Guest post by Cindy Aldrige (ourdogfriends.org)
Image via Unsplash
As you prepare to buy and move into a new home, you have a checklist of everything you need. From the features you want in your dream home to all that has to be accomplished before moving day, you know exactly what needs to happen and when. But if you’re a dog owner, there may be one aspect of your move you’re overlooking: Your four-legged companion. Even if the last thing you need is one more item on your to-do list, adding these will make your move more successful and stress-free.
1. Find a House that Makes Dog Ownership Easy
When it comes to living with a dog, space can make or break the arrangement. A small home with plush carpets looks quaint but put a big dog in it and you’ll have unpleasant pet odors in no time. Similarly, floor-to-ceiling windows look elegant until their lower half is covered in nose smudges and paw prints.
Look for a house that delivers dog-friendly living without sacrificing style. Stone, porcelain tile, or luxury vinyl floors offer a high-end appearance in easy-care surfaces that resist scratching and staining. An oversized tub or walk-in shower makes bath time easy. A big laundry room is a convenient place for a pet supply station with extra food, treats, and dog supplies. And, of course, a fenced yard gives your dog room to play while keeping him safely contained.
2. Choose a Dog-Friendly Neighborhood
Your home is more than the structure itself. Your home is a part of the community around it and all it has to offer. Make sure you choose a neighborhood where your dog will be a welcome addition to the fabric of community life.
Consider a neighborhood’s sidewalks: Are they in good repair, well-lit, and popular? Plenty of homeowners out with their dogs on the evenings and weekends is a good sign you’ve found a dog-friendly neighborhood. What about nearby parks? According to the University of Washington, green spaces encourage exercise and social connection, which are good for you and your dog.
3. Protect Your Dog From Moving Chaos
When you’re packing away all your belongings, your dog doesn’t understand that you’re just moving to a new house. Instead, he ends up confused and worried you’re leaving without him. Coordinating packing with your dog in mind can reduce his stress and prevent resultant behavior issues.
Pack gradually to keep the changes hidden from your dog. Start with areas he doesn’t often see, like closets and the attic, and avoid moving large items like furniture until the very end. Subtle, gradual changes are less likely to set off your dog’s alarms.
When moving day arrives, make arrangements for your dog to be out of the way. Not only will the commotion of moving leave your dog anxious, but he could get hurt, escape, or be a hazard to movers navigating bulky items out of your home.
4. Give Your New House a Familiar Feel
It’s not uncommon for dogs to misbehave after a big life transition. According to the ASPCA, moving makes dogs vulnerable to separation anxiety, which could trigger destructive or nuisance behaviors when you’re out of the house. As your move is winding down, take steps to reassure your dog that you’re not going anywhere.
Maintain the same routines you had in the previous home. Keep walks, feeding times, and bedtime routines the same, even if that means sacrificing unpacking progress. And while moving to a new house sounds like a great opportunity to redecorate, this isn’t the time to replace your dog’s accouterments. Using his same old dog bed and toys communicates to your dog that this new place is home.
Whether you’re moving to a whole new city or just moving across town, keep your dog’s needs in mind throughout the process. A change in residence is an exciting time for you and your family, and with a little extra care and attention, your dog is sure to feel the same way.
Our guest blogger Cindy Aldridge started ourdogfriends.org as a fun side project for herself and to educate pet owners about how dogs can enrich our lives. She enjoys writing about dogs and pet ownership.
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