64% of people said that a recent move was “the most stressful thing they had to go through,” according to one survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of North American Van Lines. While factors such as hiring movers and packing up valuables can be stressful enough, figuring out how you’ll get Fido from one home — and settled into the next — can seem nearly impossible. By organizing the essentials ahead of time, proactively making safety a priority, and sorting out transportation details beforehand, you can effectively minimize stress for you and your pup throughout the moving process.

The value of organization

Organization can go a long way when preparing for a big move, from the process of cleaning up the current home and packing everything to settling into your new house. Planning ahead can be greatly beneficial in regard to your pup, too. In addition to packing up their belongings in their own (labeled) box, it’s equally as imperative to ensure that your pup’s necessities such as medication, health records, and other important items are left out and easily accessible throughout the moving process. However, planning ahead extends well beyond getting your dog’s belongings sorted.

Having your pet’s identification information up to date is imperative before moving (especially if your dog is known to run off). If you use ID tags, ensure that they’re up to date with the correct information before you begin the moving process. Some pet parents may consider microchipping. “I recommend microchipping, especially when you are going across state lines,” says Dr. Jennifer Monroe of Eagle’s Landing Veterinary Hospital in McDonough, Georgia. “Unfortunately, we have a lot of animals that get away during the move because people accidentally leave the car door open. Be sure to have current ID tags and a microchip with at least your phone number.” Investing in a GPS tracker that can easily attach to Fido’s collar can further ensure peace of mind. The FitBark 2nd Gen GPS + Health can make for a great pre-move investment, and includes a variety of features — including location tracking, health monitoring and escape alerts in addition to being waterproof, to highlight just a few.

Orchestrating an efficient (and safe) moving day

Safety should be at the forefront of any move, and factoring in Fido’s schedule for the big day should be no exception. Organizing ahead of time for a friend or family member to watch over your dog on moving day is certainly an option worth considering, especially if you’re not moving far. This will work to effectively ensure that your pup isn’t at risk of getting hurt while heavy furniture is being moved, and will ensure that your dog doesn’t get underfoot or possibly run off amidst the craziness of the day. For those who aren’t able to arrange a babysitter, however, there are other options. Setting up your dog in an empty room in your old house-to-be is just one option — by being empty, nobody will have a reason to enter and exit, leaving the space ideal for setting up a temporary sanctuary for your dog away from the hustle and bustle of moving day. Ensuring that there is plenty of water, food, toys, and a bed and blanket can keep your dog occupied until it’s time for a walk — or time to go to the new house.

Once it’s time to head to the new home, creating a pet-friendly experience upon arrival is just as imperative. Utilizing the same concept and nominating a room as a secure area for your dog will allow them to slowly acclimate to the new space as you get settled. While dogs typically settle into new spaces easier than cats, it’s just as important to help your pup acclimate to their new surroundings by keeping as normal of a routine as possible. This means taking Fido out on walks at the normally scheduled time, keeping feeding times the same, and of course, ensuring that there is plenty of play time in between. Once everything is moved in, moving your dog’s food and water dishes, bed, and toys into their appropriate places in the home can be done.

Factoring in transportation

Ensuring that plans are made to properly accommodate your dog during transport is essential. When traveling, the American Kennel Club recommends a crate or harness that attaches to the seat belt for your dog’s safety. Ensuring that the crate is large enough for your pup, is secured to the vehicle, and is strong (with handles or grips, etc.), has a leak-proof bottom, and proper ventilation are additional aspects to keep in mind. If you’re flying, planning ahead by checking the rules and regulations regarding pet travel will ensure you’re compliant and ready to go on the big day.  If you’re driving, planning out rest stops along the way will allow time for your pup to stretch their legs and do their business. 

For long haul trips, planning to bring along a bag of dog supplies (a doggy diaper bag, if you will) will ensure that you have everything you could possibly need on hand and at the ready, regardless as to your mode of transportation to the new home. Waste bags, a leash, collapsible food and water bowls, enough food for the journey, and a few toys (as well as any medications, if needed) are just a few key items that can be made easily accessible on the trip. When at a rest stop, simply grabbing the bag and taking your pup for a walk can not only keep things moving smoothly, but can keep your dog’s essentials separate from the chaos of moving.

Moving into a new home is an exciting — and incredibly stressful — event for many. When factoring in Fido, however, there are plenty of ways to plan ahead and successfully incorporate him into the big day, from updating important information, making plans for moving day, and thinking ahead when it comes to transportation.