Moving House With Your Dog

Private Property South Africa
Doug Mattushek

Moving house is a stressful time. One finds all sorts of junk in the back of your cupboards you’re not quite sure what to do with and you realise the DIY dining room table that your husband put together a few months ago can’t fit through the front door. You also keep losing the sticky tape.

While these are hassles, they are quite small compared to what your dog is feeling. Unless he’s a simple minded fellow, he is going to know that something is up. Things are being put into strange brown squares, there are no more carpets to snuggle on and he is getting way less attention.

All that said, here are a few tips to make moving easier for your other loved ones.

You could decide to book your dog into your local kennel just for a couple days while you do the bulk of the move. After the home is set up, you can introduce him to his new surroundings. While this may be convenient, make sure your dogs’ vaccinations and de-worming are up to date before you drop him off at the kennels.

Alternatively, I think most of us would like to keep our dogs with us during the move. The key here is keep him in one place. Clear out a room, put his bed inside and close the door. Don’t forget to tell the removal guys which room to avoid!

When travelling with your dog, make sure he has enough space to stand and lie down comfortably. If it’s a long drive, then stop once in a while and let him stretch his legs and drink some water. It may go without say, but never leave your dog in a hot car with the windows closed.

Be sure to inspect the new garden perimeter and fix any holes in the fence. Remove any old bones or chew toys you find lying around. Check with the previous owners that there is no rat or snail poison on the property.

While you may have a new home, it doesn’t mean your dog needs one too. All the alien smells could make him feel insecure. Bring along his unwashed bed or kennel as this will provide him with some familiarity. You could even go the extra mile and plant his scent around the house. Simply rub a soft cotton cloth around his snout and dab it around the new house at dog height. Repeat every other day to build up the scent.

In the days following the move, give your dog a little more attention than usual. Play with him in the garden and walk him around the new neighbourhood. Like humans, dogs can get a bit cranky if they are hungry. Establish a routine with small frequent meals so you have more contact with him initially and he can learn when to expect the food instead of worrying about it.

With a little bit of love and a lot of patience, you and your four legged friend will be enjoying your new space in no time.

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