Do Dogs Get Sad When You Move Houses?

Dear Doggy,

We recently moved houses and my fur baby has not been the same since. Do dogs get sad when you move houses?

Mobile Pup

Dear Pup,

Most dogs feel upset and insecure if you move to a new home because it means uprooting them from their territory and modifying their routine. The stress about moving may be higher than older mutts, dogs with long-term illnesses, or pre-existing separation anxiety. Some pups get over the move easily while others need a longer time to transition.

Switching to a new house can be stressful for most people, especially if you lived in your old home for many years or you have to transfer to a far and entirely new location.

Surprisingly, your pooch may feel extra fretful about this change than you are. Why is it exceptionally hard for Rover to move to a new home? 

  1. Dogs are territorial. Canines are very protective of their territory. They consider it a haven away from unknown elements, people, and animals from outside. Your former home is also where his pack lives, where he knows he is loved and cared for. So, uprooting them to move to a different place puts a threat to all the good things the pup holds dearly.
  2. Dogs are creatures of habit. Mutts thrive on routine and predictability. But moving to a new home would mean a different house interior and backyard, new neighbors, and new streets to get used to. The family may have to engage in new activities and discard old ones which would disrupt Rover’s previous ways.
  3. Dogs may be influenced by age, sickness, and pre-existing anxiety. Elderly canines may find it harder to adjust to a new environment because they got so used to their former surroundings. They are also more prone to diseases and infirmities brought by old age. If your pooch also has prevailing separation anxiety when his routine is disturbed, moving houses will be particularly challenging for him.  

How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Get Used To A New Home?

You are about to move houses with your dog and you think, “How soon will my dog adjust to the new place?”

Dogs have different reactions and adjustment periods to moving houses. Some get used to the new place in a few days, others need weeks or even months to adjust. How quickly your pooch acclimates to his new environment will depend on how well you prepare him before the move, and what you do during and after you move.

Packing up your life to transfer to another house could be overwhelming for you. But once you settle in, the tension gradually dissipates.

Your pup, however, needs more support with the adjustment. How can you help Fido quickly adapt to the changes?

  • Before the move
  1. Visit the new house with your dog several times, if possible, before your actual move.
  2. Familiarize him with the new house by doing activities with him indoors or walking around the neighborhood.
  3. Introduce some boxes and tape way ahead of your packing to lessen your pup’s anxiety about them.
  • During the move
  1. Stay calm and organized. Your pooch will pick up on your anxiety and be more confused.
  2. Moving day can get pretty hectic. Keep him in a room away from the chaos of movers pacing back and forth. 
  3. If you have a family or friend nearby with whom your dog is acquainted, keep him there for a while until all major activities are done.
  • After the move
  1. Set up his corner with his old unwashed bed, toys, and items with scents familiar to him.  
  2. Maintain the same routine with your pooch and keep his regular schedule of walks, playtime, and feeding time.  
  3. Be patient with your pup and spend quality time with him. Understand that dogs adjust differently to changes in the environment.

How To Settle A Dog Into A New Home At Night

Rover seems to can’t get any sleep after you move. How can you help him settle into the new house?

To settle your dog at night in your new home, maintain his usual feeding and sleeping routines. Expend his energy by taking him to longer walks and extra playtime. Create his safe space with familiar scents like his old beddings and toys. If his anxiety about moving remains high, consider using stress relief aids like calming music, scents or CBD.

  1. Keep his regular schedule of activities. It might be okay for you to skip meals or stay up later than usual, but not your dog. Canines depend so much on routine. As best as you can, maintain his old feeding time, playtime, and bedtime. This will give your pup a sense of normalcy in a new environment.
  1. Tire him out. “A tired dog is a good dog,” as they say. It is crucial to burn most of his energy in physical activities to help him have a better snooze later at night. Walk Rover extra longer around the new neighborhood or do more playtime sessions.
  1. Set up his own space. Try as you might to tidy up, your new home will be a mess in the first few days. Your dog will find it hard to sleep in a chaotic environment. Give him a clean corner where he can sleep peacefully. Just don’t replace his old bed and toys yet so his sleeping nook will still smell familiar to him. 
  1. Try calming aids and medications. If you seem to have tried everything above to give Fido a good night’s sleep, consider using anti-anxiety methods like calming music and scents. For severe cases of stress after moving,  some fur parents give their mutts cannabidiol (CBD), prescribed by their trusted vet. 

How Do You Calm An Anxious Dog After Moving?

Your doggo can be particularly fearful about new things. let alone a new environment. How can you help him settle down after the move?

Ease your dog after moving to a new home by sticking to his old routines and bringing items with familiar scents. Don’t leave him alone for too long at the new house. If necessary, ask someone he knows to look after him if you will be gone for hours. Consult your vet if Fido needs anti-anxiety medication. 

Canines can develop anxiety due to old age, previous diseases, or past traumas. Their stress will be increased by a major change such as moving to a new place.

There are practical ways you can help your pup to calm down: 

  1. Stick to old habits. At least for the first few weeks, do not make changes to his patterns and schedule of eating, bathing, walking, playing, and sleeping. Regardless of how busy you are with unpacking, give your dog ample attention at a time when he expects it. 
  2. Bring familiar items from the old house. Your new home is filled with fresh scents and sights that can trigger intense stress to your pooch. Retain pieces of furniture that he recognized from your former home. The familiar scent of these items will pacify him.  
  3. Don’t leave him alone for long. Fido depends on you for stability so, try not to be away from your dog for too long. If it is not possible to take him with you, maybe ask a friend, family member, or a sitter that he is friendly with to look after him. 
  4. Consider natural remedies for anxiety. Seek your vet’s advice if your pooch requires supplements for his anxiety. Some doctors prescribe CBD Hemp Oil Supplements to mutts with severe stress. 

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