How To Move House With Your Dog With Paw Shakes Not Body Shakes

Even if the move to your new house is a joyful decision, the whole process of getting there can be very stressful for you and your family. This is also true of your dog.


He or she is seeing strange behavior, strange people, and is experiencing new smells and sounds. It’s a very puzzling time for your loyal friend.

Following are some general tips for reducing their stress. If you are planning to move overseas, there is even more to consider.

Where Will Your Dog Be On Moving Day?

Before you book your movers, make plans for where your dog will be on Moving Day. Protective dogs may feel aggressive with all the visitors walking in and out of their house on Moving Day. At the very least, your dog will be confused and feeling stressed.

A Safe Room

One choice is to set aside a “safe” room for your dog on Moving Day. I like to choose a room that won’t be busy on Moving Day, such as the bathroom or laundry.

  • Clear out as much of the room as you can so that the movers don’t need to spend much time in there.
  • You can take your dog for a walk on the leash while the room is cleared by the movers on the day.
  • You’ll need their unwashed bedding, their food and water bowls and toys.
  • Perhaps leave a chair that is easy to move in the safe room. You and your family members can sit there while comforting your dog.
  • If you have more than one pet, consider if they should be in the same safe room. Are they used to being together at stressful times? If you are lucky enough to also have a cat, here's some tips about Moving House With Your Cat.
  • Tell the moving company about your dog when you make your booking. They handle these issues every day. Tell them about the safe room, and they may have some suggestions about how that fits into clearing the house.

A Dog Sitter

A family member could take your dog out on Moving Day. Or you could invite a friend over for the day to look after your dog. They could go for walks, go for a coffee and sit in the park.


As a last resort, consider boarding your dog for the last night and through Moving Day.

  • If your dog is used to going to a boarding kennel, this may be a comfort to them.
  • If this is something they are not used to, they will not understand why you are leaving them in a strange place on their own. Use of a dog-appeasing pheromone (DAP) will comfort your dog until you can come back for them.
  • Vaccinations and worming will need to be up-to-date.

No matter what your choice is, decide who will be the person to supervise your dog on Moving Day, because you will be too busy.

A Few Weeks Before Moving Day

If the worst happens and your dog escapes on Moving Day, obviously you want to get them back as soon as possible.

  • Ensure the tag on your dog’s collar has a current phone number. A mobile number would be best.
  • Microchipping your dog will speed up the return of your dog if they run away.
  • If your dog is already microchipped, ensure that the contact details are up-to-date.

Your dog will know that things are changing. The packing boxes, suitcases and the change in the general mood will tell your dog that their world is shifting.

  • Keep your normal walking, play and feeding routines.
  • Take your dog with your when you go out.
  • Extra walks and extra pats will be reassuring, but do not fuss over your dog.

Consult Your Vet

  • Ask your Vet to check your dog’s general health and condition, especially if they will be traveling by air.
  • If your dog is older, ask your Vet for advice about which type of travel is best.
  • Ask your Vet if there are any extra vaccinations required for the area you are moving to or areas that you will be traveling through.
  • If your dog gets sick on car trips, ask about anti-sickness medications.
  • Ask about a cleaning product that removes the smell if your dog has an accident in the new house.
  • Consider using a dog-appeasing pheromone (DAP) to relax your dog on Moving Day. The DAP can be used near your cat, as it will have no effect on them.

In The Week Before Moving Day

  • If possible, take your dog to visit the new house. Tell your dog that this is their new home.
  • If you can, inspect the back yard to ensure the fencing is high enough, solid enough and in good repair. Check for holes near the fence that your dog could continue digging under the fence.
  • When you are packing, tell your dog that you are packing for the new house and that he or she will be coming with you. Use positive language.
  • Your dog will pick up on your emotions. Try to stay calm, work on being joyful. These feelings will be communicated to your pet.
  • Take enough water from your old house to last for a few days. The different water is noticeable to dogs. When you put that together with the whole moving process, this can be upsetting emotionally to dogs. It can also cause an upset tummy.
  • If needed, have your dog’s new identification tag ready to use after the move.
  • Purchase some extra chew bones and treats for Moving Day.
  • Also, ensure you have enough plastic bags and scoops.
  • Wear an old t-shirt in the last week. Don’t wash it. You can use this with your dog’s bedding on the trip and in the new house to increase their comfort.
  • Start using the DAP a few days before Moving Day, if it is part of your plan.

On Moving Day

  • Review your plan. Ensure your dog’s overseer is comfortable with the strategy for the day.
  • If your dog is using a safe room, take him for a long walk on the leash before the movers arrive. Use the DAP or any medications that were prescribed by your Vet.
  • Put a sign on the safe room door to remind everyone that there is a dog inside.
  • If you plan to tie up your dog for any period, use a chain leash. They could chew through a nylon leash.
  • Pack your dog’s belongings last so they are the first items into the new house. Include a hot water bottle if you think it may be beneficial in the new house.

Traveling By Car With Your Dog

  • Plan your route. Look for dog-friendly stops.
  • If you need to stay overnight, research dog-friendly accommodation before your trip.
  • If your dog will not be in a crate in the car, secure your dog with an appropriate harness in the back seat. Your dog must be able to stand up and lie down in comfort.
  • Plan bathroom breaks at least every 4 hours. Take this into account when timing your journey.
  • Make sure you have plenty of water.
  • Having familiar toys and bedding in the car will reduce stress.
  • ake your dog for a short walk on the leash each time you stop for a break.

