For the most part, dogs are fairly resilient, especially if they are confident, socialized, and have been raised in a stable home. However, even the most outgoing canine can be stressed by a move. It is a confusing experience that they do not understand, and it can leave them feeling so overwhelmed that they do not even want to eat or drink. There are a few things you should know if you are moving with your dog in Phoenix, and a few tips that will help him adjust a little more quickly.
You may not notice, but your dog’s stress likely started to increase long before the move. First of all, your furry friend can pick up on your stress. If you have left everything until the last minute, until you're so overwhelmed that you are snapping at people in the home and on the phone, he will think something is wrong, and associate it with the move. Plus, dogs are very attached to their surroundings. When there are boxes all of a sudden scattered everywhere and they notice things are “missing” it is very worrisome. Ideally, you will start packing a couple boxes a day far in advance so he does not deal with the drama of everything disappearing and getting moved around in one day. Pile boxes in a spare room, if possible.
Every dog shows different signs of stress.If you assume all stressed dogs pace or tuck their tail, you could be missing some very obvious signs you are not aware of. Keep in mind that even the nicest dog may bite out of fear, so if your dog is stressed keep him away from children and the movers.
Common signs of stress include
- Refusing to Eat and Drink – This is a very common symptom. It is very important to monitor water intake, as dehydration can be life-threatening.
- Excessive Shedding – If your dog is leaving more hair than usual on his favorite spot on the sofa, he is probably stressed.
- Body Language – Tense legs, ears pointed back, nose-licking, breath-holding, stretching, shaking, yawning, repetitive blinking, and sneezing are all body language signs to watch for.
- Wet Paw Prints – Dogs sweat through their paws. If you notice wet prints on the floor, he has gotten to the point where he is extremely stressed.
How to Minimize Your Dogs Stress
- Involved Him with Packing – Do not scoot him out of the way while you are packing. Let him look in the box to see what you are putting in there. You can crumple up paper and play a little fetch while you are packing, too. Chances are good; he will eventually lose interest of what’s going on in those boxes.
- Place Water and Food Bowls Immediately – As soon as you bring him to the new home, place his food and water bowl where they will permanently be. He will use his bowls to determine the layout of the house. His crate and/or bed should be placed appropriately right away, too.
- Make it Fun – You do not have to rush and start unpacking after the movers leave. Go in the yard and play a little fetch or take him for a quick walk around the block. The exercise will burn a little of that stress energy, so he can relax when you go back inside.
- Put on Animal Planet – If your cable is already hooked up, put the television on “Animal Planet” while you unpack.
- Reinforce Bathroom Habits – Some dogs get stressed in a new home because they are not sure what their bathroom routine will be. Take him out regularly rather than waiting for him to give you a sign, so he realizes his routine will be the same here. Do not get mad if he has an accident. Many dogs do have at least one accident in a new home while they are adjusting.