Find a reliable sitter for the relocation day

On the actual relocation day, you’ll be so busy that having a pet around would be the absolute last thing you need. Additionally, dogs may find the chaos of moving day to be highly distressing. The open doors provide a safety risk by providing plenty of time to door-dash and go on an adventure around the neighborhood.

Plan for your animal to stay with a dependable friend, a daycare, or a sitter while you load and unload everything to save both you and your pet the trouble. If you’re moving to an unfamiliar region and don’t know anyone who can help you, seal off a room with a baby gate so they can hang out there and escape the chaos of the move.

Ensure your dog gets to investigate the new location in a positive manner

Allow them some time to investigate at their own speed when you first bring them inside your new house. Give them time to grow accustomed to a new environment if they exhibit any reluctance to explore a particular region.

Your beloved pet will succeed if you keep a leash on since it gives you a method to restrict them out of spots that are off-limits, and it fosters a lovely bond that can make them feel more secure while they experience their new apartment with you. Keep your tone and attitude upbeat and joyful when rewarding them for any desired behavior in your new place.

Establish a new safe area for your dog

Ideally, you have time to set up your pet’s safe area in the new apartment before bringing them home. If not, put it up with them and make sure they know where it is in case they need to hide out for a while. By connecting a relaxing pheromone diffuser nearby and feeding them in their secure area, you can create a positive relationship with the new environment and promote relaxation.

Ensure That Your Dog Adapts to a New Environment ASAP

When you’ve finished moving in and unpacking, you can aid your dog’s adjustment by returning to the pre-move routine as soon as you can. Making sure that your pet exercises enough is also crucial. A canine that is exhausted is less likely to exhibit anxious or bored behaviors, such as destructive chewing. Investigative walks around the area provide you and your pet the opportunity to meet your neighbors while also allowing you both the chance to get some physical and mental exercise.

Support Your Dog Through Any Transitional Anxiety

It’s common for so many dogs to display anxiety signs after a move. If your canine seems a little uneasy about all the changes, be patient with them. After relocation, separation anxiety can often get worse. Be careful not to leave them alone for very long in the new place. In order to reduce any nervousness and to cover up any outside sounds that would cause them to bark, make sure to leave some soothing music on for your furry friend when you do have to leave them alone. Here’s a video that explains how to deal with separation anxiety – check it out for more great tips.

Additional Tips for Moving With Dogs

Relocating to another state with your pet can be a daunting task. There are a lot of things to think about and prepare for, but with a little bit of extra planning, it can go smoothly. Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind when moving with dogs.

  • Allow your dog some alone time in their favorite room before you move out – Your pet’s favorite room should be the last one you pack. Allow them to relax there peacefully, away from the commotion.
  • Keep familiar furniture after you move in – Keep any furniture that your pet enjoys and hold off on purchasing new stuff for a few weeks. Start by arranging your furniture in a layout reminiscent of your previous residence. Both your beloved animal and your wallet will appreciate it.
  • Do not invite guests home just yet – You are eager to show your loved ones around your new house because you adore it. However, putting the pandemic aside, having a lot of guests immediately after you move in may cause a lot of stress for a canine. Keep company to a minimum – just best friends or parents.

Your pet likely agrees that moving is among the most difficult tasks you will ever undertake. It will help them acclimate to and feel at ease in the new surroundings if you are organized and patient and try to keep things as normal as possible.

Puppy leaning on a teddy bear
By following our tips, you can make this experience a lot better for your beloved pet

Just Follow the Procedure, and the Move Will Be Stress-Free

Relocating is a stressful event for any family, but it can be especially difficult when you have a canine. By following all those simple tips that we’ve mentioned in this text and by hiring a professional moving and car shipping company, however, you can minimize the stress on both you and your furry friend. Having reliable movers by your side will take a huge load off your back – they can handle tedious relocation tasks while you focus on your pet.

Of course, you will need movers to take care of transporting your car as well – shipping cars in the USA is a complicated process, whether you’re using open or enclosed auto transport (which can both be door-to-door auto transport or terminal-to-terminal car shipping). Either way, we believe you will get through this move – good luck!

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