One of life's biggest stresses is moving home. This applies to your pet as well. The different sounds, sights and smells of the new house can be very upsetting for them. It may take up to a few weeks for them to settle in to their new surroundings. The journey, however short or long, can also be very traumatic for animals. Obviously we know what's going on and that the trip will end with us being settled into a new home. Your pet however doesn't know this, so be patient with them and try to follow the tips listed below.
• Keep your pet secure in one room while you are doing all the packing and unpacking. Put their food and water bowls in the same room along with their bedding, toys etc. With the upheaval they'll sense that something is changing which might make them want to go and hide in the garden or at a neighbour's, so keeping them in one area is strongly advised.
• Don't clean your pet's favourite toys and bedding before you move, so that it keeps the familiar smells for them when they're in the new home.
• Don't feed your pet too soon before leaving your home on the day you move, three hours before should be fine. If your pet suffers from travel sickness this will only add to their distress. Consult your vet if travel sickness medication is required.
• Before and after the move use a calming pet spray or diffuser like Feliway
• All pets like routine as this makes them feel secure. Try to stick to your normal patterns leading up to the move and as soon as possible after you're in your new home.
• Give your pet lots of attention before, during and after your move as while you're packing he might think that he's being left behind and not coming with you.
• If you're really worried about your pet during all the disruption of packing up your home, you could consider using a kennel or cattery for a few days, especially if they've been there before and enjoyed it. Keep in mind that you'll have to book your pet in some time in advance and you'll need to make sure that all their vaccinations are up to date, as decent establishments will request to see a vaccination certificate. Another idea is to ask a family member or friend that your pet is comfortable with to house them for a week or so, just whilst you're moving and unpacking the other end. Your pet will then only have to cope with one trip to their new home after you have dealt with the dreaded moving in day and unpacked.
• It's strongly advisable for a few weeks after you have moved to keep your pet indoors, because their natural instinct may be to try to find their way back to their original home. For dogs going outside, make sure you go with them and that they are wearing an up-to-date identity collar. Microchipping is also a good idea for any pets that go outside. Don't let dogs off the lead until they have had time to get used to their local parks and landmarks. Cats are best kept indoors again for a few weeks until they have also gotten used to their surroundings and scents.
• Don't forget you will need to find the best vet in your area. Ask around at local pet shops, your neighbours or dog walkers/carers in the area. Also ensure your pet records are sent from your old vet to the new one.