Animal House: 8 Simple Rules To Moving With Dogs

Animal House, City Living

We at urbaneer are a diverse bunch, who joined forces based on our love of Toronto real estate and our overall awesomeness. Yet, you may not know that we come from surprisingly different backgrounds, which allows each of us to add our unique perspective, makes us collectively stronger and better suited to address the needs of our equally diverse clientele.

And today, we’re going to introduce you to our newest blog category about Pets and Toronto Real Estate called ‘Animal House‘!

Welcome to Animal House (ok, not the stuffed kind!)



No matter the month or the season, moving just isn’t something we’d consider ‘fun’.

In fact, it can be downright stressful.

But envision how disorienting it must be for your pets, especially if your favourite snoozing spot suddenly becomes priority for a stack of boxes. And what about all those strangers who may be walking through your turf and nothing smells familiar. Pets are sensitive by nature and can absorb the stress and tension around them. And if they get wind of an imminent change in their environment, then you can be sure you’re going to set them off kilter.

If you’re planning a move and want to make it as stress-free as possible for all the members of your family, including your cuddly furry ones, then here’s a few easy tips to follow.


1. Learn the routine – Before moving day, spend a few hours in your new neighbourhood and check out the area for green spaces and off-leash dog parks. If possible, bring the dog along to help him get to know the surroundings, plan out the walking route and perhaps make a few friends. Off-leash areas are becoming increasingly popular and many neighbourhoods have at least one in walking or short driving distance. Dog parks play an important part in socializing your dog, especially when moving to a new neighbourhood. It’s also a great place to meet your neighbours. If you’re not sure whether your neighbourhood has an off-leash area, you can find out on the City of Toronto website.



2. Research the neighbourhood vet clinic and pet services – Take a stroll through the neighbourhood you will soon call home and get to know the area’s pet-friendly amenities and services. For example, if you’re relocating to another part of the city, locate a vet clinic you will be visiting with your furry friend. Your current vet may be able to make recommendations for colleagues he or she knows in your new area. When finding a new vet, it is recommended to set up an appointment as soon as you move in order to get established. It is always important to make sure you are comfortable with the clinic’s practice before an emergency. Along with a vet clinic, be on the look out for other services like a dog walker, a doggy daycare and a great groomer. We’re not the only ones that like to be pampered. Finding a good groomer is like finding a great hairstylist so be sure to keep your eye out for a reputable one for your fur-baby. The vet clinic in the neighbourhood may be able to make some recommendations.

3. Pack up your dog’s belongings together – Pack all the pet items such as food bowls, toys and blankets together and keep them somewhere easily accessible so they can be unpacked as soon as you arrive at your new place. It’s a good idea to keep the box of items in the car or where it won’t be easily mixed up with all the other boxes and furniture in the moving truck. The items should be the very first thing you unpack in your new home. Remember that your pet will be a bit confused and disoriented by the new surroundings so having his toys around will help him adjust quicker.



4. Keep things normal – Give yourself enough time to pack without pulling all-nighters or getting overly stressed. The more you keep things normal in the house, the less your dog will sense the arising changes. This will keep the stress level down. If you plan to bring out the carrier or crate a few a weeks before the move, put your dog’s favourite treats and toys inside so he can get used to it before the big moving day. Remember not to pack the food away. Keep the pet food, water bowls, medication and any other important supplies off the moving truck and with you.

5. Keep them away at moving day – If possible, take your pet to a kennel for the night or have a friend of family member pet sit at their home. Depending on the breed, a lot of noise or commotion can create anxiety, so keeping your dog away from the chaos of packing and unpacking for a day or two can keep stress levels at a minimum. If you do plan to board your dog, try to book the spot a few weeks ahead of the move to assure there is availability. Boarding can be like a mini holiday for your dog. Often there is a lot of outdoor play time that gives your pup an opportunity to socialize with other dogs. Many dog walkers provide over-night boarding services. Your vet will be able to make recommendations as well.



6. Designate a safe room – With so many things going on that day, it can be easy to lose sight of the your fur-babies. Also, with items being moved out of the house, the front door will be constantly open and there is a good chance of them getting out. The last thing you want is having to organize a search party for your little runaway. But what if boarding or pet-sitting is not an option? Consider keeping them in one room. There will be some resistance and definitely back talk but it will help reduce stress for your pet and you. Remember to leave a bowl of fresh water and something to keep your pet busy like a chew toy or a treat, and hang a sign on the door so anyone helping with the move will know to be extra careful and not let the dog out.

7. Bring them in for the big reveal – Once you’ve finally arrived at your new home, bring in your pet after most furniture and large items have been moved in. A house full of familiar items and smells will be much more reassuring and easier to adjust to. Be sure to unpack all the pet items as well so everything feels ‘just like home’. Also let them roam around a bit and discover the new digs, with your supervision of course.

8. Be prepared for a break-out – A runaway dog can be devastating to the entire family. Often pets runaway in response to sudden and unexpected events that frighten them, out of curiosity if doors, windows or gates are left open, or if they are new to a home and are looking for their former surroundings. Dogs are habitual creatures and value routine. When they are in an unfamiliar location and get loose, it is likely that they will run in the direction of your previous residence. One of the ways to prevent this situation is giving your dog extra attention, watch for signs of anxiety and take them for longer walks to introduce them to the area. If your pet is a bit wild and has been known to sneak out, be proactive. Remember to have new identification tags with your new address and phone number made for your dog’s collar, and if your dog has an identification microchip, remember to update your contact information in the database. Also carry a picture of your pet with you in case they get lost.



So there you have it! These easy tips should make your moving day much more manageable and will make your dog’s transition to a new place a smooth one. One last thing – Dogs are sensitive, feeling creatures who rely upon us to make difficult situations a bit less challenging. At the end of a long day it is your dog who provides you comfort. Return the favour by making your move a bit easier on him, which in turn will also be easier on you. Don’t forget to give your dog lots of snuggles and he’ll love you forever!

Did you know a lot of condominiums don’t even allow pets, and, for those that do there may be restrictions which could impact keeping your pet? Contact us!

And please know we’re here to help!



~ Monika


Guest Writer:  Monika MacMillan


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