Tue 21 Oct 2014 View all news articles

Paws for thought before moving home with your pet

Moving house can be a stressful experience, but if you think you’ve got a lot on your plate loading up that lorry, spare a thought for your furry friends – for them a house move can be traumatic. Here’s how you can help them.

Before you go
If you’re moving house then it’s always better for them (and you) if you can try and leave your cat or dog with friends or family. For one, they won’t get spooked by the strange men removing that old armchair that used to be their day bed, and second, they won’t try and make a bolt for it when they see the front door is open all day.

If they’re coming with you, make sure that you leave the packing of their stuff, for example, toys and bedding, as late as you can to minimise stress. Hide the carrier too; most cats know that nothing nice ever happens when they have to go in it.

On the day
Don’t forget to have a collar tag made with your name and phone number on it, and put it on your pet on the day of the move. The contact details on any microchip will need updating too. Once you reach your new home and the endless hell of unpacking the van begins, try to confine your pet to one room as you move your things. Give them some food and water and surround them with familiar items, such as their normal bedding, bowls and a few toys. Yes, they’ll whine and whimper when you close the door on them, but rather that than them scarpering off down the road in search of their old home.

When you get there
Expect your pet to be a little freaked out by the move and for their usual good habits to take a back seat for a while. They may even have a little accident on the carpet. If that happens, don’t punish them or make a big deal of it. Just clean it up and move on. It’s also key that you quickly re-establish the same feeding and walking routines that they’re accustomed to. Any deviation will just confuse them even more.

After the move
Dogs tend to be more inquisitive and will, generally speaking, tend to investigate their new home independently.

Cats are likely to be less curious and, in all likelihood, more than a little perplexed by what’s happening. So if you’re moving your moggy, make sure you keep them indoors for at least two weeks after the move. Lavish them with plenty of attention and encourage them to explore. Once they seem settled and familiar with their new surroundings you can let them out. Just don’t expect any thanks for looking out for them – it’s not in their nature.

Those with particularly panicky pets may want to consider an Adaptil plug-in pheromone spray to help calm their nerves. Ask your vet for details.

Source: The Guardian

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