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Moving With Dogs

Moving with dogsMoving house is stressful for the entire family, including your pets! For dogs, moving from a safe, familiar environment can be disorientating and could result in stress, behavioural problems or even running away. It is important to make your dog feel as secure, calm and comfortable as you can when moving.

In this guide we'll outline some tips to help you prepare for moving with dogs.

Preparing To Move With a Dog

  • Start packing for your move as early as possible. This will ensure your dog won’t get overexcited while you rush about the house doing last-minute packing.
    Tip: Don’t pack your dog’s favourite toys or sleeping area if possible. A change in the environment it's accustomed to may lead to anxiety.
  • Keep your dog’s usual routine as normal as possible when moving. Take them out for their regular walk and stick to their usual feeding schedule.
    If your new home is nearby, take your dog for a stroll in the area to familiarise them with the sights and smells.
  • It is recommended that your dog is microchipped and that they have a collar and tag with up-to-date information (their name, owner’s name and a contact number).
    Take a photo of your dog so that you can describe it accurately in case it goes missing, this also gives you an up to date picture to use for ‘Missing’ posters that, hopefully, you won't need.
  • Contact your new council to learn about registration requirements and seek a new Vet for your dog.
  • If moving interstate with your dog, check what documents, vaccines or if a period of quarantine will be required.

How To Handle Your Dogs On Moving Day

If possible, leave your dog at a friend’s or relative’s home that they are familiar with. Otherwise, keep your dog in one room with fresh water and their favourite toy while furniture it being taken out of the house.
Tip: Be sure to leave a sign on the door such as “Do Not Open: Dog Inside” so your furniture removalists don’t stumble in by accident.


  • Do not feed your pet at least three hours prior to leaving.
    If your dog is prone to travel sickness, do not feed them for 12 hours prior to travelling.
  • Take your dog for a long walk prior to travelling as they may become bored and restless during hours of travel.

Travelling By Car

  • Prepare an old sheet or blanket for the car seats, paper towels, food and fresh water if your trip will take longer than two hours.
  • Remember to take rest stops every two hours to get some fresh and water. This is also a great way for you to give your legs a stretch as well!
    If driving interstate with your pet, check for pet-friendly accommodation you can stop at along the way.

Important: DO NOT put dogs in the back of a truck. As soon as the doors are closed, it will be dark, noisy and very frightening for your pet. Shifting furniture, lack of ventilation and extreme heat are also very dangerous and can harm your dog.

Travelling By Air
If you plan on moving your dog by flying them, be aware that most airlines will require you to use an IATA (International Air Transport Association)-approved carrier. Carrier requirements are based on species’ needs and animal size.

Keep in mind that reservations for your dogs should be made at least 48 hours in advance and that most airlines have restrictions to the number of animals that they will carry on each flight.

Only small dogs are permitted to travel in the cabin with you. Otherwise, your pet will be sent as ‘special baggage’ in a ventilated hold where they will be hosted in a quiet, darkened area- this can be less stressful than a bustling cabin.

  • Instructions for feeding and watering your dog should be attached to its carrier.
  • Food and water must be provided for puppies every 12 hours.
  • Mature dogs should be fed every 24 hours and watered every 12 hours.

Important points to take into consideration when transporting your dog by air:

  • Is the baggage/cargo area of the plane heated?
  • Will the airline provide stickers and labels for my pet carrier?
  • What happens to my dog if the flight is delayed or rerouted?
  • Where do I go for my dog to be checked-in?
  • How early does my dog need to be checked-in to the flight?
  • Which papers should I prepare to accompany my dog?
  • Which papers should I bring to collect my dog?
  • Does the airline have any weight restrictions for my dog?
  • Will my dog be checked by airport security?
  • How much will it cost for me to transport my dog by air?

Settling In

  • Make sure the house and the yard are ‘pet safe’: check if there are any dangerous areas with sharp or broken objects and that all fencing is secure before letting them out to explore.
  • Try to arrange for your furniture to be in place before moving your dog in. Otherwise, keep them out of the way in an empty room with fresh water and their toys.
  • Try to keep to your dog’s usual schedule, spend lots of time with them and walk them regularly.
  • Be sure to register them with the local council.
  • If necessary, prepare a new ID tag for your dog with updated information.
  • Establish your dog’s living area as soon as you move in- place their toys, bedding and food and drink bowls somewhere you’d like to keep them.
  • Introduce yourself and your dog to the neighbours as soon as you can.
  • Remember to make an appointment with the local Vet to bring in your dog’s details and certificates.
  • If your dog seems depressed, lethargic or has dramatic changes in their behaviour, consult the local Vet.

With these points, some patience and a lot of TLC, you'll find moving with dogs isn't all that difficult and your dog will definitely be happy in their beautiful new home!

If you've got cats, you might be interested in reading our article on moving with cats.

If you have any further questions about moving with dogs, or moving house in general please give our sales staff a call on 1800 812 333, or send us a message via our contact page.

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