Tips for Moving with Your Senior Dog: Special Care for Aging Pooches


Moving into a new home is exciting, but it can also be stressful – and not just for you! If you have dogs, the sudden change of environment and routine can be a source of stress and anxiety for them, too. This is especially true of older or “senior” dogs. However, there are some steps you can take to make the transition as comfortable as possible for your senior dog.


Moving with Your Senior Dog

Put boxes and luggage out early to get them used to it!

The Challenges Senior Dogs Face During a Move: Recognizing the Unique Needs of Senior Dogs


Moving tends to be a hectic process for anyone, but elderly dogs face some specific challenges in adjusting to such a big change. Generally, dogs thrive on routine and familiarity, and this is especially true of senior dogs, who can become more easily disoriented by a change in routine and environment. Senior dogs may have physical limitations that can make a move uncomfortable, especially if the move involves long-distance travel. And, they may have health-related concerns that can make travel and moving more difficult.


Preparation Before the Move


Taking some time to plan and prepare before the date of your move can make the entire process go more smoothly for you and your elderly dog.


See your vet


When preparing for a move with your dog, be sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. This is important for a few reasons. Your vet may be able to offer some suggestions or recommendations about how to best keep your dog healthy and comfortable during the course of your move. If you’re moving long-distance, it is important to make sure your dog is up to date on his/her vaccinations, and that you have a well-stocked supply of his/her medications, as it can take some time to get an appointment with a new veterinarian. Also, be sure to get copies of your dog’s medical records if you’ll need to start seeing a new vet.

If your dog is microchipped, you can also take this opportunity to update the microchip address information.


Pack a bag of essentials


Ahead of moving day, pack a bag with all your senior dog’s essential items. This might include medications, a travel water bowl, some extra food and treats, and one of their favorite toys. You might also want to include something that smells like your home – a blanket, towel, or pillow – to provide a familiar scent and make them more comfortable. Having these items easily accessible during the move and upon arrival at the new home can help maintain a sense of familiarity and comfort for your dog.


Creating a Comfortable Moving Day Environment


Moving day can be particularly stressful for your senior dog, as it involves a lot of commotion and change. While you and/or your movers are loading the moving truck, keep your senior dog in a quiet and secure room, away from the hustle and bustle of moving day. This will help reduce stress and prevent your dog from getting underfoot or escaping. Make sure the room is comfortable with familiar bedding and toys. Stick to your dog’s regular feeding and bathroom schedule as closely as possible. Consistency provides comfort and reduces stress. Ensure they have access to fresh water throughout the day. If possible, consider having a trusted friend or family member watch your senior dog on a moving day. This will allow you to focus on the move without worrying about your dog’s safety and well-being.


Transportation Tips


Ensure they have a comfortable and well-padded space to rest during travel, and consult with your veterinarian about potential medications or supplements to ease their discomfort, especially if your dog gets anxious during long car rides. Have your senior dog’s essentials bag readily available, so you can provide food, water, medications, and comfort items during the move. Familiar items can help reduce anxiety. You might choose to use a comfortable and secure crate, or use a seatbelt harness designed for dogs to keep your senior dog safe during the trip.


If your move is long-distance, plan the trip with your elderly dog in mind. This means planning for regular bathroom and stretch breaks. Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water during travel.


If your journey involves overnight stays, ensure you’ve booked pet-friendly accommodations and confirm their policies in advance.


Setting Up a Senior-Friendly Space in the New Home


When you arrive at your new home, set up your senior dog’s safe space as quickly as possible. Place a soft and comfortable dog bed or cushion in the designated space. Opt for an orthopedic or memory foam bed to provide support for your senior dog’s joints, especially if they have arthritis or mobility issues. Bring in familiar items from your old home, such as your dog’s favorite blankets, toys, and even a piece of clothing or bedding that smells like you. These familiar scents will provide comfort and reassurance. Ensure your dog has easy access to food and water in their designated space. Use raised bowls if your senior dog has mobility issues to make mealtimes more comfortable. Keep fresh water available at all times.


Smooth, slippery floors can be difficult for older dogs to grip, so a rug or floor pad can help them move around more comfortably.


Adjustment and Settling In


As much as possible, stick to your senior dog’s daily routine before, during, and after the move. Consistency in feeding times, bathroom breaks, and exercise helps reduce stress and anxiety. Familiarity can be a source of comfort for your dog during a disruptive time.


The upheaval of moving, along with the separation from their previous home and familiar faces, can lead to increased anxiety and stress. Be sure to provide plenty of love, comfort, and attention during the transition. Spend extra time with your senior dog, offer comforting touches and soothing words, and be patient as they adapt to their new surroundings.


Be patient with your senior dog as you settle into your new space, and you’ll both be enjoying your new home in no time.

Click here for tips on traveling with your pup!