August 5, 2021

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How to Help Your Dog Adjust to a New Home

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If there’s one thing I knew I needed more of at the start of 2021, it was change. I was so used to months and months of monotony, that when I had the opportunity to move from an apartment to a house I jumped at it. Since I moved with my dog, Cider, at the beginning of the year I’ve learned a few tips that may help your dog adjust to a new home environment. Read on to learn more!

Five dog tips to help your dog adjust to a new home

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1. Let your pet explore

If you have the opportunity, let your dog explore the space before you’re officially moved in. I was fortunate enough to have one month of overlap between moving out of my apartment and moving into my house, so I let Cider explore to her heart’s desire. That way, when we did officially move into the new place, she knew the smells and the good patches of grass.

2. Make your house a home

I recommend you bring along some familiarity. It’s so tempting when you move to just start fresh, and that may include a new dog bed or toys. To help your dog adjust to a new home, you can help make it feel like home. While pampering your pup is great, make sure you bring along some of their favorite items so they know it’s a safe space. For Cider, this meant plenty and plenty of her favorite blankets.

3. Check out the neighborhood

What does your dog love more than walks, walks, and more walks? Probably not much. When we moved to our new neighborhood Cider and I began exploring the area by going on walks three times a day, always choosing a new route. Plus, you get the bonus of getting to know your neighbors (from a safe distance of course).

4. Spend quality time together

When helping your dog adjust to a new home, it’s important to remember that they’re going through a life change as well. There are new smells, new napping spots, and overall a lot of change. Chances are you’ll be overwhelmed with the move as well. Take some time out of your day to spend quality time with your best friend to let them know that they’re in a safe space with their favorite person. This can mean playing with their favorite toy, engaging them with a puzzle toy, or even just cuddles on the couch.

5. Start off on the right paw

Right now there’s nothing more important than health and safety. To make sure that you’re minimizing the chance of spreading illness, make sure to go through your space and sanitize surfaces before moving in. It also gives you a great chance to wash dog beds, sanitize pet toys, and clean food bowls. Believe me, moving heavy furniture into a new home while wearing a face mask isn’t ideal, but it is the right thing to do for you and your community’s safety. Plus, your pet relies on you—if you fall ill, it also affects their lives. So keep it clean, and you should start off on the right paw!

Best practices for a successful move

If you’re moving with your pet from an apartment to a house, they’ll probably be thrilled with more space and places to curl up by your side. After moving to my new home with Cider, I learned that there were things I could do to help before, during, and after the move.

Before the move, it was important to me that during a month of transitional chaos that Cider was protected from anything unexpected. During a move there will inevitably be doors left open, large furniture precariously placed, and food not stored away correctly. Fortunately, Cider has medical insurance with a Trupanion policy so I could at least have that one item checked off the list.

During the move, we found it was easiest to have Cider stay with family members outside of our house for the main move. That way she wasn’t stressed out by all the activity, and we were able to keep doors open while we moved all our belongings.

Finally, after the move we took note of where she gravitated to in the house. That helped us inform where her cozy spots were, and where to place her beds—of which she has too many. Her favorite spots are by her new fireplace, and on the couch where she can keep an eye on me and my partner while we work from home.

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You can help your dog adjust to a new home

By keeping your pet’s comfort and safety in mind, you too can help your best friend feel at ease when you’re moving to a new space. Fortunately for me and Cider, we were moving within the same city.

If you’ve moved across states, or even to a new country, we’d love to hear your story! Let us know in the comments your tips for moving with pets.

For more on Trupanion team members and their pets at home, read Change a Pet’s Life: One Pet Adoption at a Time

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