Tips for moving house with your dog

Moving house is a stressful time for both humans and their canine friends. But there are things you can do to make life easier for them.

* You should first check out the new property for any potential problems, ahead of time. Are there any holes in the fence? Is the fence too low, so that your dog is likely to escape into an unfamiliar neighborhood? You don’t want to arrive, with all your furniture and belongings packed up, only to have the added stress of finding your wandering dog.

* Find out whether the area you are moving to has problems with heartworm or paralysis ticks. This is particularly important if you are moving overseas or interstate.

* To be prepared for all possible contingencies, find out where the closest after-hours animal emergency center is. That way, if there’s a serious problem, you’ll be able to address it quickly, without searching the neighborhood. You could also see if your old vet has any recommendations for vets in the area. And its a good idea to get a copy of your dog’s veterinary history before you go, particularly if he has ongoing problems.

* Will you be traveling by car? Has your dog traveled in the car before? Dogs can get carsick too. Don’t feed your dog for 4 or so hours before you need to leave. If your dog salivates a lot in the car, be sure to take plenty of towels along. If he salivates a lot, you may want to consider crating him for the journey. If you have a grid that you can put in the bottom of the crate, he will remain dry.

* If your dog has never been in the car before, try taking him for short trips before you need to move. Some dogs can get nervous in cars, and this way, he’ll have a chance to get used to the experience. Try avoiding trips in heavy traffic, however. The frequent stops and starts in traffic can make dogs feel nauseous.

* Don’t let your dog put his head out the window! It can damage his eyes, and some dogs will jump out – even when the car is moving.

* If you’re moving quite far away from your old home, you might want to take along some water, enough to last him a few days. Some dogs can get sick when getting used to new water, due to the different ‘bugs’ that can be in water. Whilst he will get used to the new water, it can be less stressful on him physically and emotionally if he is feeling well.

* In case your dog does escape after the move, it helps to have a recent photograph of him that isn’t packed away.

* If you are traveling by car, make sure you stop regularly, so that he has a chance to have a drink, and go to the toilet. You don’t want him getting dehydrated.

References: 1. Dogs Life, Jan/Feb 2006 2. B Kilcommons and S Wilson, Good Owners, Great Dogs

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