Moving home is right up there on the list of life’s stressful events! And if it makes us humans crazy, imagine how your pet must be feeling!
Losing the familiar sights and smells of their old house can be very upsetting for them. You should not be surprised if it takes up to a few weeks for them to settle into their new surroundings.
In addition to the stress of adapting to new surroundings, the journey getting there can also be very traumatic for animals. You have the benefit of knowing what’s going on and that the trip will end with you being settled into a new home. By contrast, your pet doesn’t know this. Therefore, we suggest that you be patient with them and try to follow the tips listed below.
There are a few tips that have been proven over time to reduce the stress levels in pets, and in doing so, go some way towards lowering the stress levels of their owners!
• The primary suggestion is to allocate one room in your existing home and pack it first. Then keep your pet secure in that room while you are doing all the packing and unpacking. Take time to place their food and water bowls in that room along with their bedding, toys etc.
This may seem a little extreme, especially if the pet is used to spending most of their time outdoors, however, with the massive increase in activity, the changes they sense might make them want to take cover somewhere, anywhere.
The last thing you need to happen when you are about to move is for your pet to “go missing”, even if it ends up being in a tight corner in your yard, or the neighbour’s yard.
• Another tip that people often overlook is NOT to clean your pet’s favourite toys and bedding before you move. The reasoning is that by not washing them, the familiar smells from the old home are retained for them when they’re in the new home – the toys and bedding become like a child security blanket.
• A difficult suggestion to follow, because it runs counter to our natural instincts, is not to “soothe” our pet’s nerves (and satisfy our own feelings of guilt) be giving them treats or feeding them in the hope that they’ll be distracted and/or less active if they have a full stomach.
Try to make the last meal/food intake 3-4 hours before the move. To avoid the effects of travel sickness, and its associated distress, consult your vet as required.
• You’ve no doubt come to realise that all pets like to have a routine. It makes them feel secure. Therefore, if it’s at all possible, try to stick to your normal patterns leading up to the move and as soon as possible after you’re in your new home.
• We all love our pets as if they were children, and we would do anything for them. Try to be even more attuned to their needs than normal, and spoil your pet with lots of attention before, during and after your move. That’s the best way to nullify any possibility of them coming to the idea while you’re engrossed in packing that they’re being left behind and not coming with you.
• There are some alternatives that will suit some situations better than others. Let’s say that your pet has already stayed once or twice in a kennel or cattery.
If you know in advance that they do react negatively to unusual noises, strangers, a lot of movement etc., you could consider using a kennel or cattery for a few days, especially if they’ve been there before and enjoyed it.
If you choose this alternative, be sure to book your pet in some time in advance, and make sure that all their vaccinations are up to date.
Use a GPRS Tracker when you are moved into the new home those are available for cats and dogs. They are actually quite good and do a great job even after moving. Just going for a walk they are very useful.
• Another obvious alternative for some would be to ask a family member or friend that your pet is comfortable with to house them for a week or so, during the period covering you’re moving and unpacking the other end.
In this case, your pet will still experience some degree of anxiety at you not being around, then only have to cope with one trip to their new home.
You can also use Stress relieve diffuser or collars
The Day you move a few things to consider
• There is no “one size fits all” advice here. Common sense should prevail.
Don’t treat your pet as an afterthought by entrusting the pet carrier(s) to removalists to load into the moving lorry/van.
If you own a car and your pet is already used to going on trips with you, your job will be a whole lot easier.
Even if that is the case, place your pet in a carrier for this journey. It’s for their safety as well as yours.
If you intend to transport your pet in your own car, or in a friend’s car or taxi, try to ensure that you can sit in close proximity to your pet so that they can see and smell you, and “talk” to them in a calm voice, just like you would during one-on-one time at home.
Once you’ve moved into your new home:
• Spoil your pet a little bit if time permits. They’ll appreciate and respond to your attention and affection. However, regardless of how “well” they seem to be adjusting to their new surroundings, it’s strongly advisable for a few weeks after you have moved to keep your pet indoors.
This may seem like a long time and of course, some pets will take the move in their stride and others not. This is for their safety, because their natural instinct may be to try to find their way back to their original home.
If you do have a secure garden and decide to take your dog outside, make sure you go with them and that they are wearing an up-to-date identity collar. Before taking that step in the new home, we strongly suggest that the pet is microchipped.
It may sound a little over the top but even if you have the best-trained dog in town, don’t let them off the leash until they have had time to get used to their local parks and landmarks.
Cats are best kept indoors again for a few weeks until they have also gotten used to their surroundings and scents.
• Probably the last tip but by no means, the least important is that you will (probably) need to find the best vet in your area. That is if you have moved further afield.
We’ve found that local pet shops are well connected and only too pleased to make a recommendation, and your neighbours or dog walkers/carers in the area are another great source of local knowledge. A gentle reminder would be to also ensure your pet records are sent from your old vet to the new one.
To help your Pet to overcome this move as easy as possible you can use some essential oils to calm them down.
Do you have experience moving with your pet, please share your Tips and Experience with us.
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