Moving home can be an incredibly stressful time for anyone but take a moment to think how unsettling this process can be for our pets. Particularly, cats and dogs can get very attached to their surroundings and a house move can prove very disruptive for them. Familiar smells, sights and sounds are important to animals and when these things change it can be very disorientating.
In order to make this a calmer transition consider all the ways in which we can alleviate their confusion. Write a plan a few weeks before the moving date so that you are clear how you will look after them leading up to, on the day and after the move. This will help all involved to feel in control of the situation and prevent any last-minute panics.
Consider your own pet and their personality; nervous animals who take longer to adapt to new people and places may benefit from going to a kennels or a cattery whilst you move. If you think this will help them then make sure to check that their vaccinations current so they aren’t at risk from other pets whilst they are there.
If you don’t feel this is necessary, it could be a good idea to find a friend or relative to look after them on the day so that they feel calmer and aren’t disrupted by unfamiliar removal people coming into the house.
If you are keeping your pets with you on moving day, keep your pet’s food and water bowls, litter trays, toys and beds in one room on the lead up to moving day. On the day itself, your pet will feel more comfortable being in one place for what could be a few hours. It can be easier if you choose a quiet room and keep the doors closed to minimise the noise and keep them calm. Don’t forget to put their pet carrier in this room so that it doesn’t get packed up with all your furniture on the removal vans.
Try not to feed pets just before travelling in a car, particularly if you are moving long-distance as this could cause travel sickness. Ensure they are fed a couple of hours before or try feeding them small amounts of food during the day. During the moving process make sure you give your pet lots of attention and love for reassurance so that they feel that things are still as normal as they can be.
When you are at the new property have a walk-around and check that the house and gardens are secure and there are no escape routes for small animals! Take your dog for a walk around the property on a lead initially for them to become acclimatised to the sites and smells. Cats will need to be kept indoors for a few weeks until they are fully settled into their new home.
Once you are in your new home it can be helpful to set up one room with all their toys, bed and food so that they can feel safe until they get used to roaming about the house. A good tip would be to put an item of clothing that smells of you into the room with their bed as that can be particularly comforting to them. Pheromone diffusers plugged in around the house can help your pet feel more relaxed. The diffusers emit natural scents that are undetectable to humans but can help calm your pet.
Give them time to settle and adjust, allow them time to relax and become familiar with their surroundings. Don’t tell them off if they get scared or chew furniture at the new house as the moving process can affect them in a way that you might not expect and this could be how they express their anxiety at the change to the their routine. To help the transition try to keep to your usual walking and feeding routine as this will keep changes to a minimum.
Make sure your pets are microchipped and remember to update your contact information as soon as you move. This is particularly important for cats who can try to make their way back to their old home if you haven’t kept them inside for a few weeks to settle. If your pet were to go missing, being microchipped will increase the chance of being reunited.
If you are moving with House 2 Home Removals, please feel free to let us know what pets you have, and we will factor this into our schedule for the day. It may be possible for us to leave one room until the end when we are packing and loading the vehicles so that your pet can be kept away from the hustle and bustle. Often the bathroom is a good room to use as generally we don’t need to go in and out of that room very frequently throughout the move. We have had lots of experience of moving with pets and are aware how unsettling this can potentially be for them to see unfamiliar people and noise.
If you take all these points into account and stick to your pre-prepared plan you should be able to make the move between houses smooth and stress-free for all involved and it will soon feel like home again.