Moving house with your dog: top tips to help your dog adjust

Moving house with your dog can be exciting, stressful and a little bit hectic! So we’ve prepared a host of top tips to help you confidently manage each step of the moving process.

Dogs are creatures of routine, and they feed off of our emotions. You can’t avoid a bit of stress and upheaval when moving house, but with a little forethought, you can make the experience more tolerable for you and your dog!

Let’s explore what you can do before, during and after moving house to make things easier on your dog.

Preparing to move house with your dog

In the lead up to moving day, you will have the joyous task of clearing out and packing up all of your belongings ready for the big day. All of these changes can be unsettling for your dog so try to keep your dog’s daily routine as close to normal as possible. If you don’t have time for your usual long dog walk, then even a walk around the block is better than skipping it altogether.

Top tips for preparing to move house with your dog

  • Order a new dog tag with your new telephone number and postcode on
  • Have boxes, bubble wrap and tape around for a week or two before you start packing so they become less novel to your dog
  • Have your dog settled in another room when packing to reduce stress
  • Leave the room your dog loves the most for last to pack
  • If you want a new dog bed for your new home, introduce it ahead of the move, so it smells and feels like home for your dog
  • Pack your dog’s things last, and keep them labelled so you can unpack them first when you arrive in your new home
  • Find a new vet and register your dog ahead of the move
  • Put all of your dog’s documents in a folder, so you have easy access to them should you need them

Moving house with your dog - moving day

Moving day can be chaotic and stressful - for humans and dogs! You won’t be able to focus much attention on your dog as you’re loading the removal van and packing up those final items. If possible, it’s best to have your dog stay with a friend or family member for the day to keep them safe and limit the stress for everyone!

Alternatively, you can book your dog to stay with a friendly pet sitter for the day. 

If your dog can stay with someone familiar, then you won’t have to worry about your dog escaping with all the comings and goings or getting stressed out before they even arrive in their new home.

If you can’t leave your dog with anyone on moving day, then it’s a good idea to set your dog up in one room with a stuffed Kong or chew, their bed and a bowl of water. Make sure everybody knows your dog is in this room and not to open the door to prevent your dog from escaping.

Ensure your dog is wearing a collar and tag with your new address and telephone number.

When you first bring your dog into your new home, let them have a good sniff around and explore. Then, unpack your dog’s bed, bowls and toys, so they have familiar items available to ease the transition.

Don’t let your dog off lead in your new garden until you’ve done a safety check to ensure there are no escape routes.

How long does it take for a dog to get used to a new home?

It might take 2-3 weeks for your dog to feel settled in your new home. This depends largely on your dog’s personality. Some dogs will feel immediately at ease, and others may take a little longer to feel at home.

Keep as much of your dog’s routine the same as possible in the early weeks in your new home.

As much as it’s tempting to wash everything or get a new dog bed for your new abode, your dog can be comforted by familiar things and scents. So leave it a few weeks before you wash or replace your dog’s bed. Little things like this can go a long way to helping your dog feel secure.


10 top tips for moving house with your dog

Helping your dog to adjust to their new home takes patience, forethought and understanding. We know that moving house is a big change, so try to keep as much as you can similar to life before the move. 

Be sensitive to the fact that your dog may be feeling a little unsure, and try to give your dog reassurance and comfort while they settle in.

  • Update microchip details to your new address and telephone number

Give your dog’s microchip company a call and update your details. If your dog does go missing, then it’s vital your contact details are up-to-date for a swift reunion.

  • Keep your dog’s bed and bowls the same

Familiarity is comforting. Fancy new bowls and beds can wait until your dog feels at home.

  • Keep your dog’s feeding and walking routine the same

These are the little things that make a difference to your dog feeling a sense of security and predictability. Yes, the area and home are different but your dog still has his favourite people and fun activities that make him feel at ease.

  • Simulate your dog’s sleeping and feeding areas to match those in your previous home as closely as possible

There’s a theme here, isn’t there?! If your dog has always slept in your room, now is not the time to change that! If your dog was never allowed upstairs, this is also not the time to change the rules unless they’re going to stick! Be consistent and considerate, and your dog will settle.

  • Prepare to sleep near your dog if needed for the first few nights

Your dog may feel unsettled at night initially. If your dog doesn’t usually sleep with you, then be prepared to set up on the sofa for a night or two until your dog feels at ease in their new home.

  • Build up time alone in your new home

Your dog may be used to spending time alone normally, but exercise a little discretion when leaving your dog alone in the first couple of days and weeks in your new home. Just like with a puppy, build up your time away gradually and take your cues from your dog on how comfortable they are.

  • Check your new garden is secure, and there are no toxic plants present

Check the parameters and fencing of your new garden to ensure that it’s dog-proof before letting your dog off lead. Have a look to make sure all the flowers and plants in your garden are also dog safe.

  • Register with a new vet

Hopefully, you did this in the lead up to your move, but if life was frantically busy and you forgot, don’t worry! This is a reminder to get your dog registered with a vet in your new area. If you’re unsure who to choose, then local Facebook groups can be a great place to get recommendations.

  • Fit a Dog-G8 to your new front door

Novelty can be unnerving for your dog, and you’re likely to have deliveries and post galore in the early weeks in your new home. The last thing we want is your dog bolting out the front door in a panic. Fitting a dog gate to your front door is simple, and it will keep your dog safely contained inside your home.

  • Explore new walking spots in your area together

Part of the fun of moving house is discovering all the new local places to visit. Have fun exploring with your dog and sniff out the best walking spots, dog-friendly cafes and pet shops!

If your dog isn’t used to walking in new places, then it’s best to keep them on the lead until you’re confident that they’ll stay close and come back when called.

Familiarise yourself with where the roads are on any new walks, and be cautious until you have the lay of the land.

That’s it! Hopefully, now you’re feeling super prepared and ready to help your dog adjust to life in their new house. Happy exploring!

If you enjoyed this, then you might like to discover the ten genius (and surprising ways) a dog gate can help to keep your dog safe. Will you be adding a dog gate to your new home?