How to Help a Dog Adjust to a New Home After Moving

Full article 16 min read
Moving With Pets

Moving to a new house is very exciting, especially if you have upgraded your lifestyle and neighborhood. But, adjusting to the new place is a little difficult; it takes a few months to connect to the house and the area. Pets also face similar situations. They feel much more displaced and anxious than we. It takes a long time for pets to get used to their new surroundings. It will be difficult for your dog to be at ease in your new home for some time. Meanwhile, it would help if you made efforts to put your pet at ease and give it the attention it needs. Mostly the pets will try to be a little clingy and seek attention, but if they are highly anxious, the pets will show some signs for you to understand. Keep your eyes and ears open until then.

Ideally, you should bring in the changes slowly and keep the dog always in the loop when trying something new, be it furniture settings, tapestry, or plants.

Understand your dog and help them adjust to your new home quickly. Your dog will probably keep searching for things it has been accustomed to and will get anxious when unable to find them. Try several tricks beforehand so you can help put your dog at ease.

Some of them are mentioned below:

Stay Calm

The dogs are great observers and highly perceptible. The dog will read your body language and emotions when anxious. So, it is vital to stay calm and composed. You must be going through a very hectic and tiring time during shifting, but you need to show composure for your pet. Meanwhile, give your furry friend the attention and care it needs and deserves during these changing times. Your dog will be back to its usual self once it gets familiar with its new environment in just a few days.


Familiarize pet with the new environment

Your dog should feel comfortable and at ease in the new house. The process will take its own time; you need to stay patient and caring until then. Another way to familiarize the dog with the new home is to keep bringing your pet to the new place before shifting. Get the dog along when you visit the house for repairs, document exchange with the previous owner, etc. This way, your pet will have seen the new home a few times before moving in and be aware of the place.

Besides that, you can take your dog out for a walk every day after shifting into the new home. It will help your pet get acquainted with the new surrounding area. The dog will be in a happy space if it is aware of the house and its area. 

See Also: Moving With A Dog

Pet-proof your new place

Your pet was used to the environment of your old home; it was aware of its danger. The steep stairs or rough edges and open shelves were known to it. In the new house, it is unaware of anything. Hence it is essential to pet-proof the house keep your dog safe and injury-free.

If your house has a fence, check if no room is available for them to jump off or escape. It would be best if you gated the dog indoors and outdoors. Cover all the dangerous things inside and around the house, like open electrical wires, uncovered fireplace, low railing on the balcony, poisonous plants, etc. Before you let your furry baby explore the surrounding, make sure the following things are taken care of:

• Install window screens to prevent pets from accidentally falling out of a window.

• Cover electrical cords and wires and tie all cords to window blinds.

• Keep appliance doors closed at all times.

• Keep medications and chemical products locked away.

• Keep sharp and fragile items, batteries, plastic bags, and potentially dangerous things in securely closed drawers or cabinets.

• Keep out of reach any foods and drinks that can be dangerous for your dog – chocolate, raisins, avocados, coffee, alcoholic beverages, etc.

Also Read: How to Dog Proof Your Home After Moving


Do not wash the bedding of your dog immediately

When moved to a new space, your dog will look for familiar things to feel comfortable and cozy, which could be challenging in the new home. Hence, the best trick is to not wash your furry pet’s bedding and blanket for a few days into the move. An accustomed smell will be comforting. You should also avoid buying any new things for your dog for some time until it gets comfortable in the new space. The old bedding of the dog or its toys might need a change with the new house, but be patient. Don’t be hasty in buying new things now.

Don’t change the dog’s routine.

Stick to the same old routine you had with your dog at the old home. It might be tricky after the shifting ordeal and crazy schedules, but do keep in mind that animals are creatures of habit. From the beginning, feed them, walk them, and play with them at the same designated time you used to at the old house. The unfamiliarity of the new place can be worked upon by practicing familiar habits. This tip will help your dog adjust to the new home quickly.

Recreate the old setup in the new home

You should try and arrange the new home in the old pattern and style. It is not as easy as it sounds, though. To begin with, set up the house in the old way and slowly change one thing at a time. Your furry friend will be used to the home setup, even at the new house, and its anxiety levels will be reduced.

If you can’t keep the setup of your new home similar, at least try and keep the dog’s area identical to the old style. Its sleeping space, food, and water station should be reinstated as it was in the old house.

Give your pet attention and care

Furry fellows are naive and innocent like little children. They get lost in a new environment, and you will be the only anchor at such crucial times. Be mentally prepared to take extra care of your loving pet. If you go out of the house when newly shifted, your pet might feel very insecure and even try to escape. When recently moved, give all the attention your dog requires. Rest assured that your furry pet will want your extra time only for a short duration.


