Moving house can be a stressful time for both yourself and your pet. Whilst you try to juggle filling in forms, paying deposits, packing, moving and self storage, your pets are left wondering why they have been taken away from their much loved home into a strange new place.
Here are some tips and advice on things to consider when moving house with pets.
Before Moving House With A Pet
First and foremost, it is important to ensure that your pet can be identified in the event that they escape on moving day. Throughout moving day, your front door will constantly be open, increasing the likelihood of your pet making a run for it whilst your attention is on other things. If your pet does not already have a collar with an identity tag get your contact details engraved on a tag so your pet can be easily identified if they escape. Better still get your cat and/or dog chipped so that they can be identified even if the collar falls off.
Moving House With A Dog
Dogs can get incredibly stressed by commotion and having strangers in the house. If you have a friend or relative that your dog gets on well with, it is advisable to ask that person to take care of your dog during the move. Your dog would be far safer and happier with someone that can give him or her their undivided attention. By getting someone to mind your dog, you eliminate the chance of your dog running away when the doors are opened, not to mention the danger of items being dropped on them or someone tripping over the dog and damaging themselves or an expensive possession.
On the day of moving house with a dog, if you have your dog with you, keep him or her confined to one room. Don’t pack your dog’s bedding and toys until the last moment. Instead, leave your dog’s treasured possessions with them for a sense of familiarity.
Dogs can get travel sick too, so if you are travelling a significant distance from your old house and your dog suffers from travel sickness, have a chat with your vet in advance. Your vet may be able to recommend ways to de-stress your dog or even prescribe anti-sickness medication.
Settling your dog into their new home
In your new home, try to unpack some familiar furnishings before your dog arrives so that they feel a little more at home due to the homely sights and smells. Additionally put your dog’s own bedding and toys in the first room that your dog sees when they arrive. Before letting your dog out into the new garden, be sure to check that the fencing is secure.
Moving forwards, if your dog has any toilet accidents, try to be patient. Don’t punish your dog for accidents because this can make matters worse. Your dog should stop having accidents once they feel settled. For the first few days, try to stick to your daily feeding and walking routine as closely as possible so your dog does not feel that they are getting less attention than usual. The familiarity and attention of a routine should help make the move that little bit easier for your dog.
Moving House With A Cat
When moving house with cats, they can become incredibly stressed by being moved from a familiar, secure environment. If your cat is allowed outside on the day of the move, he or she could become scared by the commotion and refuse to come inside. Cats also have a habit of climbing inside boxes so it is important to ensure that your cat doesn’t wander off and get trapped within a box. To keep your cat safe and secure on the day of the move, keep her in a closed-off room to ensure that they don’t escape. Maybe put a sign on the door to warn the removals company to keep the door closed or lock it to stop someone opening it accidentally. Leave your cat with the familiar sight and smell of their own bed, toys, litter tray, food bowl and water bowl. DO NOT keep your cat in a pet carrier for extended periods of time as this will also stress them out.
Feed your cat at least three hours prior to the actual move to prevent them from becoming travel sick. Be sure to transport your cat in a proper cat carrier which is securely wedged in the car to prevent it from shaking/falling.
Settling Your Cat Into Their New Home
After moving house with a cat, it is important to calmly welcome them into their new environment. Like with a dog, you should place some familiar furniture in the house first, along with your pet’s own possessions. Allow your cat to gradually explore the new house one room at a time.
If your cat usually goes outdoors, keep them indoors for at least two weeks, being mindful to keep all windows and doors closed. Stick to mealtime routines so your cat feels a little familiarity in their new surroundings. When you are confident that your cat is comfortable in the new house, after a couple of weeks you can let them outdoors. If you have a harness, walk your cat around the garden a couple of times to allow them to find their way around the area before they are let out on the loose. Your cat will feel safer knowing that you are nearby during their first few trips outside. If your cat is reluctant to come back inside the new house, entice them through the cat flap with a treat.
When moving house with a pet, planning ahead is the key to making the transition as smooth as possible for your pet. No matter how preoccupied you get with the logistics of moving, spare an extra thought for your pet and take a few simple steps to ensure that your pet feels familiar, comfortable and secure. Before you know it, your pet will love your new home just as much as you do. If your move happens over a number of days, consider a professional pet boarding home during the main move.