Moving With Pets

Moving house can be really stressful for humans, but it’s just as stressful for pets, who don’t understand the changes happening around them. easyStorage has some handy hints to make life easier when moving with a pet.

You’re moving home, but Tiddles the cat, Bonzo the dog, and Khan the snake are likely to be confused about what’s happening. A friend of mine’s feisty little terrier would bite anyone who seemed to be taking things from the house when selling off things he didn’t want to move. Cats are notorious for hiding in all of the wrong places. My parents had one that kept returning to their old cottage.

This is a big change, and unfortunately, even though we wish our pets could talk sometimes, they can’t tell us. They are likely to be put out by the changes to routine both in the lead up to, and during the move.

And then there’s the actual transportation. In that last carload to go, pets and children find themselves squished between, or balanced on, quilts, pillows and last minute items.

Here’s a few tips to making life easier for you and your pet.

1. Routine.

Stick to your normal routine as far as possible in the run up to moving day, and at very least keep normal food times consistent.

2. Plan your pet’s care.

The most stressful times for your pet are likely to be the most stressful times for you: moving day itself; and the first few days in a new home. Consider placing your pet with a friend, or arrange for them to stay at kennels (or hotels, if your pooch is really pampered!). That way you don’t need to worry about them disappearing in the middle of the move, jumping into vans or boxes, or attacking the removal people. It may be less stressful for both you and for them.

If you’re keeping your pet with you, consider confining them to just one room in the house on moving day. Pick a quiet room, bearing in mind their comfort and need to eat, toilet etc. This may prevent them wandering off, and keep both you and them less stressed. (However, do be prepared for crying.)

3. Plan for travel.

Some animals, like fish, will need special handling. Others may travel well – my own dog, for example, jumps into the back of any car with an open door, and loves the chance of going somewhere new. (New smelly things to roll in, I suspect!) As long as I’m close by and he can keep an eye on me, we’re good.

Think about pet carriers. Or professional pet movers , especially for reptiles and fish. And if your pet is a really bad traveller, talk through options with your vet.

If they are travelling in a crate or carrier, get them used to it in advance, and try and create some positive associations with the crate – treats often work.

And if bunny or other pets are outside, make sure you leave a note on the dashboard not to forget to collect them. We all think we won’t, but moving days are both busy and tiring, and it’s easy to forget all sorts of things.

4. Never leave your pet loose in the car.

Dogs will need harnesses. Birds, rodents, cats etc need to be put in appropriate carriers.

If moving them in a car, any stops are the time when life gets difficult. Losing your pet in a strange place to them, whilst taking a comfort break, will be stressful for you and for them. You may have to accept that your cat or rabbit in a carrier may create a mess or cry all the way, but that’s better than losing them.  Put the lead on a dog BEFORE you open the door for that comfort break.

If necessary, enlist the help of friends to transport them separately.

5. Safety check your new home.

For example, look for loose electric wires where the previous owners have removed electrical gadgets. Look for places that your pet could get stuck. Check for any doors that don’t close properly, especially external ones.  Look out  for poisonous plants indoors and out. And check for pest control traps and poisons.

6. Settle pets in sensitively.

Familiar items like their own bedding and toys may give them familiar scents to calm them. Specialist sites may offer advice for your own breed of pet. For example, cats may need to be kept in, whilst dogs may need to be kept on a short lead whilst out until a new routine is established and they feel safe. Try and ensure that you make time for the attention and reassurance that they need. A handy tip is to restrict where they can wander, opening up the whole house to them one room at a time and allowing them to settle slowly.

If they don’t look like settling, contact the vet for advice.

But do give them time to adjust. For example, a well socialised dog can apparently take two weeks to two months to settle. Other dogs can take up to a year.

7. They need to move officially too.

If they are chipped, update the details. If your pet is licensed, make sure the license is updated. Find a new vet before you need them if you are moving (or have already moved) to a new area.

Make sure you keep their medical details to hand, with details of vaccines etc, which will make life easier for both you and for the new vet.

We hope you and your pets have a safe, trouble free move. And of course, if you need self-storage to help you along the way, we at easyStorage are here to help.