Moving House with Animals
Moving house is one of life’s most stressful experiences; this process is especially complex if you are relocating with a pet. Dogs and cats are highly sensitive to new surroundings, and having to move and re-establish them in a new environment can be quite confusing and disorientating.
Pets can react negatively to a move that has not been thought out well in advance. Naturally, they don’t understand what is happening, and unless you’re Dr Doolittle, there’s no way you can communicate with them and explain what’s going on. Confused and stressed animals will act out and can display behavioural issues such as forming new toilet routines, separation anxiety, or conflict with other pets in their new environment. If you are moving to a new property, but in the same neighbourhood as your former home, it is not uncommon for dogs and cats to escape and return to their old house.
The extent of these behavioural issues will depend on various factors, such as the breed, age, distance of the move, and how much time you put into caring for them during (and after) the moving process.
The key to a successful move is to transition as smoothly as possible, and to plan well ahead.
The days and weeks leading up to moving day will no doubt be confusing and difficult for your pet, as they will sense the chaos going on around them. Try keeping their feeding, sleeping, grooming and walking routines as consistent as possible. Of course that is difficult when you have a ton of things to organise, but it will make the world of difference to their sanity and peace of mind. Animals have few pleasures in life – including food, sleep, walks and affection. Try and give them as many of these as possible, as they find comfort in routine. It will also prevent, or at least limit the likelihood, of them establishing bad habits such as excessive barking, scratching the couch, or pacing around the house.
Relocating to a new house with a dog is very different to moving with a cat. Dogs have a tendency to adjust to new surroundings much better, however, they can still experience difficulty settling into new patterns, so it’s important that you maintain consistency. You may even consider introducing your dog to its new neighbourhood before moving, so it becomes accustomed to the new sights, smells, and other local dogs (and cats).
If possible, take your dog on a long walk on moving day, so that they are too tired to panic when the removalists arrive to move your belongings.
With cats, who are particularly sensitive and territorial creatures, try to keep their possessions (toys, litter box etc) all together until the actual day of the move. Cats have a greater tendency than dogs to attempt to escape.
When it comes to packing your pets cherished toys, bedding and other belongings, leave it till the last minute so they feel secure and comfortable. You may also consider placing a travel carrier or cage in the room with your pet, so they can adapt to it for a day or two.
On moving day, it is recommended that you leave your pets with someone else for the day, or secure them in a quiet room with their bed, food and water, and favourite toys. It is important that you keep everything around them as normal as possible, so they feel safe and comfortable. While animals are unable to communicate with words, they are very perceptive with what’s going on around them and will sense your mood. Leaving something familiar with them will reduce the likelihood of them escaping or injuring themselves during all the commotion.
When you arrive at the new house, check that the fencing is dog proof before allowing your dog to run free in the garden. You may want to keep the dog in its kennel, or your cat in its travel carrier, for a few days and introduce him or her to the new environment gradually. Dogs will adapt more quickly to your new home than cats, however, be sure to maintain a routine so they acclimate even more quickly to their new surroundings.
Use the new move as a means of establishing clear boundaries in the new home with your pet, if they have not been established already.
No need to worry about how you’re going to transport your cat’s scratching post, or your dog’s kennel. Top Removals have a wide variety of truck sizes, and can help you move everything you need on the big day, with the guarantee that your belongings will be handled with the utmost care and consideration.