5 Tips to Help Your Dog Transition from the Suburbs to the City

Prepping for a move from the suburbs to the city is a big adjustment. You’ll probably have a smaller yard and spend less time in your car. Instead of driving to dinner 20 minutes away, you might just walk around the corner. You’ll likely be surrounded by a lot more people everyday, both on the street and on the other side of your apartment walls.

When you’re thinking about the changes and the pros and cons for you, don’t forget to think about your dog. Transitions are tough for everyone, but for dogs they can be especially unsettling. They don’t as readily understand the new space is home and the old house is gone. As you take time to acclimate, give that same courtesy to your furry friend.

There are many strategies dog owners can use to successfully relocate their pets from suburban areas to city environments. From getting them transported to settling in, these tips can help both you and your dog make the transition to city living.

1. Be Mindful During the Move

You’ve made the decision to move. You’ve sold your house and found a place in the city. Now it’s time for the hard part — getting there. Packing up all your belongings takes time. Contacting and hiring movers is another big task.

Having your dog underfoot while people are going in and out on moving day is dangerous. Not only can movers carrying boxes trip and get hurt, but your dog could get out. Securing your furry loved one in their dog crate during the loading-up stage is a good idea. You could even board them for the day and bring them to your new home once you’ve arrived.

For longer-distance moves, consider hiring a pet transport service to get your dog safely to your new home. This lets you tend to all your moving-related responsibilities without worrying about your dog. Meanwhile, your canine companion will have a leisurely drive with a loving pet person and lots of potty breaks.

2. Help Them Settle In

After a big move, it can take a while for things to feel like home again. Creating pockets of your old home in your new one can help ground you and your dog. For many people, that can be accomplished by keeping the same furnishings. For those starting over with all-new furniture, it might mean hanging onto familiar throw blankets or pillows. However you do it, having a little something familiar can ease the stress of the change.

Your dog can’t understand the transition in the same way as you do, so be patient. Keep their same bed and toys in the move. Set these up in the new place along with their water dish and familiar food. Don’t move these items for a while once you put them there. The smells will be comforting to your dog, and it will be their safe space while they explore their surroundings.

3. Expose Them to the City Gradually

The city can produce sensory overload, even to those who are familiar with urban life. Think about how you’re feeling. After a few years in the ’burbs, there are all these sounds, sights, and smells fighting for your attention. You might be feeling a bit overwhelmed at times, too. At night, for example, it’s probably brighter and louder than your subdivision used to be.

Your dog is experiencing that as well — and even more so with their heightened sense of smell and hearing. Don’t throw them into the deep end of the pool, so to speak. Gradually expose them to city stimuli. Open windows while you’re home to allow them to smell and hear the city. Take short walks in busy areas to enable them to get used to their urban surroundings.

4. Locate Necessary Pet Services

When you move to a new area with your dog, it’s important to find a vet and other pet services. Start looking right away for your new vet in case of emergencies. Book your dog in for a wellness check to help them get accustomed to the new clinic and its people. That way, if something were to happen, your four-legged loved one will feel comfortable there. The same goes for a groomer.

Locating your new source for pet treats, food, and toys is also helpful. You might even look for a boarding place and a trustworthy doggy daycare near you. In your old life, you probably knew neighbors who could look in on your dog when you were away. Meeting new people for that purpose could take a while, so locating a boarder is a good backup plan. A doggy daycare will allow your dog to exercise and have social time with friends, too.

5. Create New Routines

Humans and dogs alike thrive on routines, so work to create a new normal. While you likely don’t have a huge backyard to roam in anymore, you do have lots of community spaces available. Go park hopping with your dog until you find “your” park. That might be a regular park or a dog park — whatever works best for you both.

In the past, you might have just opened your screen door to let your dog out to do their business. Now you will need to go on a couple walks a day. Try to take your walks at a set time so your dog expects them. These scheduled strolls can help you all live a healthy lifestyle amidst the urban bustle.

Smoothing the Transition

Moving is a big deal! It creates a lot of stress and anxiety — along with the feelings of adventure and excitement — for people and dogs alike. You can take some of the stress out by controlling the controllables for you and your dog. After you’ve transported them safely, gradually acclimate them to their new home and city.

Remember, change can be scary, and there’s no need to rush it. Take your time and build your new home and new life into something that you love. Slowly but surely, you both will feel right at home as city folks.