Traveling By Train With Your Dog

  • When you make your booking, ask if you can keep your dog with you during the trip. Otherwise, get all the information you can to ensure a peaceful trip.
  • Amtrak allows small dogs as carry-on baggage in at least one Coach Class train car on each trip. Your dog must be in an approved carrier. The carrier with the dog can weigh up to 20 pounds. Check out the Amtrak website for details.
  • Take spare bedding, absorbent paper and plastic bags in case of accidents.
  • Keep in mind that you will need to be able to carry the weight of the carrier with the dog in it.

Traveling By Air With Your Dog

  • To help you with your research, we have compiled a list of links to the pet pages of the websites of some of the major airlines.
  • If you have a small dog, ask your airline if he or she can stay with you in the cabin.
  • Check that the plane’s cargo bay will be pressurized and heated.
  • Ensure your dog has their own travel crate. It needs to big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around.
  • A non-stop flight is preferable to cut down the number of times your dog is moved.
  • In warm weather, avoid leaving or arriving in in the middle of the day. This will prevent your dog sitting on a hot runway waiting to be boarded or, having disembarked, waiting to proceed to the air terminal. On the other hand, if the weather is cold, aim to leave or arrive in the middle of the day.
  • Allow time for your dog to get used to the travel crate at home.
  • Sedation for your dog is not recommended for air travel. The effects of sedation in a pressurized cargo bay at high altitude are unpredictable, and can cause respiratory problems. Sedation also prevents your dog from bracing to react to movements of the travel crate, and they may be injured as a result.
  • Ask the Vet if there are any known hazards or diseases at your destination that you need to prepare for.
  • Your dog’s vaccinations need to be current, and the airline will probably require a certificate of health.
  • Get a list of Veterinarians at your destination in case of emergency.
  • Attach a Live Animal” sign to the travel crate.
  • Take your dog for a long walk before he or she goes into their travel crate on the day of the flight.
  • After you are seated on the plane, ask the flight attendant to confirm that your dog has been boarded.

The First Week In The New House

  • When you arrive at the new house, take your dog for a long walk before approaching the front door. Then let your dog follow you into the house. Show your dog around while still on the leash.
  • Unpack your dog’s bedding and other items before the other packing boxes.
  • Show your dog all the important places, such as where his or her bed is and where the food and water bowls are.
  • Settle your dog into their familiar bed or crate or in the safe room. Do not allow your dog to run through the house.
  • Use the DAP to comfort your dog in their new surroundings.
  • If your dog is cold, he or she will benefit from a hot water bottle wrapped in a t-shirt, small blanket, or other fabric that smells like you.
  • Use your dog’s usual bowls and toys. Do not wash his or her blanket for a couple of weeks. The familiar smell will be a comfort to your dog.
  • Start to allow your dog access to one room at a time.
  • For the first couple of days, give your dog only water from the old house. After that, gradually start mixing the water from the old house with the water from the new house.
  • Start your planned routines for meals, walks and grooming in the new house immediately, especially if you have changed time zones. The more quickly your dog knows what to expect, the less time it will take to relax.
  • If you haven’t had a chance previously, inspect the back yard to ensure it is safe for your dog. Keep your dog on the leash outside until any work required is completed.
  • Unlike cats, there is no need to keep your dog inside for the first few days. Keep your dog on the leash and stay with them for the first time in the garden. An extendable leash will provide more freedom for your dog. Accompany your dog each time they go outside until you feel they are comfortable.
  • In the excitement and nervousness of the new house, your dog may have a little accident on the floor. Don’t punish him or her. Just clean it up. If you chose to get the special cleaner from the Vet, use that to remove the smell. Praise them when they go in the right place.
  • Keep in mind the house training strategies you used when your dog was a puppy.
  • Don’t baby your dog when they are anxious. You don’t want to reward and encourage this behavior. This situation is only temporary.
  • If your dog hates being bathed or groomed, don’t do this until they are feeling more secure in the new house. Try to schedule these activities before the move.
  • The strange smells in your new house will make your dog feel insecure. Take an old sock and rub it around your dog’s face. Then rub this scent at your dog’s height in the rooms that he or she has access to. This will provide their own scent in addition to the relaxing DAP scent.
  • If possible, try to stay home on the first day while your dog gets used to the new surroundings. Consider hiring a pet sitter for the first few days if you need to go to work. When your dog is looking more comfortable, you can gradually reduce the amount of time spent with the pet sitter.
  • Watch your dog; look for any signs of ill-health caused by stress. Take your dog for a visit to the Vet if he or she is not settling down or is not feeling well.

Pat your dog, play and chat with him or her. It’s a very stressful time for both of you, but planning ahead will help to ease the anxiety of the move.

If you have any stories about moving house with your dog that might help someone else, please leave a comment below.

Leave a Comment:

CommentLuv badge

1 comment
Aaron C. says

Excellent article! I’ve contemplated all the things that could go wrong when moving your dog, but this article makes it seem much easier. Thanks for writing!

Add Your Reply