Blog Post Sunday 20 May 2018
Moving house is stressful enough for humans, but it can be a frightening time for your pets. Dogs, cats, and other household pets can feel anxious and distressed as they don't understand why everything in their environment is changing and being moved. So, even as you're busy packing boxes and checking on the removalists, take time to give your pets a little extra attention and care. Follow these strategies to make a move with furry family members stress-free for you and your pet.
In the days before moving, maintain your pets' daily routines as much as possible. Feed, walk, and provide attention as you normally would. By maintaining your regular routine, you can minimise the disruption of your move.
Check in with your vet before your move and ensure your pet is up to date with his or her shots, deworming, and other health checks. If your pet is prone to anxiety, ask your vet about prescribing pheromone therapy or even anti-anxiety medication to help with the move. If you're moving far away and it'll be your last appointment with your current vet, make sure you get a copy of your pet's medical history. Otitis Externa, various skin conditions and arthritis are the most common injuries suffered by pets in Australia, so identify a suitable vet in your new area as soon as possible.
It might be a good idea to board your pet or have a friend look after your pet during the move. If your pet is staying with you during the move, assign a room for your pet and create a safe sanctuary for him or her. Provide your pet with their usual bed, toys, and other comforts. Keep the door locked and secure the room to eliminate the risk of escape and injury. Moving day can be a hectic time, so you'll want to make sure your pet is kept away from the frenetic activity.
Pack your pet's items at the last minute so your dog or cat can have the comfort of their bed and toys during the move. Avoid washing bedding for a week or two after your move so your dog or cat can have the comfort of something familiar smelling at your new home.
If you're moving to somewhere nearby, take your dog or cat for visits in the days before your move and give them a chance to get used to your new home. Scheduling pre-move visits can make the actual moving day, when they say goodbye to their old territory, less disruptive for your pet.
If you're moving far away, you'll want to take extra steps to ensure your pet is comfortable during the move. Prepare food, water, treats, and toys and other comfort items for the journey. If your dog or cat will be flying, make sure he or she wears a collar with a detailed tag. Check with your vet for advice on preventing travel sickness.
Once you're at your new place, unpack your pet's things so he or she has the comfort of bedding and toys. Set out their food and water bowls as soon as possible. The familiar smells of their items can assist your pet settle into their new home quickly.
Check the fencing and outdoor gates to ensure these are secure enough to keep your pet from running off the property. Review the garden and check for things like glass, old snail pellets, and other potential hazards. Remove any chewable items left on the property, such as old bones and plastic toys, as these can be choking hazards.
After the move, give your pets the right amount of attention to help them adjust more quickly. Avoid making a fuss of your dog or cat since they can interpret this in the wrong way and worry unnecessarily. Spend time with your pet as you normally do without making a fuss, and they’ll be able to adjust more quickly to spending part of the day alone at the new home without pining for your return.
Give your dog or cat plenty of time to get used to the new place. Barking, digging, and other destructive behaviours could be a sign of stress from the move, so be patient and comfort your pet instead of punishing them for problematic behaviour. Similarly, stay with your usual daily routines when it comes to feeding, walking, and playing with your pets. Take your dog for plenty of walks and give them a chance to get used to the new neighbourhood. Avoid leaving your pets home alone for the first few days after your move.
Your new home is also your pet's new home, so be patient and give your dog, cat, or other furry family member time to adjust to the move. Keep in mind animals can find moving as stressful if not more so than humans. Plan the move with your animal companion's need in mind so as to minimise their stress. Above all, pay attention to your dog or cat so you can address their needs and provide comfort if they need it. By planning your move and staying aware of your pet's needs, you can reduce anxiety and stress for your pet.
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