Moving house with a pet

Moving house is an exciting time for the whole family but it’s also one of the most stressful events in your life and for your pet. A big change like a house move could lead to behavioural or anxiety problems. However, with a little preparation and consideration you can make things much easier for your dog or cat to keep them calm and happy in their new surroundings.

Disruption is rarely a good thing for animals – they love routine and their home is a haven for them, filled with familiar smells and noises where they can curl up and hide if it all gets too much.  

Thankfully, there are some tried-and-tested tricks you can use to help your pet make the move to a new house, smoothly and with little fuss. Read on with our handy checklist:

Stick to routines

The fear of being abandoned is greater in dogs than cats but both need to be assured you are taking them with you to your new house. Keep your routines the same (especially if you have a dog). Sticking to the same hour for food and walks will reassure your pet that while their surroundings may have changed, nothing else has.

Allocate new spaces

Dogs are clever creatures and will understand the family is packing. To avoid making your pet feel stressed make sure one family member is solely responsible for him and can make them feel more secure amongst all the upheaval of moving.

Prepare a dedicated space for your pet as soon as you get into your new house. Make it cosy with things and smells that they know and love (their bed and toys for example). It will make your pet feel welcome and reassure them that they have a place in this new habitat.

Cats’ feeding areas and litter trays should be placed in separate locations and make sure they have somewhere quiet to go for the latter.

Time to explore

When a cat discovers its new home, it needs time. Try and keep cats indoors for at least 2 weeks to get used to their new house. This will allow them to explore every room of their new home - chin marking can be a sign that they are comfortable with their new territory. We recommend that you do not distract your cat by putting food in its bowl right away or give it treats. Let your cat explore their new environment first.

Cats can try to travel back to their old house, particularly if it’s nearby. Warn the new owners that this might happen and discourage them from petting or feeding it. You might have to fetch it back a few times before it gets the message.  Having your pet microchipped will help to reunite you with your furry friend if they do manage to escape and get lost.

Let your dog explore their new home little by little, keeping all exits firmly closed. If you have a garden, check it over.
You’ll be used to all potential escape routes in your old place, but it might not have occurred to you during viewings that the secure iron fence is just perfectly spaced to let your pooch squeeze through. Take steps to plug any gaps before letting your dog roam your new property fully.  

Establish their territory

Cats are territorial. When you move house, the other cats from the neighbourhood might already consider your garden their territory. To give your cat a confidence boost, empty the contents of their litter box around your garden. This will mark the territory with their scent, help them settle in and also send a clear signal to other neighbourhood cats.

Dogs don’t have to wait indoors like cats; most of the time this is because they’re walked on a lead. Take them for frequent walks, so they get out and about, and used to their new environment. Try to keep away from other, unfamiliar dogs which could be aggressive.

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