Q: We are about to make a big move across the country, and I am concerned about the emotional well being of my six-year-old American Eskimo dog, Bibi, who has never known any other home. What’s the best way to help her make the transition?
Whitestone, New York
Dear Ms. Laskaros,
It’s hard to know exactly how to answer your question without understanding the specifics of the changes about to occur in your dog’s environment. For instance, if she is going from an apartment to a home in the suburbs with a big, enclosed backyard to hang out in, she will probably love her new digs. If you’re going from a northern climate to one with long, hot summers, you’ll need to make sure she stays hydrated and always has shade, and that her sensitive paw pads are never on hot pavement for too long. Of course, it will also be an adjustment for her if more or fewer people will be with Bibi in her new home.
Keep in mind that familiar scents are a big deal for dogs and their emotional comfort. So however different the environment is going to be, make sure to bring along all her favorite toys, blankets, and other accouterments whose familiar odors will make her feel at home.
Just as important is your attention. In the hustle and bustle of packing and taking care of 1,000 details as you yourself make the transition, be sure to give your dog as much time as you always have, playing with her, petting her, cooing over her, and generally making her secure in your love. Most dogs, even anxious ones, land “right side up” as long as their owners remember to build together time and outright fun time into their day. Safe travels!