Moving House with Pets

moving with pets


We all know how stressful moving house can be, but imagine how our pets feel!  They’re safe, familiar environment suddenly changes and they’re sometimes left feeling stressed, ill and lost.  This is especially the case for elderly pets who can sometimes find the whole experience very upsetting.  Luckily there are steps you can take to prepare your pet and make the transition into their new home a successful and safe one.

  1. Keep your pets’ routines, such as feeding and walks, as normal as possible in the week before moving.  Because dogs and cats need to feel in control, they might exhibit behavioural changes or even become ill when stressed.  Treat them with the same level of attention you would ordinarily give them;
  2. Visit your veterinarian a couple of weeks before moving.  Request a copy of your pets history, a vaccination certificate and a desexing certificate.  Be sure your pets are up to date with their shots.  If your pet is a senior or has health problems, ask whether a mild sedative would be advisable before travel.

    You can also speak to your vet about obtaining an AP (Appeasing Pheromone) plug-in device to use before, during and after moving.  The AP emits a scent into the home which mimics the calming scent released by a mother to her litter.  The DAP will relax your animal and make them able to cope more easily with the changes that come with moving house.

  3. If your animal is staying with you during the move, then confine them to one secure room so that escape and injury cannot occur whilst people are going in and out of the house.   Leave them in a quiet area with their familiar unwashed bed and possessions.  Place the travel carrier in the room with the door open so your pet can adapt to it before travel day.  On moving day, it might be an idea to board cats and dogs, or ask a friend to look after them for a few days.   This will limit the amount of stress placed on your animal;
  4. Leave packing your pets toys, bedding and other equipment to the last moment so that they are comforted by the presence of familiar things.  Do not wash bedding until a couple of weeks after the move, so that they will have something familiar smelling in the new house;
  5. If you’re moving near by, let your dog visit your new digs before moving day (this can also be effective with cats, but keep them securely in their crates).  Show them that you are relaxed in the new environment.  As it is common for animals to wander back to their previous home territory, you can help overcome this by securely confining your cat or dog to the new house.  However, for added security you can confuse your pet by taking it to a boarding kennel or cattery, some distance away, for a week or so.  When your pet is then taken to your new home, it will hopefully be disoriented enough to not try and get back to your old abode;
  6. Travel Checklist.  Make sure you have the following before the move:
    • Veterinary records, certificates, and recent photos;
    • Your pets usual foods and plenty of water from the home you’re leaving (changing the water source can be disorienting and upset their stomachs);
    • Food and water bowls, a can opener and re-sealable lids;
    • Toys, chew bones and treats;
    • Leashes (both cats and dogs);
    • Beds (pillows, towels or other crate liners);
    • Plastic bags and scoops for dogs;
    • Litterbox for cats;
    • Cage covers for birds and rodents;
    • Paper towels for messes;
    • Provisions for the first day at the new home.
  7. If travelling a long way, prevent travel sickness by not feeding them for 12 hours before the journey.  If you know your pet suffers from travel sickness, ask your vet about anti-sickness medications.

Our pets are important members of the family and should be taken care of during the moving process.  Take these recommended steps and ensure your pet is a happy member of your new home!

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