Moving day

Moving cross-country or cross-town, take steps to help Ranger enjoy his new home


Summertime is often moving time for families who want to relocate without interrupting the children’s school year. Since dogs are territorial animals, a move to a place filled with new sights, sounds, and smells — especially smells — can be a challenge or a trauma for the family dog.

Dogs that never go anywhere but to the veterinary clinic are likely to have the most trouble adjusting. Dogs that go everywhere and are not threatened by new experiences will make the easiest transition. The American Kennel Club and Dog Owner’s Guide offer tips for dog owners who plan a move to help Ranger adapt to the event and the new surroundings and to help owners learn the dog rules in the new community.

Change of residence is a prime reason why families surrender dogs to animal shelters. Apartments say ‘no pets’ or restrict pets by number and weight; condominium and townhouse units have postage-stamp yards and restrictions on fences; many subdivisions and residential communities prohibit above-ground fences and kennel runs; and owners think Ranger will be unhappy if he can’t romp in a yard, so shelters and breed rescues get frantic calls about the dog that needs a home because “we’re moving next week.”

However, dogs can be happy wherever their family goes as long as their needs are met. They don’t need a yard to romp in, they need exercise, and a daily walk can provide enough. They do need patience as they adjust to a new home and training to help give them confidence and deal with nuisance habits, but they are very adaptable. The trick is to find a new home that allows dogs. Once that hurdle is overcome, the rest is a matter of planning.

Before moving day

On moving day

At the new house

Airline travel

Small dogs and cats can travel in airliner cabins with their owners if they are placed in an approved carrier that will fit under the seat.

Last year, the US Congress tightened airline rules about shipping animals, resulting in changes in airline policies that make it more difficult for pet owners to ship dogs as excess baggage. Most airlines now accept only dogs prepared by professional transport companies that are aware of the shipping regulations, the use of approved crates and equipment, and proper filing of paperwork. (For more information about dogs and airlines, see “AKC initiates air travel campaign for dogs” above.)

Airlines also have temperature restrictions for flying animals that meet or exceed the requirements of the US Animal Welfare Act. These restrictions are in place at the departure airport, the arrival airport, and any stops in between. During warm weather, therefore, airlines may refuse dogs if the temperature will be above a certain temperature (generally 85 degrees) anywhere along the route.

Boarding kennels can often refer dog owners to shipping companies that are members of the Independent Pet and Animal Transport Association International, a nonprofit trade association for animal shippers with headquarters in Texas. The IPATA website is at To contact IPATA directly, call (903) 769-2267 or email

Norma Bennett Woolf

This page is a part of the Dog Owner's Guide internet website and is copyright 2021 by Canis Major Publications. You may print or download this material for non-commercial personal or school educational use. All other rights reserved. If you, your organization or business would like to reprint our articles in a newsletter or distribute them free of charge as an educational handout please see our reprint policy.

We will be modifying the Dog Owner's Guide site with new and updated articles in 2021 as well as new booklists so check back often to see what's new!

Contact us