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8 Tips on Easing the Stress of Moving with a Dog

January 29, 2021
8 Tips on Easing the Stress of Moving with a Dog

Moving is a big life transition that tends to come with quite a bit of stress. And this doesn’t just apply to humans—dogs are also prone to moving anxiety. Stress in dogs can present as whining, urinating in the house, keeping to themselves, decreased appetite, obsessive cleaning—the list goes on. Thankfully, with the right planning, a lot of a dog’s moving stress can be eased. 

If you want to make moving with a dog as stress-free as possible, consider these 8 tips.

Consider Calming Aids

If you know your dog is prone to anxiety or you already see them exhibiting some signs of stress, it may be time to look into calming aids.

CBD: Often used on dogs in the form of oil, CBD is a hemp extract that can reduce your dog’s anxiety. There are several ways to administer CBD oil to dogs and unlike marijuana, it is non-psychoactive.

Pheromones: Used in a diffuser or on a collar, a calming aid like Adaptil mimics pheromones to help your dog feel more relaxed.

Probiotic: Calming Care and other similar probiotics can help dogs deal with external stressors and assist them in maintaining calm behavior. 

Vests: A weighted vest, Thundershirt, or anxiety wrap are also worth a whirl. They work similarly to the weighted blankets used to ease human anxiety. And unlike other calming therapies, they have virtually no side effects.

Go for A Walk

With all the packing and strangers coming in and out, your dog can start to feel unsettled far before the moving truck pulls up. One of the easiest ways to negate some of this initial stress is to take them on frequent walks to get them away from the chaos. 

If you’re selling a home, a showing or open house is an excellent time for a walk or to spend some time at the dog park. However, a walk at any time is great to get some distance from the move. 

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Maintain A Regular Schedule

Speaking of walks, if you generally go for a walk at a specific time, it is best to try to continue doing so. With the flurry of changes happening, this predictability and normality can be very soothing for your dog. The same applies to their feeding schedule. 

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Get Up to Date

If you are doing a long-distance move that requires you to cross over state lines, you need to make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. If they aren’t, some states may prevent you from entering, which will only lead to stress for everyone. 

During this appointment, you will also need to get important pet travel documents, like your dog’s health records and a certificate of health. Then, you may also want to discuss any calming aids and get a general checkup to make sure your dog is in good health for travel. 

Make Accommodations for Moving Day

Watching everything disappear from their home can be more than enough to stress out any dog. Therefore, it is best to make accommodations to get your dog out of the house on moving day. 

Friends or Family: See if someone you know can watch your dog while the moving truck gets loaded up. A friend or family member that your dog knows can be comforting for them. However, any family or friend that offers a dog-friendly environment is generally better than the chaotic moving site. 

Doggy Daycare: Send them to their favorite doggy daycare for the day. This can get them out of the house for the whole day. Plus, playing with their friends may be just what they need to blow off some steam before the journey to the new home. Don’t have a daycare in mind? Try Find Fido to see what’s available in your area. 

A Quiet Room: Finding your dog out-of-house accommodations isn’t always possible. If that’s the case, set them up in a closed-off room with their food, water, toys, and bedding. If they enjoy their crate, you may also want to place that in the room. Just be sure to remember to schedule bathroom breaks and inform any movers that the room that your dog is in isn’t to be packed until last since the dog will have to be relocated first. 

Hold Off on Washing

Scent helps a dog identify their surroundings, so it is best to keep a couple of toys and their bed unwashed for at least the first month following your move. Your dogs will be introduced to a lot of new sights, sounds, and smells in your new home, so the scent of your old home clinging to their belongings can be very comforting. Overall, this simple tip can help them settle into their new home more quickly.  


Feeling like a ball of anxiety yourself? Try to unwind a bit. Pets like dogs and cats are experts and picking up on their owner’s moods. Studies have shown that dogs can synchronize their stress levels to their owners’.  So not only can dogs detect your mood, but they have been shown to mimic it. So, it is best for you and your pooch if you try to unwind a bit during your move. Abolishing stress in its entirety is probably unrealistic, but lowering your stress levels even slightly will help. Exercise or meditation are both proven to help lower stress and are great places to start. 

Don’t Forget Playtime

Lastly, don’t forget to give you dogs lots of attention and playtime during this transition. Moving comes with what feels like an endless to-do list, but taking time to give positive attention to your dog will go a long way to relieve their moving stress. 

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Moving with a dog requires a little more work, but it’s nothing that can’t be handled. By being mindful of your dog’s needs through this transition, you can make your move a lot less stressful for your furriest household member.