How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Adjust to a Move?

by Naomi Millburn, Demand Media
    Moving can be overwhelming for your pup.

    Moving can be overwhelming for your pup.

    Moving is difficult enough for people, but for canines, the situation reaches a whole other level of stress. After all, poor pooches can't exactly comprehend what's going on, and they certainly can't ask questions, either. Some dogs may adjust to the changes involved with moving overnight, while others may take longer to adapt.

    Getting Used to a New Home

    Dogs, like cats, are creatures of habit. When a dog all of a sudden finds himself in a new environment, with new sights, sounds and smells, the experience can throw him temporarily off his game. Even if your pooch felt like the king of the world in your old home, it may take him a bit of time to relax in an unfamiliar place -- and feel his previous confidence again.
    So don't be shocked if your dog seems a little out of it after your move. It's only natural. Change isn't always easy, whether you're a human, Yorkshire terrier or red panda.

    Time Frame

    Although some dogs may bounce back within days, many might need a lot more time. It depends on the dog, and on other key factors as well -- such as how much time you're able to devote to your pet amidst the frantic bustle of moving, from packing to traveling. If a dog feels neglected and ignored, it may take more time for him to adjust. Some dogs require weeks to adjust properly to a new home, according to the Dogs Trust organization of the United Kingdom.

    Taking Things Slowly

    As a loving pet owner, you don't have to watch helplessly as your dog struggles to adapt to his strange, new surroundings. Offer your pup as much familiarity as possible. Make sure he always has some old and comforting items within easy access to him -- a ragged old blanket or a trusty chew toy. The more familiarity your pet has in the middle of confusion, the better. Spend as much time with him as possible, even if it seems like your job of unpacking is endless. Take things slowly. Patience is a must. On your first outdoor walks in the new neighborhood, keep things brief. You don't want to throw a bunch of scary newness on your dog all at once. By keeping your initial walks short, you minimize the chances of encountering a lot of neighborhood dogs -- something your pet probably doesn't need right after moving. Dogs often find canine strangers menacing.

    Professional Assistance

    If you notice that your dog doesn't seem to be adjusting after a few weeks, you may want to consult a veterinarian or certified pet behavior professional. If your dog continues to act in an unusual manner even after months have gone by, health ailments may be the culprit. Don't assume your dog is inappropriately eliminating on your couch out of moving stress, as he may be suffering from a medical issue, whether dietary intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease or something else. Excessive barking, loss of appetite and destructive furniture chewing all can point to issues other than moving nerves, so be careful and get your doggie the assistance he needs -- immediately. Schedule an appointment with the vet at the first sign of anything out of the ordinary in his health or behavior.

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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