Give your dog time to adjust

Time is the biggest healer. Your fluffy mate will gradually forget the old house and the way of things there and begin adapting to the new place and routine as the new normal. It is wise to stay calm and patient and let time roll out its magic.

Overnight change isn’t favorable for anyone, let alone a pet. Some dogs adjust faster than others; it entirely depends on the breed, home environment, and your behavior with the dog.

Keep your furry friend on a leash

Keep the leash on the dog until it gets comfortable with the surroundings and learns the way around. You might still be working on putting things in place in the newly shifted home, and the dog doors might not yet be in place. Cleaning supplies and boxes might be scattered around. All this can be potentially dangerous for furry creatures.

Explore slowly and safely with the dog

Explore your neighborhood slowly and carefully. Take your dog along everywhere you go. But remember, your furry friend can hear and be distracted or disturbed by too many sounds, more than you. So, take care not to meet many people simultaneously. Visit neighbors’ or friends’ homes only one at a time. Your dog will take time to handle so many new people and sights. When meeting new people, make sure to introduce them to your furry friend. It will give it an idea of familiarity when they visit your home. They will then not bark at these faces nor get alarmed at a ‘Stranger Danger.’

Also, keep in mind that your dog might not be aware of many new places like a swimming pool, tennis court, or basketball court that you or your neighbors might own. Do keep an extra eye on its safety when such places are near your visitors.

Don’t expect perfection

Try and have no expectations from your furry friend. This way, little results will make you happy and optimistic. The pets are like little kids; they will take time to understand and adjust, so be very patient and calm around them.

Bonding with your Dog before Moving

Moving is tough for us humans, let alone dogs. You should handle the move with your furry partner very carefully. The dog can feel very anxious in a new environment. Try making the process less worrisome and painful for you and your pet.

Plan well to avoid surprises

Pets are your responsibility, and you must find ways to keep them safe and secure when shifting. Planning will help you understand and clear hurdles one at a time with ease.

You should find out the following things related to your pet before moving:

• local laws for pets

• Leash laws

• Ban any breed of dogs in your new area

• Walking the dog

• Pet insurance policy

Find a new vet

Don’t wait to discover a new vet when the dog falls ill or gets infected. Start looking for a vet around your new house soon. It would help if you researched or found out from people living in the same area with pets. Also, enquire from your vet if the dog needs any preventive medicines or new vaccinations after the move. Knowing if the new place has ticks, heartworms, and other mites are important.

Make an ID card for your dog

During shifting, many mishaps occur as there is crazy chaos. Get a microchip attached to your dog before the moving process. It will be easier to track your furry pet when you might be too busy to keep an eye on it. Also, make an ID card and attach it to the pet’s collar; keep it attached during the moving process and at the new home until your furry friend is comfortable with the surroundings.


Prepare your dog for the trip

You should practice and prepare your pet for the move. Find a comfortable way for it to travel the distance from your old home to the new. Most dog experts recommend Car-GO. Before moving, make sure your dog is familiar with the Car-GO and shouldn’t be pushed to sit in it on a moving day.

See Also: Tips for Safely Moving a Fish Tank

Start training now

If you are downsizing your house from a house to an apartment, you should start training your furry mate accordingly. Make apparent goals and start training your dog to follow them.

Few essential tips. Try getting your pet exposed to a few noises that you think you might hear after the move and are unfamiliar with. Train it to not bark at neighbors. It will have a smaller place to move and train for its bathroom schedule, so plan to prepare it accordingly.

Prepare them for the new inning

Take your furry friend to similar locations and environments where you will be moving shortly. Make them aware of the neighborhood, animals, and houses around. Ask for calming medicine from your vet to be given to your pet ahead of time.

Take your dog to the new place before the move

Please take it to the new home much before the move. If possible multiple times. Walk around the house make the dog run in the yard. Let it feel the presence of natural habitat around.


Moving home is a critical and hectic period. Patience is essential in the process, so be calm and patient and hope for the best. Make sure you have planned well for your dog and its journey.


What happens when you move house with a new dog?

Remember that the old owner shouldn’t visit the dog in the new home. If that happens, it will confuse the dog. It is wise to shift ownership during the day as dogs generally feel more insecure at night.


How do you make identification tools for the dog?

Make sure you fit a microchip in the dog and make it wear an identification tag on its collar. It would be best to keep making it wear the collar until you think it is needed.

What should we do with the dog on a moving day?

• Give your dog a break at a pet sitter’s home.

• Pack essential items like water, food, an extra towel, toys, bedding, etc., for your dog.

• Feed the pet a light meal, especially if it has a sensitive stomach.

• Don’t clean your pet’s mattress and blanket.

• Keep your furry friend safe in the car.

• Take short breaks with the dog if your travel route is long.

Moving home is a critical and hectic period. Patience is essential in the process, so be calm and patient and hope for the best. Make sure you have planned well for your dog and its journey.

Written by

Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.