Moving houses tend to be extremely stressful, especially for pet owners. This is because while we find it much easier to cope with the stress and changes that come with moving, the same cannot be said for our pets.
Cats and dogs, in particular, can find a house move very disorienting, as they can get pretty attached to their territory. So, do not be surprised if your pet starts acting anxious, panicked, or withdrawn.
To help you throughout all this, we’ve come up with a list of dos and don’ts for moving house with pets, which you may find useful in easing and minimising the anxiety your pet may feel when you move house, and in providing them with a happy moving experience!
- Maintain Your Pet’s Routine
When you’re planning and organising your move, it can be quite easy to forget the needs of your pets. With so much on your mind, taking them out for exercise, playing with them and being affectionate towards them are pushed to the sidelines. However, domestic animals are highly dependent on routine. That means when these routines are disrupted, pets will become anxious and insecure. Moreover, seeing their owners behaving differently than usual may cause more turmoil in them.
So, while you cannot prevent them from experiencing the changes usually associated with moving home entirely, it would be best for you to keep as much consistency in your pet’s life as you can. Stick to their feeding time and scheduled walks, spend some time with them, and keep their bed and toys in the same place for as long as you can. If it is possible, pack up your pet’s belongings last, and unpack them at your new location first.
- Get Your Pet Acclimated To Travel
Most pets can get skittish or even sick when put in moving vehicles, and this may pose a huge problem for you, especially if you’ll be travelling to a faraway place.
So, slowly ease your pet into travelling. Drive around and let them get used to the feeling of being in a moving vehicle so they will know what to expect. This will help minimise the stress they may feel later on.
Moreover, if you are planning on putting your pet in a crate during the journey, it would be best to have them get used to that.
Here are more tips you may find useful when travelling with your dog.
- Make Sure Your Pet Is Comfortable During The Trip
To avoid adding onto the nerves brought about by being in unfamiliar surroundings, you will want to keep your pet as relaxed and comfortable as possible during the journey to your new house.
So, make sure to leave sufficient space for them in your vehicle. Avoid keeping them in cramped spaces, as this will only cause them to be more stressed. Only keep valuable and fragile items with you in your car, and refrain from surrounding them with objects that may either fall on them or their crate when you make a sudden stop.
To ensure that they are comfortable and safe during the long journey, you may want to hire a house removals company to transport your stuff. Such companies have large enough vehicles that will accommodate all of the belongings you plan on taking with you.
Additionally, hiring a removal company, you will both ensure that your belongings are well-taken care of, and see to it that your pet has more than enough room to stretch out and be comfortable while in the vehicle.
- Keep Your Pet Away From The Chaos Of Moving, If Possible
Moving day tends to be chaotic from start to finish. People will be coming in and out of your home with heavy boxes and bulky furniture, and you won’t be able to find anything where it’s supposed to be.
Letting your pet loose amidst this chaos may be stressful and dangerous for your pet, and for the people who are helping see your move through.
So, find a way to keep your pet out of this chaos. You may either keep them in one designated area where they can relax with things that they are familiar with, such as their bed and toys, or assign someone from your household to take care of the pet the entire day. This person will be responsible for making sure your pet is always comfortable, calm, and relaxed.
Alternatively, if you are moving nearby, you may keep them out of the house entirely. Leave them with a friend or neighbour, where they can stay until everything has been settled in your new home.
- Consider Providing Your Pet With Anxiety Aids
Consider the possibility of using anxiety aids like medication, treats, collars, or toys to keep your pet calm during the move. Every pet responds differently to each kind of anxiety aid, so it would be best to discuss options with your vet before deciding to use one.
- Update Your Pet’s Microchip Details
You are legally required by the UK government to update the information on your pet’s collar and microchip when you move. However, it would be best to do it before you move.
Some pets cope with their anxiety with being a new place by running away, and if your pet does decide to run away, finding and identifying them would be much easier with these details already up to date.
- Feed Your Pet A Big Meal Before Travelling
Stress and anxiety may lead to your pet having an upset stomach. Feed them enough to keep them satisfied but not full. This will reduce the chances of your pet suffering from an upset stomach, and will minimise the chances of you having to deal with dog or cat vomit if your pet is the type to get car sick.
- Rush Your Pet’s Adjustment
Your pets will be able to adjust eventually. That’s good news. However, in most cases, you will have to be patient as it will take a while. Allow them to relax and grow familiar with their surroundings.
More than being patient with them, try to be present for them. Maintain some semblance of normalcy for your pet, and do not leave your pet alone for too long while they are getting thoroughly settled, as being alone in unfamiliar territory can be quite jarring and anxiety-inducing.
It would be, however, helpful if you make your new home as familiar and as comfortable for your pets as possible. You may do this by keeping their bed and other belongings unwashed for a few days or marking some pieces of furniture in your new home with their scent.
- Let Your Pet Loose In Your New Home Before Securing All Possible Exits
As mentioned above, some pets who are uncomfortable in their new surroundings take to running away as a way of coping. So, to avoid the stress and frustration of having to look for your missing pet in your new neighbourhood, make sure all exit points in your new house are secure. You may do this by getting a taller fence, patching up holes in your gates, sealing trap doors shut, and putting some chicken wire under your wall.
- Travel Without Taking Any Stops
Making sure your pet’s needs are met is just as important as making sure they are physically comfortable in the car while travelling. So, if you’re on a lengthy journey, make sure to stop frequently for some stretching, food, water, and toilet breaks.
Now that you’ve gotten a clear idea on what you should and should not do while moving to a new house with a pet, it will be much easier for you to plan and organise your upcoming move!