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Moving Home With a Pet

10 May 2013

When you know what is going on, moving house can be a pretty emotional time for the most relaxed of us. But imagine you didn't understand what was going on, and all you could tell was that your family was too busy to spend as much time with you, you kept getting shouted at and it looked like you were being left behind.

This is the situation your pets will find themselves in so here is a handy little guide to make sure they aren't too stressed out by the moving process.

The first thing to realise is that giving your animal free run of the house is a bad idea. With everything going on it will only antagonise them so try and keep them confined to one room of the house. That said, make sure you keep nipping in and out of the room to reassure them that you are thinking about them and they are coming too.

Don't forget that animals operate as much by smell and feel as they do by sight. To help them feel comfy, avoid washing their basic bedding and toys in the run up to the move and for a little while afterwards. These comfort items will continue to smell and feel the same as they always have and are sure to help your pet relax into their new surroundings.

On moving day itself it is sensible to not feed for pets for about 3 hours before you actually set off. Without wishing to go into too much detail (I think it is fairly self-explanatory) this will help to avoid any unpleasant issues during transit which will only be exacerbated by the stress of moving. At all costs try and avoid using sedation to calm them down, particularly for cats who prefer to remain in control, but generally speaking it is far less stressful for an animal to be aware of what is going on than to have the shock of waking up somewhere completely new.

Once you are settled in then you need to continue ensuring your animals have sufficient attention. It all helps to reassure your pets and can also help to reenforce in their minds that this their new home. There may be a temptation to head back to their old house so anything you can do to imprint the new home on their minds will only help. With cats in particular, try and keep them indoors for a few days, just as you would do with a new kitten, allowing them to get used to where they live and allow their homing instincts to set new coordinates.

Don't be alarmed if your animals seem to be very assertive in the early days. Cats in particular may get themselves into territorial battles with neighbouring pets but there is no real need to break these up unless there is a genuine threat of serious harm. Instead, regularly check your pets for any wounds they may have received and if possible strike up a conversation with the other owners, just to reassure them and to make sure they are checking their own animals.

By far the most important thing though is routine. Animals are creatures of habit and as a result make sure that whatever your routine is in the build up to the move keep it regular and ensure the same is followed in the early days in your new property. If you can follow these simple basics then your pets should find the move relatively stress free.

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