Find out how to keep your pets happy and stress-free during your house move, with handy tips on which common mistakes to avoid.
Moving house can be a real challenge, both physically and emotionally. In the midst of all the moving chaos, we can forget that moving with a pet is also stressful for animals, that certain small, furry members of the family are also moving with us, and may well absorb the stress and strain of it all.
Luckily, there are lots of mistakes to avoid when moving with a pet to help things run as smoothly as possible for them and for us, and here are 10 of them:
1. Failing To Visit The Vet
Visiting the vet in your local area is a great idea before you move and this is because you may want to catch your pet up on any vaccinations and treatments before changing to a vet in a new area. You especially want to ensure your vet is in the best possible shape before such a big move. The vet knows your pet well and it will be easier to visit them for treatment, than going to an entirely new vet. It can also take time to find a new vet you’re happy with.
You might also want to get advice from the vet about relaxing remedies and other helpful possibilities if you suspect your pet may get extremely stressed on moving day.
2. Forgetting To Book The Pets Into Kennels
It is so important to book pets who should be kept out of the way on moving day, into a kennels or cattery. Pets who are likely to feel very stressed, who may be liable to escape, or who are otherwise best kept elsewhere during the move, should be kept safe until you’re in your new place. Friends and family could be a great alternative to this. There’s nothing wrong with free options to care for your pets if you’re on a budget or you only want them cared for, for a few hours.
3. Packing All Of Your Pets Things Prematurely
Packing away your pets’ things well in advance of the move will take away familiar smells, and could cause them to feel stressed. Instead, ensure they have their essentials (including a comforting toy) right up until moving day, and then right away in the new place too. This familiarity and reassurance will help them with the transition.
4. Getting Stressed Around The Pets
Of course the move will be stressful, but if you can limit how stressed you get around your pets, that will limit how stressed they feel. Things like shouting, tense conversions on the phone, arguments and so on will only cause your pet to feel anxious.
Pets are great for reassurance and cuddles when we feel our worst, but they can also absorb our emotions really easily, so it is important to protect them from that where possible.
5. Punishing Your Pet For Acting Out
Your pet may well act out during the move and it is important not to punish them for it. Some pets, particularly cats, can be very damaged from punishment. They may then do the negative behaviour when you’re not looking, do it more from fear or stress (made worse by the punishment) and also it can impact their bond with you negatively and potentially permanently.
Instead, give him plenty of positive reinforcement and reward good behaviour as much as possible. He’s just feeling a little unsettled, which will hopefully pass after the move, especially with your patience and understanding.
6. Neglecting Your Pets Routine
Your pets routine is so important and is something that keeps them feeling reassured and happy. If you disrupt those habits, your pet may feel unhappy and stressed. By keeping the routine as normal as possible, even if you simply feed them at the same time daily, and stick to the same morning toilet routine, it will help your pet stay settled wherever they are.
7. Allowing Your Pets To Stay Loose On Moving Day
It is so important not to let pets loose on moving day. This includes not allowing them free roam of the house when movers are coming in to move your belongings. Even a pet who is not scared may well be opportunistic and bolt out of the door if they are startled or even just curious, which is the last thing you want to have to deal with on moving day. Instead keep them in a crate, carrier, locked in an allocated room, or as suggested above, have them cared for by a cattery, kennels or friends and family.
8. Not Giving Your Pet Time
It is so important to continue to give your pet special time during a house move. Of course, you’re extremely busy so you will have less free time. However, five minutes on the floor playing with your pet is five minutes well spent, especially during such a challenging time for the whole family.
9. Leaving Pets With Access To Packed Boxes & Packing Items
Cats love to jump in or on boxes, even if they are full of breakables – your cat won’t notice and will not have any regard for your precious belongings. Dogs also have their own weaknesses and sometimes can’t resist chewing packing plastic, or yummy looking cardboard.
For this reason, leaving pets with access to your packed items, or packing materials is a big mistake. If you don’t have room to store them separately at home, consider using cheap self storage for temporary secure storage to use throughout the move. Affordable self storage may also be handy whilst you make room in your current home to sell it, and whilst you clean or renovate your new place before moving in.
10. Getting A New Pet During A Move
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you are moving house is to get a new pet during this process. It’s a really bad idea because new pets are unsettled anyway and you will struggle to settle them in to your new place whilst you’re packing it up. They will also have the disruption of being moved to two different homes, which isn’t fair on them. In addition, the other pets have the added disruption of a new pet in the home and the move.
All round, it is much better if you delay getting a new pet by a few months just to allow time for everybody to settle into the new home, providing a calm environment for the new family member to move into moving forward.
Soon, Your Pets Will Be Settled In
By avoiding the mistakes above, your pets should get through the house move really well. It’s a case of making adjustments for them, and supporting them through the change, just like you would a child or dependent.
Hopefully, before long you’ll all be enjoying the new place together, stress-free, fur babies and all.