Moving Home With Pets
Reducing Stress When Moving Home With Pets
Moving house can be a difficult time not only for you, but also for your pets. At least you and your children can understand what is going on, but they do not. It is very likely that moving will be stressful for them, but quite how stressful it is can be up to you. This of course will also depend on the type of pets you have.
If you have not considered the potential for stressed out pets, now is the time to start
The following are some things that should be considered as stressful for the animals:
- A sudden, new environment
- The sudden loss of their known environment
- Change of daily routine
- Lots of strangers suddenly about the place
- Loud noises from removal trucks
- Car journeys
- Being caged for hours on end
- Owners too busy to fuss/comfort them
- Owners feeling stressed themselves
- And more
Although pet carriers and cages are the safest option for pets, they may get distressed if they are not used to them.
You may have many worries about how your pets will cope
- Will they get spooked and run away?
- If the new house is not far from the old one, will your dog or cat end up back at the old house?
- Will the cat jump onto the removals van or into a box being packed?
- Will the stress upset their digestive systems?
- Will the fish tank be safe?
- Should the rabbits travel in their hutch on the truck or with you?
- And more
If you have ever been owned by a cat you will know their fondness for getting into boxes!
Careful planning can reduce stress for you
As with all aspects of moving house the key is careful planning and clear communication with your removals company. Let DPH Removals know well in advance if you have pets and, in particular, any unusual ones.
- Assess the potential for stress based on your pets’ personalities and types
- Decide how the pets will travel
- Obtain any legal documents well in advance
- Make sure pet passports are up to date and all conditions met
- Make sure dogs are microchipped
- Get any vaccinations up to date
- Apply for any applicable DEFRA licences
- Purchase or borrow any cat carriers, pet cages etc. that you may need well in advance
- Make sure you have the necessary items for dealing with pet upset tummy problems
Some types of pets need special movement licenses, such as cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and deer.
Careful planning can reduce stress for your pets
- Consider placing your pet in a boarding kennel or cattery for the duration of the move. The advantage being that your pets will be in a safe place allowing you to focus on the move.
- If possible leave pets with a trusted family member that they know and like already, again keeping them safe but also happy.
- If pets will be moved in a cage try and get them used to it well before the move so it is already a place they feel comfortable.
- Do the same if they will be kept in a cage during the house emptying and at the new house.
- Try to keep to the same routine for feeding and walking if you can.
- The night before sleep in some old shirts that you can then use as bedding for the pets with your familiar scent on.
- Give dogs a much longer walk than usual to help tire them.
- If you are keeping your pets with you on moving out day, then keep them in one closed, empty room and put our ‘Pets No Entry’ notice on the door. Make sure they have familiar items, such as their bedding and toys. Also tell the DPH Removals team where the pets are being kept.
- Provide fresh water for them and, if possible, have someone they know stay in the room as well.
- Feed your pets as normal, but not too close to moving time in case of illness during the journey.
- Consider using pet de-stress solutions such as Feliway and/or Adaptil.
- Let DPH Removals know which is your pets’ favourite bed or chair and they will pack that last on the truck for you.
It is also advisable to keep ‘escape artist’ pets in their cages if you are putting them in a designated room.
After the move they will still need your understanding
- If you decided to keep your pets with you on moving in day, then put them in one room again as above, and particularly include the items with familiar scents.
- Try to leave putting furniture and/or boxes in this room until last, so your pet has the least disruption.
- Once in your new home, and everything is unpacked and furniture placed, collect or free your pets and give them the run of the house with ALL doors and windows shut.
- For dogs you will need to include a tour of the garden, but with their lead on.
- It is best to accompany your pets during this initial exploration, so they are not overwhelmed and have your presence as comfort.
- You can do other things to help make your dog or cat feel at home by taking a soft cotton cloth and rubbing it gently around their face. This is to pick up their ‘personal scent profile’ and then dab this around the house so this builds up their scent within the new house. There are also manufactured scents available which work in the same way.
- Try and get back onto a regular routine as soon as possible. By knowing when and where their feeding will take place, plus water supply, this allows your pet to relax and promotes a quicker feeling of well-being.
- Is it best to keep a cat indoors for a few weeks after the move, to help them build up their scent in the house.
- Dogs can be let out in the garden if secure to explore. If the garden is not secure then continue to keep them on a lead whilst in the garden.
- Make sure you update their microchips and any identification documents as soon as possible with your new address. Should your pet get lost, it will be easier to return them to you.
We let our cats have the run of the house for about 2 weeks and make sure the windowsills are clear for them to sit on. This way we believe they get familiar with their new outdoor environment quicker. Do not feed them on the day they go out for the first time and go outside with them. If your move coincides with Halloween or Bonfire Night then keep them in a bit longer.
Remember, pets will very easily sense your own anxiety, which can make them anxious too. With a lot of careful planning, your pets can soon settle into your new home, helping you all to relax and enjoy the start of a new adventure together.
Familiar toys really can help pets to settle in. If possible try and make the toys smell of you as well before the moving day.