Dogs love routine, and nothing shakes that up like moving. Moving can have negative effects on a dog, whose happiness is dependent on a consistent lifestyle. Your dog may not immediately appreciate your fancy new digs, but making the move as painless as possible keeps his anxiety to a minimum.
Fear and Confusion
Moving to a new home can freak out your dog. All of a sudden, everything from his usual environment -- his cozy spot in front of the heater or the carpet beneath his feet, for example -- are gone. He's spending all of his time in a strange, new place, and suddenly, he doesn't know what to expect at any given time. This can lead to severe problems such as separation anxiety, as he may not feel comfortable staying in this new place all alone. To make the transition smoother, take along his old things, such as toys and beds. If possible, place some of them in the new home before you get there, so they'll be waiting for him on arrival. It makes it seem that much more like home to him.
Your dog can become disoriented and uncomfortable in a new neighborhood. His highly sensitive sense of smell is picking up new aromas, there are dogs he doesn't recognize walking the streets and his favorite fire hydrant is nowhere to be found. If you live nearby your new neighborhood, take your dog there for a few walks before the move. Simply getting to know the area can make him feel less intimidated after moving day.
If you and your dog are moving in with another person -- especially one with pets -- adjusting to the new lifestyle can make your dog feel threatened. He's used to a certain routine, and he may not be open to the idea of sharing you with another animal. To keep fighting and territorial tiffs to a minimum, introduce your dog to the new animal a few times in a neutral location, like a park. This way, when they're suddenly roommates, they aren't total strangers.
None at All
Sometimes, moving doesn't have much of an effect on a dog. Dogs thrive on consistency and predictability, and while the new environment may disarm some dogs, they generally don't respond negatively to moving as long as their routine and their social groups stay the same. This means that if you and your dog aren't living with unfamiliar pets or people, and if you keep up the same routine as before the move, he's more likely to adjust painlessly.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.