Looking to move home soon and worried about how your furry family members are going to manage? We’ve a few pets of our own amidst the team at Trend & Thomas and a few clients facing this predicament soon so we thought we’d put together some helpful tips & suggestions.
Battersea Dogs’ & Cats’ Home carried out a survey of over 1,100 pet owners & nearly half admitted that their biggest concern about moving house was how their pets would react – that’s more than double the number of people who were worried about forgetting their new keys!
Although we do everything we can to minimise any moving stress it is well known moving house can be tough and this extends to your pets too. Try our suggestions for keeping your pooches & purry ones chilled:
- Create a little ritual or routine for your pets in the days or even weeks before Moving Day that you can continue after the move. Playing, brushing, walks at regular times pre and post move will make them more at ease with the change.
- Don’t wash your pets bedding, blankets or toys before the move – let them absorb as much of the pet comforting smells as possible for making the new place smell the same.
- Your pet will undoubtedly pick up on the sense that things are changing and they may worry they are not included. Reassurance & attention is important pre-move.
- If your pet is comfortable at a family or friend’s place letting them stay there while the move is taking place could reduce anxiety. Kennels or catteries for a few days are an option you might want to consider too.
- Clear one of your rooms early & use this to keep your pet in for the entire moving day. Put in all their toys and bedding along with food and water. Lock the windows & doors and put a huge sign on the door so no one let’s them escape. Cats are particularly good at realising something is up and decamping to a hiding spot only they know about. Not what you need when the new owners/tenants are walking up the front steps!
- Don’t feed your pet for three hours before leaving the house (but provide plenty of water) – minimises unpleasant travel accidents!
- Plan the travelling in advance. Travel crates can be hired from Vets and if it’s a long trip, plan stops for dogs to stretch their legs, relieve themselves and have a drink. Cat’s too if it’s a terribly long trip.
- Vets may offer sedation for Dogs if you are really concerned – Cats don’t do well on sedation but chat to the professionals if you are overly concerned.
- Once at your new home – get your pets settled in a quiet secured room quickly. Have their bedding, toys, food and water installed before they arrive and give them some time to settle in and sniff around.
- Small regular meals for the first week will give you more contact with your pet.
- Don’t leave them alone for too long on the first few days. They will need reassurance and comfort and get that routine kicking in asap. Same time for feeding, play session if they are up to it, brushing, petting etc.
- Territory is big for Dogs & particularly Cats. They may urinate to mark their territory – try not to be too hard on them initially as frustrating as it is. Make sure you’ve packed one of the biological pet scent neutralisers! Keep familiar smelling items nearby and provide chews for Dogs so they don’t start on the furniture!
- You can help cats by gently rubbing a soft cotton cloth around your cats face to pick up their personal scent from their glands and rub this over furniture at the cat’s height in the new home. Repeating this daily can help to build up the scent making them feel more secure. Don’t worry – human noses can’t smell it!
Getting outside again
- Dogs will need to be taken outside from Day 1 but preferably on their lead and definitely only ever supervised. Take them for a short walk locally and return them to their food bowls and bed with lots of attention and reassurance. Ensure your new garden is securely enclosed early in your moving process.
- Cats should be kept indoors at the new place for at least two weeks according to the Blue Cross. Letting them bond with their new home and learn new scents and geography. When it’s time to let them outside again, the Blue Cross suggests withholding food for 12 hours so the cat doesn’t stray far and is watching for signs of feeding. It’s useful to have taught your cat a feeding signal – tapping their bowl or rattling the food bag work a treat!
- Take the cat out for a short period, let them explore a little then call them indoors for feeding, repeat this each day with longer periods and further exploration until they seem at ease with the new surroundings.
- Worth investing in one of the ID collars (that snaps open under stress) with name address and contact number – in case they do get lost.
- If your pets are micro-chipped, ensure the Company that holds your data has been informed of your new address.
- If you have moved near to your old home pets can return to old haunts particularly cats. Ensure no one at your old address encourages them & ask new owners & old neighbours to make sure they do not feed your pets!
- Commercial preparations are worth a shot, Felliway, anxiety drops etc – but check with your Vet.
- And remember to register with a new local Vet if you are new to the area.
Vets near Rickmansworth, Chorleywood, Croxley Green & Watford
Chess Vet www.chessveterinary.co.uk
Medivet Croxley Green www.medivet.co.uk
Park Veterinary Centre www.parkveterinary.co.uk
Moving home is an exciting process for humans but it takes us a while to master the new locks, find light switches in the dark and remember the loo is on the left in the middle of the night! Pets have similar issues and just need a little time to settle in and feel at home again – but like you, they will!