Moving with Your Dog by Brittany Lee (Planning your Move)

March 3, 2022. (

1. Prepare your pooch before relocating

While you can’t make dogs understand a move like a human, you can help keep them safe and feel more secure during the process. Keep feeding, grooming and walking times as regular as possible for your dogs to reduce their anxiety as you pack up your home. If you can, set up some empty moving boxes ahead of time to get your pup used to them. Be careful with packing materials because things such as plastic stretch wrap or Bubble Wrap® can be suffocation or choking hazards for dogs.

2. Use proper dog safety restraints

Dogs traveling in cars need proper restraints for their safety and yours. They should ride in a crate, a dog car seat, or with a seatbelt and harness. Crates work well for most dogs.  They should be big enough for them to comfortably turn around inside. Car seats are generally intended for smaller breeds or puppies.  Harnesses come in assorted sizes to best fit your pup.

While most states don’t have specific laws requiring the use of a dog restraint inside the vehicle, police officers in the U.S. are able to issue a ticket at their discretion if they witness distracted driving caused by a loose dog in the car. Be sure to check restraints each time you return to the car after a pit stop in case the straps loosen during travel.

If your pooch will be traveling by plane, check with the airline about the requirements for a carrier for transport. Keep familiar toys and bedding with your dogs to help them feel at ease.

3. Practice traveling with your pup before moving

If your dog isn’t used to car rides, moving day isn’t best for a first road trip. Take practice drives to get them ready for a longer journey and determine if they have any issues such as motion sickness or anxiety in the vehicle. Also, don’t wait until the last minute to introduce your dogs to a crate if they’ll be traveling in one, especially for flying. Allow plenty of time to establish the crate as a safe space for your pups so they won’t be frightened of it when it’s time to go.

4. Help dogs adjust to a new place

Dogs need time to get used to a different environment. Consider allowing them access to a home one section at a time to see how they do in the space. Even if your dogs didn’t mess with things before, the stress of a move can make them more likely to display destructive behaviors such as chewing or potty accidents.

New sounds, scents and animals in the neighborhood can be upsetting to your pups. Take them for walks regularly so they can grow accustomed to their new surroundings. Be understanding if they regress or forget their manners during the adjustment process. Just be patient! Dogs take their cues from you, so give them lots of affection and reassurance as they learn to love their new home.

5. Establish care with a new vet

Make sure your pups are set up with a new veterinarian to find out if they need additional vaccinations or different flea, tick and heartworm prevention medications in your new neighborhood. The vet’s office can recommend pet sitters and dog daycare centers in the area if you need those services.

Have questions about moving?

If you’re moving soon — with or without a dog — and have more questions, just let us know in the comments! We’re always happy to help!