Essential Tips for Moving House with a Dog

Essential Tips for Moving House with a Dog

, by Maeve Reidy, 7 min reading time

Moving house with Fido? There's a few things you need to keep in mind when moving with your dog!

Packing up and moving to a new house is stressful at the best of times … add in a dog (however chilled/relaxed a breed it is) and it can be downright challenging to say the least!

However exciting/nerve-wracking/stressful you consider moving house is, imagine for a moment what it’s like for your dog! Their home is being emptied and there are strange noises, unusual smells and new people entering and leaving – and that’s all before you’ve actually moved … and while you might know and understand what’s happening, they have no idea what all the upheaval is about!

Dogs are (pretty much) simple and straightforward. They view you as the Alpha of the Pack, and whatever you’re doing, they are just happy to be with you. But there’s no getting away from the fact that moving house IS stressful, both for you and your canine buddy!

You can help minimise your dog’s stress levels by following these Essential Tips …

moving house with a dog

Update your Dog’s Details

You’ve advised your utility suppliers, bank, employer, friends & family and even the dude in the coffee shop you get your shot of caffeine each workday morning that you’re moving … but presumably your four-legged pal is moving with you too? So make sure to update their microchip details!

All too often, there are pictures on social media of a woe-begone doggie who’s been found wandering with the heartbreaking caption “Does anybody recognise this dog?” Having updated microchip details will get your pooch back to you quickly if Fido decides to go on an unauthorised walk-about!

Choose a Safe Room

On the day of the move, confine your dog to one room. This will help them stay safe while heavy objects are being moved, and stop them from getting under your feet and causing harm to themselves or others.

Once you’ve arrived at the new house, it’s a good idea to keep your dog in one room to help acclimatise them to the new smell of the house. Leave them with some food, water, plus their bed and some toys, which will provide some familiarity and the smell of their former house. It’s also a perfect time to forget about laundering clothes (Yay! One less chore!) and leave your dog to snuggle up with your dirty washing … you’ll probably already know that a dog’s sense of smell is way better than a human’s, and if they can’t snuggle up to you while you’re darting from room to room trying to pack/unpack, the next best thing is snuggling in to something that smells of you!

If possible, it may also be a good idea to have a familiar person (such as their dog walker or close relative) take them out of the house for a walk/run-about during the packing process to minimise any distress. The added bonus is that dogs consider a walk a massive stress-reliever, so will be a lot more chilled when he comes back.

Let’s Go Outside!

Take your dog outside regularly so they learn where the bathroom is. Dogs can be quite specific about where they relieve themselves, so make a few extra bathroom trips a day and give them plenty of time to find places they are comfortable in. Of course,  you will have already checked that the back garden has a fully secure fence or wall. If in doubt, throw on their lead so they’re not tempted to do a disappearing act!

Get with the Routine!

Dogs are creatures of habit. Most dog trainers, dog behaviourists, vets, people who work with dogs etc will tell you that a dog’s “bad behaviour” is related to them not knowing the Rules of the House. So you, as Pack Leader, need to tell them what’s acceptable behaviour and what’s not. Once they know, a dog (or cat or any pet, really!) will become a lot more relaxed once they know what The Routine is.

Choose your dog’s feeding and sleeping areas carefully and make sure you stick with the routines. If you’re moving on a Saturday, and you normally cook Spag Bols for Saturday tea, with the dog (or cat!) expecting a bit of mince for their Saturday tea, you better make sure you have a bit of mince for them … even if you’re shattered and are only fit for a take-away!

Lead Me … And I will Follow!

During the first few weeks at your new place, keep them on a lead when going out for walks. As soon as they build up confidence in their new surroundings, you can let them run around local parks or other safe places. However, you need to make yourself familiar with any “local” dog-walking rules you may not be aware of. Have you moved to the seaside? Are dogs allowed off-lead only at certain times? Visiting your new nearest park? Are there areas in the park where dogs must be kept on-lead, or are there specific areas they can run free? It’s also a good idea to walk them on-lead around the new neighbourhood so they get to know who’s who … you don’t want them going into full overdrive Barky-Stranger-Danger Mode every time your new neighbour nips outside to their bins!

The Old Stomping Ground …!

Depending on how far away you’re moving, your dog may attempt to run away back to your old home if it’s nearby. Let the new occupants (or your old neighbours) know that your dog may possibly come back, and instruct them to not encourage your dog by feeding them, petting them, or letting them inside. Ask them to simply call you so that you can come and pick your pet up.


When we moved into our house, we were a cat household. I’m sure I’ve told this story before, but we forgot about the hole in the kitchen wall that was waiting for the hob extractor fan to be installed. Cue Kitty-Magnet! And we spent the next 10 days trawling the streets and posting “Lost Cat” posters! Thankfully we found them; and they lived long and happy lives (but never went beyond the garden wall! LOL!)

The past 8, or so years, we’re now a confirmed dog household. We’ve recently been joined by Cody the Cardboard King (as we like to call him!) an abandoned Lockdown Pup. As I was writing this article, I realised a lot of these tips could apply to him … after all, he’s basically had to move to a new house, even if we haven’t! He’s, um, still a work in progress!!!

Maeve, Box Depot

Persia the Escapologist CatCody the Cardboard King

Persia, the Kitty Escapologist ... and Cody the Cardboard King!


A Little Help from a Friend!

Try to remember there are always people that can help you with your dog when you're moving house. Moving House is stressful, and no doubt you're trying your best to do some deep breathing/meditation/yoga to keep yourself sane. But what if you're dog is one of those highly-strung types that gets stressed if they're not being shackled for their walk at precisely 6.22am and settling down to brekkie at exactly 7.52am? Your vet could be an invaluable source of advice in this case. Many may suggest a course of Adaptil or other canine-stress-relieving medication. Or, knowing your dog as they do, may have additional suggestions to help you and your dog cope with Moving House. And if you're struggling with changing your address on your dog's microchip, your vet will be able to assist you.


Box Depot know that moving house can be stressful. And moving house with a dog can sometimes be even more stressful! But hopefully, with these tips, you and your dog will be happily settled in your new place!


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