You might have a lot on your plate with a long-distance move, but be sure to prioritize your dog’s well-being throughout the process.

Many people believe that moving is one of the most stressful life events you can go through. Add a four-legged friend into the mix, and things can feel even more stressful during a long-distance move.

Having a pet is like having a furry family member, so you’ll want to ensure they’re safe and comfortable during the move.

However, it’s important to remember that they don’t have all the same advantages as humans. They are heading to an unfamiliar place with no warning, and if you’re moving a long distance, they’ll have to deal with the stress that can come with traveling.

So, how can you make a long-distance move with your dog easier?

What can you do to ensure they stay happy and healthy throughout the process and once you all arrive in your new home?

Start planning early

It can take weeks, or even months, to plan and prepare for a long-distance move. You can make it easier on yourself and your dog by starting as early as possible.

Start by decluttering your home and removing anything you don’t want or need to take with you. Consider donating items or selling them for a little extra cash.

The less “stuff” you must take, the better!

Pack things early, and consider working with a professional moving company, so you don’t have to worry about lugging boxes and furniture around the day you head to your new home across state lines.

When you plan, you’ll also be able to create a makeshift schedule for your travels.

If it’s going to take a few hours – or days – to get to your new home, plan to stop and take breaks frequently, so your dog has an opportunity to stretch its legs, burn some energy, and go to the bathroom.

Stay safe in the car

Speaking of traveling to your new place, having your dog in your car or van for an extended time could be the most stressful part of the move for both of you.

Some dogs love car rides, while others tend to get nervous. If your dog doesn’t seem to enjoy riding in your vehicle, do some “practice runs” before the move and drive around with them as often as possible.

They might not end up loving it, but they’ll at least get used to the feeling of being in the car and will end up being less anxious. Some other tips you can use to make car travel easier on your four-legged friend include:

  • Use a ramp to help them into the vehicle
  • Don’t let them sit on your lap while you’re driving
  • Use your power window lock
  • Don’t let them hang their heads out the window
  • Use a barrier
  • Use a crate or carrier for smaller dogs

Before you start traveling, it’s a good idea to talk with your dog’s veterinarian. You’ll want their charts transferred to a vet in your new location.

Beyond that, the vet can help you with any car sickness medications your dog might need and can even microchip your furry companion if it’s never been done before.

That’s an excellent insurance policy if your pet gets lost or runs away while traveling.

Help your dog adjust 

Older couple with yellow Labrador packs boxes to prepare for long-distance move.
It can take weeks, or even months, to plan and prepare for a long-distance move. You can make it easier on yourself and your dog by starting as early as possible.

When you finally make it to your new home after a long-distance move, your top pet priority should be helping your dog adjust to its new surroundings.

Give them time to sniff things out and explore, but try not to leave them alone at home for too long.

Instead, give them a lot of love and affection.

It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of a move and everything you must deal with once you arrive at your new home.

Don’t ignore your dog. D can’t express stress the same way you do, but they need just as much reassurance and comfort.

Spend time on the floor with them. Give them familiar toys.

Put one of your t-shirts near their bed or crate so they can recognize familiar smells and feel more comfortable.

Stick to your routine

Finally, stick to your old, familiar routines as much as possible.

Like people, dogs thrive on routine, and even when they’re in a new place, the comfort of doing familiar things can make a big difference in their stress levels.

You’ll benefit from that kind of familiarity, too!

Ease long-distance move stress

It’s going to take time for you and your dog to adjust to a new city.

With such a big move, you might have a lot on your plate right now, but be sure to prioritize your dog’s well-being throughout the process.

Things will go much smoother when you do, and you’ll be less stressed about packing, planning, traveling, and settling into your new home.

Miles Oliver is a proud dog lover and an outdoor enthusiast. He often writes on his patio with a hot cup of tea and his 4-year-old border collie mix by his feet. When Miles is not working as an independent freelance writer, he is most likely mountain biking and roaming the great outdoors with his four-legged companion. 

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