If you’re a pet owner, then you’ll know that moving home with a pet can be a little difficult. Pets find the transition to a new home quite hard – cats for example are territorial and the change in territory and scents can make them anxious. Dogs live their lives based on routine and familiarity, so a change like moving home can be upsetting for them. So, what can you do to help?
Before you move
Planning ahead will really help with making sure your pet remains happy, especially as you start to pack up the house!
A popular idea is to create a safe zone for your pet before you move. At the moment, your pet sees anywhere in the house they can access as their safe zone, but this will change as you start packing. About a week before you move, slowly start moving your pets food, toys and bed into one room – creating a safe room and space for them.
Another tip is to also bring your pet travelling box (especially for cats) into the house and in view for a few weeks before you move. It gives the pets time to get used to the new box. You could even start putting some treats inside it, so your pet gets used to being in the box as well.
A final note for dog owners, and cats with microchips – make sure your data is up to date. That way if your pet does disappear during the move for whatever reason, the details are up to date.
During the move
Most recommendations suggest leaving your pet with friends/family, or in a cattery or kennel on the day of the move. Personally, we think you know your pet best, and some might find that more stressful. If you don’t want to leave your pet elsewhere, this is where that safe room comes in handy. If you have a cat who usually goes outdoors, we’d recommend placing them in the safe room over night so you know where they are on the day of the move!
Make sure the new house has had a good clean, to get rid of any scents – especially if the previous owners had animals. The last thing you want on a potentially already stressful day is your pet deciding to leave its mark to stamp its authority!
As with your previous home, set up a safe room in the new house for your pet – with familiar bits and pieces. Let them get used to this new room before you let them explore the rest of the house, and keep them in this room if you’re still in and out during the move.
According to cats.org, it’s best to let your pet cat get used to the new safe rooms for a few days before letting them explore the rest of the house. This will stop them from feeling overwhelmed. Once they are ready to explore more, make sure you keep them indoors for about 3 weeks (we know this can be hard!) so that they learn your new home, is their new home! When it’s time to let them out, do this just before meal time so you can entice them back in, and let them leave the house themselves, rather than popping them outdoors.
Dogs are less likely to feel overwhelmed by a new home, but do expect them to feel a little anxious and they may have some accidents. The important thing is to not tell them off, but be patient and show them where you expect them to go for the toilet.
Finally our tip for cats and dog owners, if you aren’t moving too far, leave a note in your old home. You never know when your dog or your cat might just end up at the old address, the instinct of home can be quite strong!
If you’re local to Aberystwyth, you might have read this piece in the June edition of the Aberystwyth EGO! We write every month for the EGO, which you can also view online.