Moving is a really stressful time for everyone, including pets. The home where they feel happy and comfortable in is changing and this can be overwhelming for them. Here are some tips to help your pets settle in as quickly as possible and stay safe during the process.
Make sure they are secure on moving day
Lots of people going in and out the house with boxes is very unsettling for pets. If you can, ask someone who knows your pet well to look after them until you have moved, or put your pet into boarding for the duration of the move. If this is not an option, keep your cat inside for a few days before you move, as you don’t want the removal company to scare them off. On moving day, Keep dogs and cats shut in a room with the windows closed, as the front door will be left open and they could bolt out. Make sure you tell the removal company that your pet has been shut in a room so they don’t accidentally open the door. It might be worth dedicating a member of the family to be responsible for your pet on moving day, as lots of family members opening the door can be confusing. Remember to keep calm as animals are tuned into their owners emotions, and you being stressed will unsettle them.
Unpack their things first
Animals rely on scents to make them feel secure, and unpacking their bed and toys first will help. Dedicate a room just for them and put their belongings in it to allow them to settle. It will keep them safe whilst the movers are bringing things in and will help them feel secure. Don’t forget to give them some water, and check on them so they know you are near. Try not to leave them on their own for too long at this stage.
When all your belongings are in and the removal company has gone, let your pet out to explore their new surroundings. It’s best to keep an eye on them, especially for dogs when they are in the garden. Get them into the new routine as soon as you can, as this will help them feel at ease. Keeping to the same routine before you move, even though you will be busy packing, and after you move will offer them some familiarity. If you know your dog or cat is particularly sensitive, talk to you vet before you move as there are medications that can help to relax them during this period.
Book a few days off work
Not only will this give you time to unpack, but it will also help your pet to have you around. They need to see the home as a secure and happy place, and what better way to do this than with their favourite person. Play with them, groom them and offer lots of treats so they associate their new home with positive things.
Keep dogs on lead on new walks
New walking routes are fun and exciting for most dogs, but some dogs are sensitive to new surroundings, new people and new dogs. Keep your dog on lead to help with their confidence and whilst you learn a new route. Even the best behaved dogs are better kept on lead until everything becomes more familiar.
Keep cats inside
Set up a litter tray and keep your cat inside for the first few weeks after moving. Cats are territorial animals, and many will try to get back to their old home if they are let out too soon. They need to become familiar with your new home and realise this is where the food is. Keeping them indoors will help them settle and stop them from becoming overwhelmed. It’s a good idea to give your previous neighbour your contact number just incase they do travel back to their old home.
Settling in can take time
Your pet may display unusual behaviours that are out of character for them, such as marking or scratching at the furniture. All the new smells may cause your pet to want to make the new place smell like them, so put as many familiar items around as you can. Give them something that smells of you, such as your jumper as this can reassure them. Allow your pet time to settle in, and don’t expect too much for them too soon as they are unable to understand the process of moving house and why humans do it! They may be quieter than usual, or hide away. The important thing to remember is to let them do what makes them feel happiest, and offer them lots of reassurance to help them feel safe.
Change their microchip
Make sure you get your pet a new tag with your new address and numbers on. You will also need to call the microchip company to change their microchip details to your new address.