There’s no denying, pets become part of the family. Fur-babies of all shapes and sizes (along with feathered and scaled kinds) can wrap us round their little fingers. Or paws/claws/fins/feet may be more apt.
If a house move is on the cards, however, it can be tricky to explain to your pet exactly what’s happening and to reassure them it will all be fine. The fact they can often sense something is going on can add to the stress for them. So, what can you do to make a move as smooth as possible for your four/two/eight-legged friend?
- Leave the familiar until last – it can be tempting to go into a packing frenzy a week or two before the move. But leave your pet’s belongings until move day itself so they have their familiar items around them. Don’t wash any toys or blankets after you move, so the scent remains the same while they settle into their new home.
- Get help on move day – it’s best, if possible, to have your pet out of the way on moving day. Ask a friend or family member if they can have them – or if needs be, try a kennels or pet care facility. Not only will all the movement and people be stressful for them, but the last thing you want is your pet escaping and going missing just as you’re about to leave the house forever. It also means their usual routine can be stuck to as much as possible, which is hard when you’re trying to juggle a house move.
- Safe space – if they absolutely have to be with you on move day, set aside a room in both the old and the new house which they are kept in. Communicate with everyone involved, including the removals firm, that the door is not to opened by anyone other than yourself – make sure they have their usual water and food and a comfy place to rest and consider the best way to manage visits to the toilet. Keep checking on them to make sure they’re ok and to give reassurance.
- Are they up to date? – if appropriate to the type of pet, make sure they’re microchipped and if they wear a collar, that it has contact details on. If the worst happens and they go missing at the new or old property, these will be vital in reuniting you.
- Keep them safe and secure en route – if you are physically moving your pet with you, they will need to go in your vehicle, rather than a removal van. Make sure they are secured – cages and baskets should be strapped in so they wouldn’t go flying in the event of an accident. Bear in mind some animals can get car sick on long journeys, so avoid over feeding them, and you may want to choose a route with less bumps and turns.
- Gentle exploring – if you’re letting your pet explore, make sure you take it slowly. It’s a good idea to keep cats inside for a week or so to get used to their surroundings – consider spray or plug-in pheromones which can reduce levels of stress in our feline friends (there’s also canine varieties available). For dogs, if allowing them in the garden, make sure it’s properly secure and they can’t escape. Keep them on a lead when out for walks until they adjust to their new local area.
- Give them time – it may take a while for your pet to settle in their new home, so give them plenty of reassurance and attention – or if they prefer, give them peace and quiet to adjust. Try not to get cross if they misbehave, have accidents or act strangely – hopefully it will be a short term reaction to the change.
If you’re planning a move and would like to chat to our Leeds removals team about how best to manage that with your pets, why not get in touch?