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I’m back with tips for moving with a dog!
I know it’s been an age since I was last online and my apologies but I have been so busy with the MOVE I mentioned last month! Not only were we busy packing and unpacking and giving away gently used furniture to some amazing people from our church and bags of clothes to the Salvation Army, but we also had a medical scare on 29 January.
My sweet little rescue boy, Captain Hastings Alyosha, had a cluster of seizures and seemed to be frozen in fear. It was one of the most heart-wrenching and anxious days of my life. Finally, after trying multiple things, Dr. Barry’s intern suggested we go into a pet hospital for an exam.
Since we were still living in Newbury Park, we drove him to Conejo Vet (a 24 Hour Hospital) and the young doctor we saw was very kind but it just didn’t seem like they could do much for him aside from observing. I had made a pledge he wouldn’t be put in a crate (if I could help it) and definitely didn’t think living him overnight was the best idea (what if he thought I had abandoned him?!) so dad and I made a unanimous decision to bring him home. She did give him fluids since he seemed dehydrated and a prescription for Gabapentin for anxiety.
Thankfully the seizures and fearful cries stopped by the next day but with the move happening on 1 February I knew I had to adjust my game plan and figure out how best to coordinate the next few days filled with movers and a house full of strangers. So in case you too are about to move and want best to make the transition smooth for your fur baby –
4 Tips for Moving with a Dog
#1. Likely your dog will be overwhelmed by so much change. It’d be best to keep things as normal as possible.
If you usually go for an evening walk, make sure you still go for an evening walk. If you go to the park in the afternoon, make sure to go to the park. If your fur baby is fed in the kitchen on a special mat, make sure that the mat is ready for him/her when you start the feeding. etc.
Even if you are in the midst of packing boxes or unpacking boxes, try to keep things as normal as possible for your pet. Interesting story – I bought my dog a pet fountain for his water when we moved and he did not touch it once (that I know of) so I ended up buying a water bowl similar to the one he had used at the old house and woah-la ! he started drinking.
#2. Try to remove familiar objects AFTER the dog has left the house.
I know this one is a hard one (especially if you are donating the furniture before the move) but I think us removing familiar objects such as my bed and the couch beforehand was too much for Captain Hastings. While he still had his doggy bed and a couple of other chairs and blankets he was used to, things were happening FAST and anxiety set it. I can only imagine what could have been going through his mind – What if they leave me? What if they get rid of me too?
#3. Remove yourself and your pet (if possible) from the moving procedure.
Again I know this one is not an easy option for most of you but I ended up going to someone else’s home (that he was familiar with) the day before the move when we had Meathead Movers come in to do the packing. By removing ourselves, he did not have to
- witness the packing,
- experience a crew of strangers moving freely around his home,
- and have any causes for fear and anxiety.
I would NOT, however – unless absolutely necessary – remove the pet from the family unit. You do not want to cause your pet any extra unnecessary stress and anxiety with fears of abandonment.
#4. Anxiety medication is a two-edged sword.
You might be asking “is anxiety medication for dogs good?” From my limited experience, medication has been beneficial in calming Captain Hastings down – we’ve used Gabapentin and Xanax. Unfortunately, the Xanax being a downer has had noticeable results including he is often sleeping and not playing nearly as much as he used to at our old house.
Just a reminder – while my tips for moving with a dog have helped us in our situation, I know every situation is different and every family unit is different. Also, I am in no way a licensed pet therapist and/or physician so if you have any questions please ask your family vet.
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