If you’re considering a move to a big city, you need to think about many practicalities – where you will live, your employment opportunities, schools for the kids, and so much more.
If you have pets, you will also need to consider how moving to a city will impact them. In particular, dog owners will need to take several steps to ensure that the transition is smooth. Dogs are creatures of routine, so any move will likely confuse your dog and may even cause him some anxiety.
Here are a few of the best ways to adjust to life in the big city with a dog with this in mind.
Be Patient And Take It Slowly
Getting your dog used to new surroundings will take time and patience, which is even more important with moving to a big city. It would be best to spend the first few days in your new home, letting your dog get used to the new space, sniff things out and get the lay of the land. If your dog is at ease quickly, you could take him for a walk, but it is best to let him become entirely comfortable in your new home before venturing out.
Staying home for the first few days until your dog is comfortable might be tricky for larger dogs, but you should be able to tide him over with plenty of play and exercise around the house. This will also help him to get used to the new home and have fun there.
Whatever you do, never rush your dog, and don’t throw too many new experiences at him at once. Allowing him a few days in your new home to become accustomed to the scents and let his scent settle around the house will help him view your new place as safe.
Bring Plenty Of Familiar Things
If you are getting rid of some of your household items and furniture, it is vital that you keep your dog’s favorite things, if possible. Having a sofa or chair with the familiar scent of your old house will do wonders for helping your dog acclimate to his new home, says VCA Animal Hospitals.
You should also make sure that all of his toys and bedding are in a separate, clearly labeled moving box so that they can be one of the first things you unpack when you get to your new home. Having his own familiar things in your new home will be vital to help him get settled.
If you have a dog cage or crate, you should also ensure that this is available for him to go to sleep in, with plenty of comfortable, familiar-smelling things inside. Having a calm, soothing area for your dog to retreat to will be essential for preventing stress after your move.
Adapt As Your Dog Gets Older
City living for an older dog can become difficult. As your dog ages, you should ensure that you take appropriate steps to keep him healthy for as long as possible. You can make several adjustments for your dog as he ages to help him keep getting the most out of city living.
If you live in a block of flats, you may need to make adjustments for your dog as he ages, as climbing stairs may become a challenge for him. Where possible, you should take a lift from your flat to the ground floor or carry your dog if he is small enough.
One of the essential things for an aging dog is getting the right food. Senior dogs need different nutrients in their diets than younger dogs, so you should ensure that he is getting the best food.
Senior dog food is often fortified with vitamins and minerals to promote healthy immune systems, brains, bones, and joints. Talk to your vet about the benefits of a natural raw dog food diet for senior dogs.
Socialize Your Dog Before Your Move
It would be best to have your dog well-socialized before moving home. Ideally, socialization should begin when he is a puppy and continue throughout his life. Having a good groundwork of socialization is key to a successful move to a city.
Your dog will encounter many more new animals and humans in a big city. Having good socialization skills before the move will help make him more comfortable and confident in his new home.
Suppose you haven’t had many opportunities to socialize with your dog before moving to a city. You could consider joining a dog walker’s group, taking your dog to doggy daycare, or signing him up for group training sessions. Any of these options is an excellent way to get your dog used to the wide variety of new people and dogs he will encounter. It is also perfect for you and your family to meet new people and make friends.
Always Be Alert During Walks
Once your dog is used to his new home, you can start to take him out for walks in the city. Again, this should be done slowly and patiently, especially if you are coming from a place where most of your walks were in quiet or rural areas. Your dog will be encountering thousands of new sights, smells, and sounds, so the first few walks should be short to avoid overwhelming him.
When walking your dog in a bigger city, you are likely to encounter more potential hazards. This can be anything from increased foot, and road traffic to food spilled on pavements. Always be alert to anything that might pose a risk to your dog or might cause him stress and anxiety.
According to Pet Finder, Even if your dog is usually fine off the lead with good recall, you should always avoid caution when walking in a city and keep him leashed. How long you keep him on the lead is up to you. You know your dog best, so you will be the best person to judge when it is safe to let your dog off the lead in a city, though a good rule of thumb is to keep him on the lead until you reach a park or dog park.
Be Prepared For Accidents
As a move will disrupt your dog’s routine, you should be prepared in case of accidents. His usual places for going to the toilet will have changed, so it is good to have some puppy toilet training pads on hand in case of accidents.
This is particularly important if you live in a high-rise flat or without greenery, as it will take time for your dog to get used to the change in his toilet routine. This doesn’t mean that you should allow him to go to the toilet in your home permanently, just that you should give him some leeway for the first few days if he does have an accident inside.